State Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle has today said he will support the Caloundra RSL Sub-Branch as they launch a petition to stop the resumption of 7.5m of their Registered War Memorial Gardens for a planned road upgrade in Caloundra.

 It comes as the community was recently made aware that the Sunshine Coast Council may cut into a significant portion of the RSL’s main memorial garden to make way for a four-lane roadway, bike lane and footpath that would connect the Nicklin Way to RSL’s fence line on Third Avenue. The purpose being to alleviate traffic on Caloundra Road.

 “I have had a number of meetings with concerned members of the Caloundra RSL Sub-Branch Executive Committee over the past few months about potential land resumption for a roadway extension, and unfortunately it appears the foremost plan would see the garden effectively destroyed,” Mr McArdle said.

 “I am acutely aware of the need to resolve traffic issues in Caloundra as this is something I have advocated for, for some time. The traffic congestion on approach to the Caloundra Road/ Nicklin Way Roundabout has a crippling impact on our workers’ and our residents’ ability to travel to and from Caloundra.

 “This is a matter that needs to be rectified with the utmost priority, however we must investigate a route for this road extension that protects this incredibly important memorial. It cannot be a case of the memorial gardens OR traffic congestion relief – we need to investigate a plan that allows for both to exist.

 “Last week I again met with members of the Executive Committee and a petition will be launched today so the community can put their name to the bid to save the memorial.”

 Heather Christie, Secretary of the RSL Sub-Branch said any disruption of the garden as a result of a resumption would be an unacceptable travesty.

 “The gardens were to be a memorial icon to commemorate all those who served in the Australian Defence Forces. They commemorate 39 conflicts that the Australian Defence Forces have served in,” Ms Christie said.

 “The gardens have been carefully planned to a Master Plan with a majority of features now in place, but with others yet to be constructed and/or placed.”

 “Application has been made to the Department of Environment and Heritage to have our gardens encrypted in the annals of History and they are now registered as a War memorial with Queensland War Memorial Register and also the Australian War Memorial.

 In view of our treasured asset any alteration of our gardens in favour of road resumption is not an option and we strongly object to such action,” Ms Christie concluded.

 “I will stand behind the RSL in their fight. This is a body that I have long supported, and this memorial represents men and women who gave their lives over many conflicts for the freedom we have today,” Mr McArdle said.

 “The community can support the RSL Sub-Branch by signing the petition which will be available at the Caloundra RSL, my office at 1/20 Ormuz Ave, and various businesses across the Sunshine Coast. The petition will also be available to sign whenever the Sub-Branch is running the Bunnings Caloundra sausage sizzle,” Mr McArdle concluded.