The following items were addressed at the Ordinary Meeting of Mareeba Shire Council on Wednesday, 17 November 2021.
ONE STEP CLOSER FOR NEW SERVO – Mareeba Shire Council has approved a development application for a new service station on the corner of Malone Road and the Kennedy Highway, and Mayor Angela Toppin welcomes the development.
“This new service station will unlock economic benefits that come with new development, as well as the ongoing employment benefits for the area.”
Featuring a children’s playground and kitchen, the modern service station will operate 7 days a week, from 5:00am to 7:30pm.
The development approval includes conditions to ensure that the amenity of the area is not negatively affected by the construction and to ensure that road safety is prioritised.
“The applicant will now consider the conditions of the approval, and I do hope to see the start of this project in the not-to-distant future,” Mayor Toppin stated.
MT MOLLOY RSL SUB-BRANCH TAKES ON COMMUNITY HALL -At the Ordinary Meeting of Mareeba Shire Council on Wednesday, 17 November 2021, Councillors passed a motion to issue a management agreement to the Mt Molloy RSL Sub-Branch for the managed of the Mt Molloy Memorial Hall.
Mayor Angela Toppin commended the RSL Sub-Branch for taking on the community management of the hall.
“Community management is an arrangement between a community-based management committee and Council which recognises the value of local knowledge and connections in running these types of facilities.”
“The role of the community hall has changed over the years. Previously a critical part of a small community’s social fabric, generally speaking there has been a decline in usage of community halls in recent years,” Mayor Toppin explained.
Council has successfully implemented community management arrangements at the Mutchilba Community Centre and Koah Hall. “The results of community management are impressive, and Council has seen an increase in activity at the community managed sites. The management committee and council both take on certain responsibilities.”
These arrangements do not give the management group ‘exclusive use’, rather the arrangement is to encourage usage by other groups at the hall or facility.
“The community management arrangements at the Mutchilba Community Centre and the Koah Hall have proven to be highly effective at reconnecting the community with the hall, and at boosting utilisation. It is my hope that the Mt Molloy RSL Sub-Branch experience a similar upward trend in utilisation under their stewardship and that the Mt Molloy Memorial Hall becomes a vibrant and well-used community asset,” stated Cr Toppin.
CAMPERVAN & MOTORHOME CLUB OF AUSTRALIA TO SET UP SHOP – Mareeba Shire Council has passed a resolution which may see the establishment of a short-term recreational vehicle (RV) park established on the old transport depot site in Frew Street in Mareeba. “The CMCA has approached Council to establish an RV park on Frew Street and Council is pleased to support this,” Mayor Angela Toppin said. The proposal is for a basic facility for fully self-contained RVs which is different to a traditional caravan park. An RV park does not provide any supporting infrastructure, with the traveller to provide their own toilet, shower, cooking, washing, and sleeping facilities on board.
This meets the demand of a significant and growing group of RV travellers who have invested in a vehicle that allows them to be off-grid for a period. The RV park, therefore, provides significant local economic benefits with an average spend of $150.00 in the local community per night stayed.
Mayor Toppin stated, “CMCA has extensive experience in running RV parks, with multiple sites across Australia and with the financial capacity to implement and develop the site appropriately, they are well-placed to provide a high-quality and well-utilised facility to visitors to Mareeba.”
CMCA will be required to submit an impact assessable development application before operations can begin. “We are hopeful that this will go ahead as the self-drive visitor market is one that has played a vital role in the Mareeba Shire’s ability to withstand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Council recognises the importance of the RV traveller market and continues to invest in a digital destination marketing campaign to attract these visitors. “A facility of this nature, so close to town is expected to be a popular offering to our self-drive visitors,” Mayor Toppin stated.
WATER AND WASTE ON THE AGENDA – Mareeba Shire Council has taken another important step in progressively replacing the asbestos cement water mains in the shire.
At the Ordinary Meeting on 17 November 2021, Council appointed Northern Civil Earthworks for the next priority project.
With a contract price of $895,323 (excl. GST), the works will include the supply and installation of a new water main between Granite Creek and Debel Close and adjoining streets on the western side of the Mulligan Highway.
The works will be completed by September 2022 and have come off the back of two similar projects currently underway in Mareeba and Kuranda.
