A COMPANY'S dream of providing a state-of-the art rehabilitation program for ex-prisoners in Bassil Avenue, Victoria Point, was left in tatters after a fiery public meeting on Thursday night.
The meeting was called after residents of Bassil Avenue, found out the Redland-based company, Breaking Through Transitional Services, planned to open the facility in their street.
More than 200 people, along with Redland City Mayor Melva Hobson, Member for Redlands Peter Dowling and Cr Karen Williams attended to listen to the company's chief executive officer Yvonne Murray and director Michael Murray explain their vision.
The rowdy crowd was told the planned facility would house between four and six men who were "low-grade" former prisoners who had completed their sentences and needed help readjusting into community life and finding work.
Company chairman of the board Michael Murray said the men would live at the house for up to three months and would be under constant supervision with around-the-clock professional staff on-site.
Mr Murray said the facility would not house men who had committed violent or sex crimes.
Despite constant interjections from the crowd, Mr Murray and the company's assembled panel of professional carers, social workers and volunteers outlined the process the company had to go through before the facility could open.
He said the company was still waiting for the Department of Corrective Services to give it accreditation to provide the "pre-release" program, which it had applied for in January 2011.
In the meantime, the company had started discussions with Borallon Prison and other correctional centres.
Mr Murray said his company had expressed interest in renting the proposed house in Bassil Avenue but was still in the process of making a submission to Redland City Council for an application to operate the facility.
The not-for-profit organisation, governed by a board of five directors, was registered in September and received a Redland City Council Community Project Grant for $10,000 in December.
Cr Hobson told the crowd the $10,000 grant was for the company to design and run a computer program which keeps and analyses data about the former prisoners.
The mayor said the grant was not dependent on the location of the facility and did not mean the council was endorsing any particular location.
It is understood the company will keep its grant even if it decides not to proceed with opening its facility in the Redlands.
After the heated hour-long meeting, a teary-eyed Mrs Murray was not ready to admit defeat or pull the pin on her vision of helping the poorest sector of the community.
She said the company would be looking elsewhere for suitable premises as the facility's success depended on acceptance from the surrounding community."
This is a vision, it was a dream of mine to go into communities and help some of the most disadvantaged members of the community get back on their feet and start again," Mrs Murray said.
"We chose the Victoria Point location because it was close to the little shopping village which has dental and medical services and also close to the water.
"Many of these men are picking up the pieces of their broken lives and have wives and children they need to reconnect with and we thought the bayside foreshore would be perfect for them to hold family picnics.
"We will stand by our commitment to provide this service and will move forward," Mrs Murray said.