The following items were addressed at the Ordinary Meeting of Mareeba Shire Council on Wednesday, 15 November 2023.
Mareeba Shire Council’s Community Outcomes Report 2019 – 2023 has been noted at today’s Ordinary Council Meeting.
The report highlights some of the significant achievements that have been delivered across the Shire during the period July 2019 to June 2023.
Mayor Angela Toppin is delighted to report on the achievements seen over the last four years. “Some of the highlights include delivering balanced budgets, the opening of the Cedric Davies Community Hub and the Tom Gilmore Aviation Precinct, the implementation of the Parks and Open Spaces strategy and action plan and advocacy for issues important to the Shire around safety, roads and health.”
Mayor Toppin said she was proud that Mareeba Shire continues to strive for a growing, confident and sustainable shire.
“The fostering of collaborative partnerships and maintaining of accountable governance to promote the prosperity and liveability of the Shire is core to the operations of this Council and are also appropriately showcased throughout this report.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Councillors who have worked hard to help deliver our successful endeavours, with a special thank you to our previous Mayor, Tom Gilmore, whose dedication and insights helped shape some of the projects that were achieved in this period.”
“I would also like to recognise Council’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Franks, who has guided Council throughout this period, and the staff at Council who has been a major contribution to delivering the positive outcomes in this report.”
“While Council has faced many challenges in the last four years, especially due to Covid-19, it is proud to maintain a reputation as financially sustainable and dedicated to delivering services. Visit Council’s website to read the report online or follow Council on Facebook to see highlights from the report,” Mayor Toppin concluded.
AMAROO PARK MASTERPLAN
At today’s Ordinary Council Meeting the Amaroo Park Master Plan was presented to Council as a part of Council’s Parks and Open Spaces Strategy. In 2022, Council completed the new playground and carpark on the corner of Karobean Drive and Hastie Road, Mareeba. This was the first step in the redesign of the entire location.
“The purpose of the Amaroo Park Masterplan is to provide a long-term vision for the park and to assist Council with securing grants to implement the plan as no budget is currently allocated to further develop the parkland,” explained Cr Locky Bensted, Chair of the new Amaroo Park working group.
“The Masterplan was formed following extensive community engagement. Council issued a survey to 980 properties in the local area and received 140 responses,” said Cr Bensted.
The top five features survey respondents wanted to see in the new park included:
- Shade structures,
- Toilet facilities,
- Additional playgrounds,
- Additional seating and
- Drinking water access.
Following the survey, residents put their hand up to join a working group and met with Council and representatives from a landscape architecture consultant firm. This input as well as feedback from the survey was considered to develop the Masterplan, which can now be viewed on Council’s website.
The Masterplan provides for additional shading, learn to ride track, nature play area, additional car parks, public toilets, a multi-use lawn area, a youth active recreation area, seats and picnic tables, exercise equipment, dog off-leash area, pathway network, new trees and a tween active recreation area.
“A final Amaroo Park community information session to present the action plan will be held at 8.30am to 10.30am, Wednesday, 13 December 2023 at Amaroo Park. I would like to encourage residents who live in the area to visit the information session,” Cr Bensted concluded.
At the Ordinary Council Meeting on Wednesday, 15 November 2023, it was reported that Council is making significant progress towards the completion of projects listed under the Capital Works program.
“The program is funded through a combination of Council’s own funding and external grants and subsidies and is tracking within budget,” Mayor Toppin said.
As part of the Mareeba Shire Water Strategy, Council has progressed well with the project to upgrade the Mareeba Water Plant Booster Pump Station and the project to upgrade the Mareeba Water Plant Filtration System.
Mayor Toppin explains, “Upgrades to the Mareeba Water Plant Booster Pump Station will achieve two critical elements; to lift the firefighting capacity in the Mareeba Township and to ensure Council meets the minimum required water pressure standards to its residents.”
“Moreover, the filtration project will see the replacement of the ageing filtration system through construction of a new 6-cell filter block.”
Council is requesting the community to reduce water usage whilst these critical infrastructure projects at the Mareeba Water Treatment Plant are being delivered.
With the current hot and dry weather conditions, the treatment plant is operating close to capacity and residents are being urged to conserve water effective immediately. Anticipated completion of the upgrade projects is 30 June 2024.
Another project to upgrade the Bicentennial Lakes Gravity Sewer Main is progressing well with the contractor installing the gravity sewer main and construction of manholes in the verge adjacent to Railway Avenue during October.
In Kuranda, the project to build the new Kuranda Heights Cemetery has progressed considerably with the bulk earthworks now complete.
“Favourable weather conditions have enabled significant progress and construction continued with the access road and car park. Stage 1 of the new cemetery will provide burial capacity for the next ten to fifteen years.”
In Dimbulah, the construction of a new pump track is continuing. “Council engaged with the Dimbulah community to identify a new play feature for the town and the clear feedback received was that tweens and teens needed to be catered for as well as younger children.”
“As part of the project, a new fence will be installed between the playground and the highway and Council looks forward to the new addition for our growing community in Dimbulah and Mutchilba,” Mayor Toppin concluded.
Since opening in June this year, the Splash Park has been popular with the Shire’s younger residents at the Mareeba Aquatic Centre.
“With the summer holidays fast approaching, the Splash Park is a wonderful day out for the whole family. With plenty of tables available, make sure to pack a picnic and enjoy an ice cream or a delicious, freshly made coffee from the kiosk,” said Mayor Angela Toppin.
The project was 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 to the value of $1.5M.
The shallow, shaded toddlers pool and the 50m Mareeba Memorial swimming pool have recently been heated to take the chill out of the water, thanks to the Queensland Government who funded $150,000 towards this project.
