Skip to main content
FeaturedLatest from CouncilNews

Items of Interest – Ordinary Council Meeting, 18 October 2023

By October 18, 2023No Comments

Annual Report Adopted

Mareeba Shire Council’s Annual Report 2022/23 has been tabled at today’s Ordinary Council Meeting.

The report highlights Council’s key achievements in delivering services to the Mareeba Shire over the past 12 months.

Mayor Angela Toppin is pleased to report on the achievements seen this year. “In 2022/23, Council continued to deliver important services including community facilities, libraries, community partnerships and events.”

Mayor Toppin said she was proud that Mareeba Shire continues to grow.  “There was a significant investment in infrastructure services, including $15.2M dedicated to roads and drainage, and $29.2M to water, waste, and sewerage. Council continued to prioritise our 10-year Water Strategy and saw upgrades to essential infrastructure to help secure safe and reliable water access for our growing community.”

Another key highlight was the outcomes achieved in Parks and Open Spaces program following community consultation. Many projects benefitted from this program including upgrades to Bicentennial Lakes, Anzac Park and Mareeba East Park in Mareeba and Centenary and Anzac Park in Kuranda. The Mareeba Aquatic Centre also received a new Splash Park and heating for both the 50m pool and toddler pool.

“I am extremely grateful to the State and Federal Government for their continued support allowing Council to enhance the liveability for residents across the Shire. These improvements were well received by our community, and we look forward to the continued implementation of this action plan.”

The annual report also focusses on Council’s continued efforts to advocate on the most crucial issues impacting our communities. “Council continued to advocate to both State and Federal Government levels about issues vital to the community. This includes seeking funding for essential water infrastructure, roads and the environment as well as lobbying for increased support for local services for community safety and health,” Mayor Toppin stated.

“While Council has faced many challenges in 2022/23, it is proud to maintain a reputation as financially sustainable and dedicated to delivering services. Thanks to Councillors and Council staff, this Council will continue to strive towards its vision as “a growing, confident and sustainable Shire,” Mayor Toppin concluded.

New Containers for Change Solution for Kuranda

At today’s Ordinary Council Meeting it was reported that Kuranda will receive a new shipping container style bag drop solution to recycle eligible containers.

Council has partnered with Container Exchange (QLD) Limited (COEX) and Mareeba Recycling to expand eligible container recycling solutions in the Mareeba Shire.

Brad Luders from Mareeba Recycling explains, “We have worked with Mareeba Shire for just shy of five years to deliver the Containers for Change Scheme. Our combined efforts with community buy-in has delivered positive impacts on the environment across the region.”

“We have proposed three solutions to enhance the program and we look forward for the first solution, the Kuranda Bag Drop, to be installed by Christmas.”

Councillor Lenore Wyatt, an avid supporter of recycling education explains, “for us as a Council it made sense to pick Kuranda as the first town to receive a shipping container. Kuranda residents are conscious about the environment and this container will replace the metal cages used for recycling purposes at Arara Street.”

“The container will be branded Kuranda-style with pictures of cassowaries and native trees and will be more aesthetically pleasing than the current solution.”

“Residents will be given the opportunity to either cash-in on the containers recycled or donate the proceeds to their chosen charity. Additional information and video tutorials will be made available on Council’s website when the container is installed.”

“The second solution reported on today was the installation of public bins in Kuranda for the recycling of eligible containers. The solution will be trialled in the Kuranda CBD and Council will start with installing six bins.”

“Residents and visitors can use these bins to recycle eligible containers with the proceeds being donated to the Mayor’s Christmas Appeal,” Cr Wyatt concluded.

Mayor Toppin explains, “Each year, Council donates the proceeds of the Mayor’s Christmas Appeal to local community centres with those groups then providing Christmas hampers or vouchers to families in need. These organisations do a marvellous job of ensuring that assistance is received by those most in need.”

The third and final solution will see the installation of a waste transfer station bulk bin. The initial rollout has been suggested for Mareeba and Kuranda, followed by Julatten and potentially other transfer stations across the shire. The bins will replace the yellow-lid recycle bins at transfer stations.

“We all have a responsibility to minimize the waste that we produce and solutions like these will increase the level of recycling and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Council looks forward to the installation of these solutions,” Mayor Toppin concluded.

Amaroo Restaurant One Step Closer

At the Ordinary Council Meeting on Wednesday, 18 October 2023, Mareeba Shire Council approved an amendment to a development application currently in place to allow the developer of Amaroo Estate to progress with the building of a new restaurant.

Mayor Toppin explained, “The developer originally planned for the restaurant to be built during the third stage of their development. Following Council’s approval today, the developer can now progress with the construction of the restaurant during stage two of their development.”

“The restaurant will be constructed in front of the new playground, allowing the facility to service the playground visitors and residents in general.”

“The application and supporting material were assessed against Council’s Planning Scheme 2016 and the proposed change does not result in a substantially different development as previously approved.”

“Stage three of the development application will consist of a 600m2 supermarket, specialty shop/s and further carparking.”

“Council welcomes any development to the Shire that will boost economic growth, create employment, and generate investment opportunities.”

“Our Shire is a wonderful place to live, work and invest and this Council is committed to stimulating the local economy and enhancing the liveability for all residents across the Shire,” Mayor Toppin concluded.

New Duplex for Senior Housing

Mareeba Shire Council is finalising the execution of a Capital Funding Agreement to allow for the construction of a new duplex for senior housing.

Mayor Toppin said, “The Mareeba Shire is currently experiencing the adverse effects of housing shortages and we firmly believe that through a dedicated and collaborative approach, we can make a substantial impact on the housing crisis in our region.”

