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Veterans camp planned for former recreation facility beside Ewen Maddock Dam

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A veterans support organisation has secured the lease on an abandoned recreation and environment centre, and has a long-term vision to transform the lakeside site.

SMEAC has agreed a 10-year lease with state-owned bulk water provider Seqwater for the former Camp Koongamoon at Ewen Maddock Dam and plans to turn it into a veterans camp.

The lease is a key milestone for the project as SMEAC looks to refurbish the site to deliver wellbeing programs and assist veterans to transition from military service under the premise ‘veterans helping veterans’.

Site works are already under way, with SMEAC on track to complete the first stages of the refurbishment by June 30.

The veterans camp is intended to have minimal impact on the natural environment, with existing structures to be restored, site facilities to be maintained within the existing campsite footprint and new camp amenities to be installed in line with environmental and water quality best practices.

“I’m thrilled to hear SMEAC has gotten its lease sorted with Seqwater, this is an important milestone for their veterans camp at Ewen Maddock Dam,” Member for Caloundra Jason Hunt said.

Member for Caloundra Jason Hunt.

“SMEAC is a veterans organisation not only saving lives but improving the lives of Queensland veterans and I’m proud to see this project moving ahead.

“I will always go in to bat for veterans in my community and SMEAC’s veterans camp at Ewen Maddock Dam really epitomises what we’re about: helping one another and working together to make our community better.”

SMEAC director Tim Cuming thanked Mr Hunt for his lobbying and said the facility would benefit the veterans community.

“Getting this agreement for lease locked in is a big milestone and really, the hard work keeps going with all the site works and construction activity,” he said.

“This site will reconnect and reintegrate veterans back into society.”

Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage website says the newly completed recreation centre was officially named Camp Koongamoon by Caloundra City Council in 1994.

Named after the Maddock family’s home, the 50-hectare site was briefly also called the Ewen Maddock Recreation and Environment Centre.

An aerial view of the former Camp Koongamoon at Ewen Maddock Dam. Picture: Nearmap

Minister for Water Glenn Butcher said he was happy to see SMEAC moving forward with the veterans camp.

“I’ve visited this site and met with SMEAC and I’m excited to see the buildings returned to their former glory to help veterans move to the next phase of their lives,” he said.

The CEO of Seqwater Neil Brennan also welcomed the move.

“Seqwater is pleased to support SMEAC’s mission to improve the lives of veterans through their innovative proposal to restore the camp facilities at the tranquil Ewen Maddock Dam, which have been dormant for some years,” he said.

“It is a privilege to provide opportunities for South-East Queenslanders to connect with the region’s beautiful lakes and natural surrounds – whether through offering on-site recreation facilities or supporting visitor experiences.

“Recreational initiatives near our drinking water dams are always balanced against environmental and water quality considerations, and we thank SMEAC for working with us in developing a low impact camp proposal.”

SMEAC’s website says it is a place for veterans and their families to get help, support and access the services they need. Visit smeac.org.au.

The aerial imagery in this story is from Australian location intelligence company Nearmap. The company provides government organisations, architectural, construction and engineering firms, and other companies with easy, instant access to high-resolution aerial imagery, city-scale 3D content, artificial intelligence data sets, and geospatial tools to assist with urban planning, monitoring and development projects in Australia, New Zealand and North America.

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