“These projects are fully funded by Council and are required due to the number of water main breaks occurring in recent years,” Mayor Toppin explained. “The works are part of Council’s strategy to address critical water issues across the Shire over the next 10 years.”
LAND PROTECTION PRIORITISED – Mareba Shire Council continues to prioritise land protection and weed management activities across the Shire. With Council officers monitoring 12 parthenium weed sites across the shire, efforts are also continuing along Emu Creek to target rubber vine and Siam weed. A joint taskforce has also been established between Mareeba Shire Council and Tablelands Regional Council to surveying and treat pond apple and Siam weed along Rocky Creek near the shared boundary. Plants were found and treated in the area and Council is hopeful the outbreak has not established into the Barron River. “Land protection generally takes on some form of partnership, whether that is with neighbouring local government authorities, residents or traditional owner groups, we are seeing more and more evidence that working together results in much greater outcomes for the land,” Mayor Angela Toppin explained.
“Weed management and land protection are critically important to this Council.” “We are deeply concerned by the presence of Amazonian Frogbit in local catchments and will continue to advocate to the State government to take drastic action to address this issue.” Amazonian Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) was declared a local pest under Councils Local law No. 3 (Community and Environment Management) following an emergency declaration made by Mareeba Shire Council on 17 February 2021.
Following the declaration, Councillors have continued to lobby the State and Federal Governments to have the weed recognised as an invasive plant.
Council recently wrote to the Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs, Hon Meaghan Scanlon, seeking further assistance to have the pest declared by Queensland Parliament as an invasive plant and to request funding to assist Council in its efforts in containing the weed.
Mareeba Shire Council spends $20,000 annually in a bid to contain and monitor the fast-growing pest which will have a catastrophic impact on local waterways.
“Despite efforts of Council, Amazonian Frogbit is now increasingly evident in Chinaman Creek, Atherton Creek, Granite Creek and the Barron River.”
COUNCIL WASTE HIGHLY WEIGHTED – Mareeba Shire Council continues to focus on improving waste management in the Shire, with a new weighbridge and gatehouse on track to be installed at the Kuranda Waste Transfer Station. Mareeba Shire Mayor, Angela Toppin explains, “Council aims for a better way of managing waste at its sites, by harnessing the potential value of resources that have traditionally been discarded.” This project is a result of Council’s Waste Management Services Strategy.
“Council has endorsed strategic priorities which will guide our transition to a more circular economy, reduce the amount of waste disposed of to landfill, and provide a more sustainable source of end-of-life products and materials,” Mayor Toppin said.
Council’s direction is also guided by principles set out in the Queensland Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 and Environmental Protection Act 1994.
Council is also proposing to construct a Buy Back Shop at the Mareeba Waste Transfer Station with a development approval currently being assessed.
“Transfer stations are critical infrastructure designed to receive local residents’ domestic, self-hauled waste and recycling that can be separated into various waste streams for transfer to recycling facilities or a landfill. Mareeba Shire Council remains committed to reducing waste to landfill by increasing recycling opportunities, promoting reuse of organic waste, reducing illegal dumping and supporting sustainable practices and the circular economy,” said Mayor Toppin.
COUNCIL CONSIDERS PETITION FOR POOL SHADE – At the Ordinary Meeting of Mareeba Shire Council on Wednesday, 17 November 2021, Council formally considered the petition lodged by Kuranda residents to install a retractable shade sail and resolved that the shade sail would not be installed.
Mareeba Shire Council Mayor Angela Toppin explained, “While there is community support for a shade sail at the Kuranda pool, the cost of the infrastructure and the low level of pool usage mean that this is not a viable improvement for Council to make.”
“Our swimming pools are important and there are clear health, social and community benefits for those who use the pools and attend programs and activities at these facilities; and it is for this reason that the project will be added to Council’s project prioritisation tool to be considered in future budget-setting cycles,” Mayor Toppin said.
The Mayor explained that while Council could not justify the expense of the retractable shade sail in the current budget, Councillors are supportive, in principle.
“Council would certainly consider supporting any efforts by not-for-profit groups or clubs to apply for funding to complete this project in partnership with the lessee of the Kuranda pool.”