Longreach council puts student hostel on the market
Longreach Regional Council has formally put the town’s student hostel on the market, six years after the facility closed.
The Longreach Students Hostel closed at the end of the 2015 school year, following a decline in enrolment numbers.
The facility had operated for 36 years and offered boarding for high school students from surrounding small towns.
The hostel, which could cater for up to 30, had five students using the facility in 2015.
It was reported at the time the drought and lack of work for contractors and shearers led to a loss of families in the area.
The hostel became financially unsustainable for the council as it needed at least 15 students to break even and in the four years prior to the closure, the council had lost $330,000.
The facility did go to auction in 2016 but a sale was unsuccessful.
Council put the facility up for tender online in late February with the tender due to close on March 26.
Mayor Tony Rayner said the decision to sell the facility came as it had not been used for its primary purpose for a long period of time.
The site had been leased out to community groups but that activity has also now dried up.
“It is now costing council and ratepayers considerable funding each year,” Cr Rayner said.
“The demand is no longer there.
“The fact that it has been vacant since 2015 and running on very low numbers….. whilst it’s regretful, it’s a good business to make.
“In a perfect world we would love it to be full of students.”
Cr Rayner said there was strong interest in the facility.
The facility has six dorms, one single, partially self-contained dorm with kitchenette and bathrooms, gender separate toilets and showers, common areas, undercover sporting area, playground, tennis court, commercial kitchen and laundry.
There is also an on-site four-bedroom residence for the caretaker.
The site lends itself to a scope of uses.
“A bed and breakfast, backpackers, or it could just be used for rental accommodation for any of the business operators,” Cr Rayner said.
“It is close to the school and the Foodworks, it’s well positioned and not far from the CBD and it’s in good order.”
As Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast hit record low vacancy rates in rentals, Cr Rayner said Longreach was feeling the pinch too.
“It seems endemic at the moment through regional Queensland,” he said.
“We have a big shortage of rental houses and a lot of jobs going.”