“Council worked with the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy (DCHDE) and the Mareeba Community Housing Company (MCHC) to construct a new two (2) by two (2) bedroom duplex in Mareeba with government funding.”

“The Capital Funding Agreement states that MCHC is designated the ‘Provider’ which assigns not only responsibility for project delivery but for the long-term responsibility for tenancy and property management of the new duplex with the duplex added to the MCHC social housing stock.”

“Council is the Trustee of the reserve land and will survey the duplex site and prepare a long-term lease with MCHC.”

“As a Council we will continue to advocate for social housing as we believe that we can achieve much greater results by collaborating with various State government departments than any one organisation working in isolation,” Mayor Angela Toppin concluded.

Planning Scheme Amendment to Protect Rural Zone Endorsed

At today’s Ordinary Council Meeting Mareeba Shire Council endorsed the Major Amendment No.1 of 2023 – Consultation Report and no changes were made to the amendment in response to the submissions received.

“As previously reported, the amendment to Mareeba Shire Council’s planning scheme was made to protect the rural zone from unintended fragmentation through subdivision to create lots less than 60 hectares in area,” Mayor Toppin stated.

“The amendment to the planning scheme strengthens the provisions relating to subdivision in the rural zone.”

“Under the amendment, a subdivision to create a rural lot less than 60 hectares will require impact assessment except for where no additional lot is created (boundary realignment), or where one additional lot is created to accommodate a public reconfiguration purpose.”

Mayor Toppin explains, “Council tabled the amendment at the June Council meeting and a consultation period commenced on 30 August 2023 and ended on 27 September 2023.”

“I acknowledge the State’s concerns with the existing planning scheme and recognised the importance of strengthening the planning scheme’s protection of the rural zone.”

“In general, a subdivision to create a new rural lot less than 60 hectares in area will not be supported under the amended planning scheme following today’s endorsement.”

“I would like to encourage residents to visit Council’s website for more information,” Mayor Toppin concluded.

Council Projects in Progress

Mareeba Shire Council is making significant progress towards the completion of projects listed under Council’s Parks and Open Spaces Action Plan.

“Council’s Parks and Open Spaces Action Plan is focussed on the enhancement of the Shire’s liveability and visual appeal, and to encourage active communities and economic development. Projects under the plan are funded through a combination of Council’s own funding and external grants and subsidies,” Mayor Angela Toppin said.

One project to renew the playground and fitness equipment at various locations is progressing well with exercise equipment for Roscommon Park, Speewah ordered and procurement for play equipment at Pat Kinnear Memorial Park, in Chillagoe, and Bill Newburn Park, in Irvinebank, planned.

Another project to revitalise Bicentennial Lakes, Mareeba is progressing well.

The Bicentennial Lakes Project will completely revitalise the Lakes, starting in the southern section between Rankin Street and Keeble Street, with some minor work in the northern section between Keeble Street and Granite Creek to improve the movement of water.

Mayor Angela Toppin said, “The first step was the removal of the weirs that allowed the ground to dry before staff proceeded with the reshaping of the lake to form a gully. Rocks and dirt have been brought in to complete the reshaping works.”

“The southern section will include a range of new facilities, including playground equipment, a pump track, and a toilet facility. Construction has commenced on the toilet facility and contracts have been awarded for the pump track and play elements. It is estimated that the playground and pump track will be completed by early 2024.”

Further reports from today’s meeting is that projects under Council’s Capital Works Projects are progressing well.

“The existing Kuranda Cemetery is close to reaching capacity and Council has purchased an adjacent property on Kuranda Heights Road for the expansion of the cemetery,” explained Mayor Angela Toppin.

“It was reported today that the bulk earthworks to shape the project into the existing surface is close to completion due to favourable weather conditions enabling significant progress by the Contractor.”

“The new Kuranda cemetery will be named the Kuranda Heights Cemetery as resolved at today’s meeting,” Mayor Toppin concluded.

Capital Project Prioritisation and Decision Making 2024/25

At today’s Ordinary Council Meeting Mareeba Shire Council adopted the Project Prioritisation Criteria to develop the 2024/25 Proposed Capital Works Program.

Mayor Toppin explains, “Like most local government authorities, Council has limited funds available for Capital Works projects.”

“The International Infrastructure Management Manual provides several methods for prioritising projects, of which Council regularly uses two. The first method is a multi-criteria analysis which is part of Council’s project prioritisation tool (PPT), and the second method is a risk assessment using Council’s Enterprise Risk Management Framework.”

“The Project Prioritisation methodology relies on criteria and weighting for each asset class with each criterion prepared with a rating system that is weighted at Council’s discretion. Ultimately, a priority or appraisal score is developed which is used to rank the projects within the program.”

The percentage weightings can be varied to reflect the relative importance between each criterion, with the total percentages equalling 100%.

Each year, Council officers review the criteria used to evaluate projects and where appropriate recommend improvements for Council’s consideration. This year the focus continues to be on objective criteria where possible.

“In addition to the PPT appraisal score, a basic risk rating of the current situation to the Council and the community is also provided for each project,” Mayor Toppin stated.

“Council Officers access the risk by asking the question, “What would happen if the project does not proceed?” The risk rating is calculated using Council’s Enterprise Risk Management process, with the inherent risk score provided in the Capital Works Planning sheets for Councillor’s review. This provides Council with a clear indicator of the risks that are mitigated by funding projects and the risks that are accepted.”

The PPT criteria will provide the framework for Council officers to assess and prioritise projects for the Council review.

“This will enable Council to continue to look for savings and opportunities while managing council’s assets and reserves to ensure a sustainable future in a cost-effective manner,” Mayor Angela Toppin concluded.