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Items of Interest – Council Meeting 18 May 2022

By May 18, 2022No Comments

COUNCIL SPLASHES OUT ON ARTS & CULTURE PROJECTS

The Mareeba Shire Council will assist 12 arts and culture projects with the announcement of the successful recipients of the Regional Arts Development Fund for 2022. A partnership between the Queensland Government and Council, the Regional Arts Development Fund aims to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

Mayor Angela Toppin explained, “Through the Regional Arts Development Fund, Council connects directly with, and supports, this important sector. With the guidance of an expert community Advisory Committee, we have selected 12 incredible projects to support this year.”

The successful applicants are:

  • Bertie Riley – Production of EP Sound Recording “Binal” $3,500
  • Brioni McGrath – Bee Better, Bugzy Bumblebee Professional Development $1,744
  • Chillagoe Alliance – Chillagoe Railway Interpretive Centre $1,270
  • Crystal Leonardi – My Brother Sebastian $1,322
  • The Pad Boys (Dennis Hunter) – The Pad Boys 30th Anniversary $3,880
  • Dimbulah Community Centre – Braai Day $3,500
  • Dimbulah Railway Museum – Display Cabinet $2,295
  • FNQ Aviation Museum – Celebrating 80 years of the Mareeba Airport $7,576
  • Kuranda Conservation Community Nursery – Cassowary Art Trail $4,000
  • Toni Rogers – Common Threads $2,352
  • Toshi Sakamoto – CD Recording $1,780
  • Zachary Barclay – Faux Mo Sapien $3,000

Council’s RADF program aims to build local cultural capacity, cultural innovation and community wellbeing.

“This year we are supporting locally run museums, arts projects and exhibitions as well as local Aboriginal recording artists and an emerging author,” Mayor Toppin said.

“Many of these projects will result in increased professional opportunities for the creators and it is expected that each year our local arts and culture sector will continue to grow.”

COUNCIL COGNISANT OF COST CHALLENGES

A Report tabled at the Ordinary Meeting of the Mareeba Shire Council on Wednesday, 18 May 2022 acknowledged the economic challenges currently facing businesses and governments, globally.

“As a Council, we are experiencing the same impacts faced by businesses throughout Queensland, and beyond,” Mayor Toppin stated. “Increasing fuel prices, trade and material supply delays and cost increases and the significant escalation to the cost of water and wastewater projects are having a serious impact on Council’s ability to deliver projects.”

The report highlighted the potential impact on service delivery and sustainability measures which may be required.

“With a capital budget of more than $31 million in 2021/22, these impacts are not insignificant,” Mayor Toppin said.

Council anticipates increases in steel prices of up to 58% and roofing products of more than 40%, as well as a 25% increase in the cost of sewage main pipes.

“Councillors are focussed on sustainability and, together with officers, we will continue to consider measures to minimise the impacts on our ratepayers and to continue to deliver projects for our communities while keeping the average rate increase as low as possible. Our Long Term Financial Plan is based on a 2.5% increase and we will do what we can to stick to that, even if it means cutting back on certain things,” Mayor Toppin concluded.

COUNCIL SEEKS EOI TO SELL INDUSTRIAL LAND

With more than 180 ha of industrial land for development within 5 minutes’ drive of the Mareeba township, the Council is seeking Expressions of Interest from Real Estate Agents to assist with the marketing and sales of this asset.

“The Mareeba Industrial Park presents an unmatched opportunity to business and industry, and Council expects that by engaging an agent to assist with marketing and sales, the investment will continue to grow,” Mayor Angela Toppin said.

“With significant Council and government funds invested in the Mareeba Industrial Park, there is industrial land ready for construction with some of the most flexible land use in Queensland.”

There are strong prospects for continued growth and investment in the Mareeba Industrial Park with the Park becoming established as a transport and logistics hub.

“The Industrial Park is in close proximity to growers and producers, and it is evolving, naturally, to support agriculture and horticulture.”

“Council is in receipt of some very exciting and innovative enquiries and, once appointed, the Real Estate agent will assist Council to close the deal,” Mayor Toppin concluded.

KURANDA INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNING REVIEWED

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Mareeba Shire Council will submit a revised Kuranda Tourism Infrastructure Master Plan to the State government for approval, following the renegotiation of the Kuranda Infrastructure Agreement between Council and the State.

Mayor Angela Toppin explained, “Mareeba Shire Council is responsible for the delivery of an infrastructure master plan as part of the Kuranda Infrastructure Agreement. Unfortunately, the Kuranda Infrastructure Agreement was revised in 2021 with the financial contribution from Skyrail no longer to be received.”

“This has resulted in a significant reduction in the Kuranda Infrastructure Agreement funding, which necessitated a review of future infrastructure project planning.”

Previously this financial contribution which, at its peak reached approximately $1m per annum was provided via monies collected by the State from Kuranda Scenic Rail (operated by Queensland Rail) and Skyrail (privately owned and operated).

“The infrastructure in Kuranda is of critical importance to the success of the village as a tourist destination and has supported an industry which was booming pre-COVID. With the need to prioritise projects carefully over the coming years, Council arranged far-reaching consultation during 2021 to ensure that the revised projects would meet the needs and aspirations of the community.”

The Kuranda Infrastructure Agreement has served as the means for major infrastructure upgrades which would have been outside the financial capacity of ratepayers, but which were necessary to provide a quality tourism experience, funding more than $16.6m projects since 1995.

Mareeba Shire Council funds maintenance in Kuranda to the tune of $490,000 for parks, gardens and public areas and has delivered more than $10.6 million in upgrades to water and sewage infrastructure.

The Kuranda Infrastructure Agreement Fund is just one of the ways Council delivers a program of works in Kuranda, but the reduction in funding will have an impact on the projects which can be delivered in the coming years.

“The revised projects under the Kuranda Tourism Infrastructure Master Plan are affordable under the new Agreement and meet the needs of Kuranda businesses and tourists, albeit at a greatly reduced level to the previous plan,” Mayor Toppin explained.

The State government will now consider the proposed Kuranda Tourism Infrastructure Master Plan.

COUNCIL PROJECTS IMPROVE ROAD & SEWAGE

With an ambitious capital works program for 2021/22, Mareeba Shire Council is making progress with many projects.

Previously undertaking condition assessments of all sewerage pump stations in Mareeba and Kuranda, an allocation was made in the current budget to upgrade and refurbish three minor sewerage pump stations in the towns. During April, the contractor set to work at all three sites, located at Thooree Street and Arara Street in Kuranda and Palm Close in Mareeba.

Mareeba Shire Council Mayor, Angela Toppin said that the works were an important part of the 10-year water strategy. “Residents will continue to see projects throughout the Shire which will ensure that the water infrastructure can meet the needs of the community now, and well into the future.”

Local roads are also a focus for Council, with a project commencing in Mareeba during April to replace the kerb and channelling along Reynolds Street.

The project is jointly funded by the Federal Government’s Roads to Recovery program and Council’s budget.

“The road surface is cracked due to water ingress, so the project will see improvements to the kerb and channelling to allow for the trees along the street, as well as the replacement of the asphalt,” Mayor Toppin explained. “We expect that this will vastly improve the street surface along Reynolds Street, for the long-term.”