“It is marvellous to have this wonderful facility available in Mareeba and I encourage residents to enjoy the Splash Park during its first summer,” concluded Mayor Toppin.
At today’s Ordinary Council Meeting, Council received an update on the land protection activities carried out in October.
“Mareeba Shire covers a vast area of 53,457km2 and unfortunately there are a number of invasive plants and animals which have a devastating impact on our environment,” explained Mayor Angela Toppin.
Work has continued on Emu Creek in the Walsh River catchment to eradicate bellyache bush, physic nut and rubber vine. Council officers also concentrated their efforts around Chillagoe to treat and map chinee apple, neem trees and rubber vine.
Many of these species spread quickly, create thickets which impacts wildlife and stock movements, and some can be toxic to animals.
Amazon frogbit is a particularly destructive weed which floats on the water surface and prevents native plants from growing. It also reduces light and food sources for aquatic animals and blocks waterways. Council officers continued to work along Chinaman Creek in the Barron River Catchment to remove frogbit.
Land protection officers recently spoke at a Careers Day at Kuranda District State College for students interested in Land Management. Other agencies involved were Djabugay Rangers, National Parks, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (electric ants), Wet Tropics Management Agency (yellow crazy ants) and Kuranda Envirocare.
Council also manages invasive animal species including wild dogs, feral rabbits and wild pigs.
“I would like to encourage residents to visit Council’s website for more information,” Mayor Toppin concluded.
Queensland is the most disaster-prone state in Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology has predicted that Far North Queensland will experience a hotter and drier summer this year. Mareeba Shire is vulnerable to bushfires, flooding and cyclones and has already seen the impact of major bushfires this season.
To help residents prepare for natural disasters, Mareeba Shire Council participated in Get Ready Queensland activities throughout October and November.
This included pop-up stalls at Kuranda IGA, Dimbulah Community Centre and Dimbulah Community Kindergarten, Mareeba Square Shopping Centre (outside of Coles) and at Council’s Seniors Morning Tea.
“The pop-up stalls were a great opportunity to have conversations with residents about actions they can take to prepare for emergencies. Residents who stopped by for a chat also received a Get Ready bag full of resources to assist with planning,” Mayor Angela Toppin explained.
Get Ready Queensland packs were also sent to a central location at Chillagoe, Irvinebank, Koah, Mt Molloy and Speewah.
Council officers attended assemblies at St Anthony’s, Mutchilba State School and St Thomas to raise awareness about natural disasters to help the students feel more prepared.
During October, 242 residents signed up to receive alerts from the Early Warning Network and went into the running for a First Aid Kit worth $600. Congratulations to Bridget Williams who was the lucky winner of the kit.
“I would like to encourage residents to visit Council’s Emergency Dashboard for the latest information about local emergencies and you can also sign up to receive the Early Warning Network alerts,” concluded Mayor Toppin.
Mareeba Shire’s arts and cultural sector is set to receive a boost with increased grant funding for 2023/24.
Council was recently awarded $34,125 from Arts Queensland which will contribute to the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) Program this year.
Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the Queensland Government’s successful, long-term partnership with local governments through RADF supports the delivery of hundreds of arts experiences, employment opportunities and capacity building for arts and cultural workers across the state.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to strengthen local communities and drive economic outcomes through arts and culture, the Queensland Government has provided $2.184 million for RADF 2023-24 to 59 local councils who have contributed a co-investment of $1.979 million,” Minister Enoch said.
“The Queensland Government’s Creative Together 2020-2030 roadmap prioritises activation of Queensland’s places and spaces and arts engagement that drives positive change for Queensland communities. Projects funded through RADF support communities to share stories and creativity, provide important pathways for learning and connection, and boost local creative economies and tourism.”
“The second year of Council’s Public Mural Action Plan will be implemented with this funding and will result in vibrant public artworks for Mutchilba, Chillagoe and Mareeba,” explained Mayor Angela Toppin.
The Chillagoe Town Hall will come to life with a large mural to be painted by professional, north Queensland based, artist Lavinia Letheby, starting mid-November 2023.
In consultation with residents and traditional owners, inspiration for the artwork will come from Chillagoe’s rich cultural heritage and unique natural environment.
Lavinia will also be the artist for the Community Hall mural in Mutchilba and which will start in January 2024.
“The Action Plan will continue to enhance the visual appeal of our towns, reduce graffiti and increase cultural tourism. The Biboohra water tanks mural “Earth and Fire” by Sara Dragotto has already received national attention and has been added online to the Australian Silo Art Trail,” Mayor Toppin said.
“RADF grants for community-led arts, cultural activities and professional development activities for artists are available each year for a range of activities. The next round of community grants will be awarded by Council in December 2023,” Mayor Toppin concluded.
Mareeba Shire Council offers free domestic green waste disposal every quarter and the next scheduled days will occur in early December 2023.
“The free green waste days are a great opportunity for residents to maintain their properties in preparation for bush fire, flooding and cyclones,” said Mayor Angela Toppin.
The upcoming dates are:
- Mareeba, Kuranda, Dimbulah and Julatten Transfer Station – Saturday, 9 December and Sunday, 10 December 2023
- Almaden, Irvinebank and Mt Molloy Transfer Station – Saturday, 9 December and Tuesday, 12 December 2023
- Mt Carbine Transfer Station – Thursday, 7 December and Sunday, 10 December 2023
- Mutchilba Transfer Station – Wednesday, 6 December and Saturday, 9 December 2023
- Chillagoe Transfer Station – Thursday, 7 December and Saturday, 9 December 2023
This is for clean uncontaminated domestic quantities of green waste only. Multiple loads will be accepted on these days.
For Transfer Station operating times and locations please visit Council’s website at Transfer Stations Information – Mareeba Shire Council (msc.qld.gov.au)