Suttons Beach Pavilions Safety Issues - Reports Made Public

Published 02 February 2022


The engineering and heritage reports into the condition of Pavilion 1 Suttons Beach have been made publicly available, following today’s vote by Council.

Mayor Peter Flannery said it was a unanimous decision in the interests of public accountability and transparency in decision making. The reports include:

  • Three separate structural engineering reports identifying major building defects and concerns.
  • Two heritage investigations which concluded that the building’s historical values have been eroded by redevelopments over the last 80 years.

Mayor Flannery said today’s action by Council was critical, to rectify the misinformation circulating on social media.

“Council has been working with the tenant inside the Pavilions since last year (25 February 2021) and we had planned for community consultation about the future of the site,” he said.

“We will still proceed with this plan and bring forward our community engagement plan to start February 11, so I encourage everyone to read the reports we’ve made public today so you can be an informed participant in this program.

“There’s one important outstanding factor you’ll note in reading the reports, and that’s a recommendation to undertake invasive testing of the structure once the tenant vacates the building.

“This will involve the removal of fixtures and fittings inside the building, to drill into the concrete and identify the extent of the damage that’s been done over the years. 

“We acknowledge that this investigation will be an expensive undertaking for ratepayers, but Council has decided it’s important to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that everyone knows all the factors and costs at play in trying to save this worn-out building.

“We know already that we are battling a combination of issues including concrete cancer, along with design and construction legacies from years ago that haven’t held up in the harsh marine environment.

“There’s accelerated internal degradation, water is getting into the foundations, and there’s no guarantee that any repair will save it.

“While the Pavilions aren’t on the Queensland Heritage Register, both heritage reports show the cliff face stairs are in near original condition and Council is absolutely committed to preserving those.

“I want to assure residents we’ve done everything we can to explore all alternative options, this isn’t something we rushed into, and I encourage everyone to read the reports online.”

Council also agreed today to preserve the Suttons Beach rotunda, whatever happens to the site.

Cr Karl Winchester (Div 6) moved the amendment to the motion on behalf of concerned residents.

“This has become an icon of the Peninsula like the Woody Point Jetty and Redcliffe Jetty, and given that the rotunda doesn’t have the same structural issues as Pavilion 1, I believe it can be saved,” he said.

“It’s critical that we maintain the Suttons Beach area as a useable community space, and we want the community’s input on how we can best activate this precinct for the public.

“Personally I’d like to see this area used by families and visitors with space for pop-up events and community activities.

“But most important is to know how our community will want to use this site in the future, and we’ll be starting community consultation about this next week on February 11.”

Moreton Bay Region’s CEO Greg Chemello wrote to the lessees after their Facebook post, detailing correspondence dating back to February last year.

That included the fact that on 16 March 2021, Council granted them the extension to continue trading until 28 February 2022, only paying nominal rent.

“Council had agreed with you to suspend any public release of information relating to the conclusion of your operations and future use of the site until early 2022,” he wrote.

“This was to enable you to continue trading (at nominal rent only) unaffected and retain staff over the Christmas period.

“We simply cannot grant any further extensions due to the deteriorating condition of the building. To do so would be an abrogation of our fundamental and legal responsibility to ensure the safety of our communities.

“In addition, the very high maintenance/replacement costs of the buildings do not make the current pavilion structures a viable asset for Council to maintain.

“I can assure you the decision to proceed towards demolition has not been taken lightly.

“Council commissioned independent consultants to undertake inspections and advise on the outcome of these inspections. These investigations found extensive building defects, design and construction legacies, deteriorating buildings, with concrete elements to the Suttons Beach Pavilion nearing their end of their life leading to major safety concerns of the buildings.”

The main Suttons Beach pavilion, used originally as change rooms and a kiosk for beach-goers, has been altered significantly since it was first built in 1937, and the second pavilion was constructed only 20 years ago in 2002.

Council undertook a heritage assessment of the site in late 2018, revised in February 2021, with the findings showing that very little of the original pavilion building had survived over time.

The original external staircase to the west of the Pavilions is of high significance, being in almost original condition, with its inclusion on the heritage register recommended for consideration.

The Suttons Beach pavilions are currently privately leased. The current tenants took over the business in 2017 and have been operating a bar, restaurant and function centre. In February 2021, Council notified the current tenant that their lease would not be renewed upon expiry. Following a request from the tenant, Council extended their current lease from November 2021 to February 2022. Council will not extend or renew the lease beyond this agreed end date.

To read the engineering and heritage reports visit: