MAREEBA SHIRE COUNCIL KEEPS COMMUNITY SAFETY TOP PRIORITY
Mareeba Shire Council has pledged to ensure community safety and crime prevention remains top priority during its first meeting for 2022 held today. Mayor Angela Toppin thanked the local residents who recently met to discuss strategies and ideas on how to best tackle this major challenge. “As a Council, we welcome respectful and constructive feedback from locals and will continue to listen,” Mayor Toppin said. “We are doing everything in our power to address crime related issues and we share concerns raised by community members.”
Council was presented with a report outlining the ongoing measures Mareeba Shire Council has done and is committed to continue doing. This includes extensive lobbying to the State Government, Queensland Police Service and the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs. Mareeba Shire Council also recently presented a successful motion to the Local Government Association of Queensland to lobby the State Government on these matters, as the peak body for Queensland local councils. Mayor Toppin expressed concerns about compounding the anxiety and frustration throughout the community, particularly when many are already feeling vulnerable for a variety of reasons.
“With everything going on not just locally, but globally, this is a time for unity and realistic, achievable goals within our range of powers” Mayor Toppin said. “Our community is facing a third year of the COVID-19 pandemic and, not just as Mayor, but as a wife, mother, grandmother and former school principal, I’m concerned about the mental health of locals. The impact of the pandemic, and the impact of focussing on the negative impacts of crime, are not lost on me.” “This is our town too. Council has done and will continue to do everything in its power to protect our homes, livelihoods and lifestyle we all love” she said.
WATER PROJECTS PROGRESSING
Mareeba Shire Council is making significant progress towards the completion of water projects throughout the shire. Mayor Angela Toppin and Councillors received project updates at the Ordinary Meeting of Mareeba Shire Council on Wednesday, 19 January 2022. “The Councillors and I are delighted to hear that the project to replace the asbestos cement water main in Barang Street, Kuranda has been progressing well and that the works should be completed within the next month. This is another step towards delivering our water strategy where we are aiming to replace between 3kms and 4kms of asbestos cement pipe each year, across the Shire.”
The Barang Street project is funded by Mareeba Shire Council and the Queensland government’s Works for Queensland program and was prioritised due to numerous water main breaks occurring in that location in recent years, as well as issues with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services experiencing difficulty with accessing fire hydrants on the undulating terrain. Council’s strategy is not limited to the replacement of water mains and will include a $7.6 million project to upgrade the filtration system at Mareeba’s Water Treatment Plant in 21/22, as well as long-term planned projects to bring the Mareeba Shire back from the ‘infrastructure cliff’ facing the local government. “Ageing water infrastructure is an issue impacting a significant number of Councils across Queensland and Mareeba Shire Council is taking action now to avoid major disruptions to water services.”
Council has also funded the renewal and upgrade of the Granite Creek Sewage Pump Station, located on Byrnes Street in Mareeba. “This is another critical project, with the current pump station having reached capacity and also deteriorating,” Mayor Toppin said. This major project will take approximately 8 months to complete.
BUY BACK SHOP CREATES OPPORTUNITY
At the Ordinary Meeting of Mareeba Shire Council on Wednesday, 19 January 2022 the Councillors endorsed a proposal to seek Expressions of Interest for the management and operation of the new Buy Back Shop in Mareeba. “The construction of the Buy Back Shop has commenced, and I am delighted that Councillors have approved the Expression of Interest process,” Mayor Angela Toppin explained. “We are seeking EOIs from commercial and not-for-profit operators to propose a financially sustainable model for our new Buy Back Shop.” Located at the Mareeba Resource Recovery Centre, which is part of the Mareeba Waste Facility on Vaughan Street in Mareeba, the Buy Back Shop represents another major step towards embedding the circular economy in Mareeba. “Waste management is changing. We no longer ‘dump rubbish’, waste is now recognised as a product that must be managed.” “While we aspire to reduce and even avoid waste, if these goals are not achievable then we, as a Council and as a community, must look to the circular economy for ways to recycle or reuse waste materials for as long as possible, at their highest value,” Mayor Toppin said.
It is expected that the Buy Back Shop will result in improved environmental, financial, social and educational outcomes for the community and it is predicted that the Buy Back Shop will operate at no net cost to Council. “This is the beauty of the EOI process. We are asking operators to ‘pitch us’ their best model. We are not imposing constraints on the operation, rather we are encouraging operators to be innovative and consider any value-adding proposals that will boost the sustainability of the operation and the benefits for the community.” Mareeba Shire Council is 3-years in to a 10-year waste strategy which identified that a Buy Back Shop would not only result in waste reduction and enhance reuse of waste products, but it would offset the cost increases associated with the State Waste Levy and the closure of the Mareeba Landfill.
Mayor Toppin also anticipates positive employment outcomes to be achieved. “Not only are jobs created during the construction phase, but the new enterprise will certainly result in employment opportunities for members of our community.” Submissions from commercial and not-for-profit operators are invited, with full details to be made available on Council’s website.
Submissions will be assessed before a formal tender process is undertaken.
NEW RADF COMMITTEE ANNOUNCED
Mareeba Shire Council will welcome 6 new members to the Regional Arts Development Fund Advisory Committee in 2022. Following an Expression of Interest process held late in 2021, the Councillors unanimously voted to appoint Kristy Braes, Rhonda Dooley, Merrilee Frankish, Kylie Lambert, Angela Musumeci and Sandy Ryan to the committee. Mayor Angela Toppin recognised the contribution of previous RADF Committee members in achieving outcomes through the partnership with the Queensland Government. “The RADF program is formed on partnerships. Partnerships with the State government, Council and the valuable contributions made by community members including the Advisory Committee and community groups who deliver projects for the benefit of our Shire residents. It is through this model that some truly incredible outcomes have been achieved.”
The 2020/21 RADF program saw investment in 13 projects by community groups and artists in our shire and outcomes included two cultural tourism initiatives, three public murals and four arts skills workshops. “As Mayor, I am incredibly proud of the activities we have supported through RADF and I look forward to working with the new Advisory Committee to continue to support arts and culture in the Mareeba Shire.” The 2021/22 RADF Program will continue to build the capacity of the local arts, cultural and heritage sector and result in positive social, wellbeing and economic outcomes.
COUNCIL FUNDS NEW SEPTIC FOR MT MOLLOY HALL
At the Ordinary Meeting of Mareeba Shire Council on Wednesday, 19 January 2022, Councillors passed a resolution to fund the installation of a new septic system at the Mt Molloy Hall. At a cost of $30,000 this is a significant investment at this important location. Mayor Angela Toppin explained the importance of the Mt Molloy Hall to the community. “Council recently entered into a community management arrangement with the Mt Molloy RSL Sub-Branch and we anticipate that the use of the hall will increase under their stewardship and that the Mt Molloy Memorial Hall will once again become a vibrant and well-used community asset,” stated Cr Toppin. The previous wastewater treatment system failed in 2021 and the CWA Hall has been providing a temporary septic system to ensure the continuation of the services at the hall. “The Mt Molloy Memorial Hall toilets are used, not only by those who hire the hall, but by travellers and passers-by and Council views this as an important service to continue,” Mayor Toppin explained.