At the Ordinary Council Meeting on Wednesday, 14 December 2022, Mareeba Shire Council agreed to call on the State government to support an innovative project to increase social housing.
Mayor Angela Toppin explained, “The Mareeba Shire, like much of Australia, is impacted by a housing crisis.”
“Council is proposing to work in partnership with the Queensland government and the Mareeba Community Housing Company to facilitate growth in the available properties.”
Council’s proposal is for the divestment of the Council’s housing stock to Mareeba Community Housing Company who will then continue to develop the housing stock.
“The Mareeba Community Housing Company is already managing Council’s long-term community housing service, so the divestment would simply mean that Council no longer plays an active role in managing that contract,” Mayor Toppin stated. “This is being proposed as it is the most likely way to capitalise on the opportunity to construct additional housing.”
“Mareeba’s population is growing steadily and steps need to be taken to improve housing availability now and into the future.”
It is predicted that in 2041 the Mareeba Shire will be home to almost 12,500 people aged over 55 years.
This project will facilitate the construction of new housing that will fill a gap in the Mareeba Shire.
“More than 90% of all dwellings in Mareeba are detached houses, and these are just not suitable for lone residents, or couples ageing at home,” Mayor Toppin said. “By building more one and two-bedroom homes we can create room in the rental market which has simply not been seen in recent years.”
The Council is also seeking approval from the State to build a new two x two-bedroom duplex in Mareeba on land that is already used for social housing.
“This type of housing suits single seniors or couples who need live-in support, so they can live at home for longer.”
“There is a real need for this type of housing, and we expect that by increasing the availability of social housing for seniors, other renters will then have access to properties which have been previously utilised by our older residents.”
“Housing is a fundamental need and, as Mayor, I firmly believe that any steps we take towards alleviating the housing crisis in Mareeba will translate into long-term improvements in community wellbeing and community safety.”
15 December 2022
The project to revamp the playground at Centenary Park, Kuranda has been completed in time for the School Holidays.
“I am incredibly proud of the new playground and the enhancement to Kuranda. The construction of the shade sail has commenced and will be completed soon,” Mayor Angela Toppin said.
“The Park, in the heart of the town, serves a dual function for visiting tourists and the local community, and I am delighted by the improvements,” Mayor Toppin explained.
“The refreshed park includes interactive play equipment, a rubberised soft fall surface, lighting for night-time use, shade sail, shelter, seating and tables.”
“The equipment has been built to last and is suitable for Kuranda’s climate. The previous shade sail and play equipment has been salvaged and will be assessed for potential use elsewhere.”
“The park will meet our community’s needs now, and into the future and I would like to invite residents to get out and enjoy the new park and everything else that Kuranda, our village in the rainforest, has to offer,” Mayor Angela Toppin concluded.
The Parks and Open Spaces Strategy, that followed community consultation in 2020, was adopted to achieve Council’s vision to enhance the Shire’s liveability, to encourage active communities and to achieve economic development.
“The three-year Action Plan has been implemented and Council can report on significant achievements in year one, despite the ongoing challenges faced by the global pandemic,” Mayor Angela Toppin said.
“The Plan represents a record spend, by Council, on parks and open spaces to improve access to quality parks, without any additional cost to ratepayers,” Mayor Toppin said.
“Projects, completed this year, include the upgrade to the Mareeba Rail Trail from McIver Road to the Mareeba Airport and the revitalisation of the Kuranda Centenary Park.”
“Another project, set to be completed before the end of the year, weather permitting, is the Mareeba Eastern Catchment Park. Stage one of the park is near completion, and over 900 properties in the catchment can look forward to a new park in time for Christmas.”
“The Plan includes projects across the Shire, and I especially look forward to the construction of a Splash Park within the Mareeba Sports and Aquatic Centre and the heating of the pool.”
“By constructing the splash park at the Mareeba Aquatic Centre, we can achieve the lowest ongoing operational expense to the community while providing visitors a more interactive experience by leveraging the existing pools as part of the Splash Park experience,” Mayor Toppin explained.
“I would like to thank the Queensland Government for their support of this project.”
“$1.5M will be funded by the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning to provide the Splash Park and upgrades to existing infrastructure at the Mareeba Aquatic Centre.”
“Further, $150,000 of the $195,075 project to install a heating system, was grant funded by the Active Gameday Projects Fund from the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport’s (Sport and Recreation). The remaining funds will be contributed by Mareeba Shire Council.”
“Residents and visitors will be reaping the benefits of the Parks and Open Spaces Strategy for years to come,” Mayor Angela Toppin concluded.
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the Palaszczuk Government was proud to be supporting Mareeba to improve its already great lifestyle.
“Queenslanders are rightly proud of our world class lifestyle, and it’s on show here in Mareeba,” Ms Lui said.
“By investing in our parks and building a new splash park in Mareeba we’re improving that already great lifestyle, making Mareeba a great place to live and to visit.
“And by getting locals to build it we’re delivering good jobs across the region,” Ms Lui concluded.
Mareeba Shire Council has received funding through the Queensland Government’s Walking Local Government Grants Program to undertake a Walking Network Plan (WNP) for Kuranda.
Mayor Toppin explained the planning process, “The Walking Network Plan is essentially a Masterplan which will enable Council to produce a Priority Work Plan with projects then considered during the budget setting process.”
“It is hoped that this process can raise awareness of the lifestyle benefits of walking and, in the long-run, improve accessibility to safe walking networks which will encourage people to opt to walk, instead of drive.”
The walking network plan was developed in consultation with the community, and several new initiatives were identified as well as potential projects to improve sections of the current footpath network.
“This is another step towards developing the priority works program. Council’s endorsement of the Walking Network Plan means we can continue to move forward with planning the future works,” Mayor Toppin said.
“Of course, the walking network plan is quite extensive, and therefore Council will need to prioritise the works based on safety, connectivity, current demand and potential future demand to ensure that any investment in the future creates the greatest benefit,” Mayor Angela Toppin concluded.