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NewsBites: April Council Meeting 2020

By April 22, 2020May 20th, 2020No Comments

Items of interest from Council’s ordinary meeting held on Wednesday 22 April 2020.


In response to the impacts on the Shire’s hospitality industry caused by COVID-19, Council will automatically extend food licences until the end of September this year.

Mareeba Shire Mayor Angela Toppin said Council acknowledges the impacts the restrictions are having on local business owners, their livelihoods and families.

“We will not be issuing food licence renewals and extend the current licences until Council can adequately consider the impacts of COVID-19,” she said.

“The full impacts the pandemic is having on our hospitality industry won’t be known for several months; however we are taking a proactive approach to do what we can do to reduce the financial impact during this stressful period.

“We are actively looking at ways we can help residents and local business through these challenging times,” Cr Toppin said.

Food licences due to expire on 30 June 2020 will be extended until 30 September. All new applications for food licences will be required to pay the fees adopted Council’s ordinary meeting 18 March 2020.



The Watsonville Rural Fire Brigade (WRFB) will have more room to expand its operations. Council voted today to approve the disposal of freehold land to the volunteer service to occupy.

“Council is effectively gifting an adjoining parcel of freehold land to the Watsonville Rural Fire Brigade,” Mareeba Shire Mayor Angela Toppin said.

The WRFB is eager to construct a new fire station building on the land to house firefighting appliances, equipment and vehicles that currently are being stored at the homes of members across the district.

“By having inadequate room to store vehicles and equipment makes it very difficult and challenging for the WRFB to mobilise during an emergency,” Mayor Toppin said.

The WRFB wrote to Council requesting assistance with the growth and planning efforts of the community service group, citing difficulties in positioning the intended fire station building on the current site.

With access to the adjoining property, the rural fire service will have adequate room to construct a fire station and mitigate restricted access.

“The land adjoining the current site occupied by the WRFB is not being used so it makes sense to allow the fire bridge to use it the for the expansion of its operations,” Cr Toppin said.

“The volunteer group does a wonderful service to our community, and we are more than pleased to be able to assist them to improve their capacity to provide essential services to the community.”



Council continues to support and promote art and culture across the Shire. The Regional Arts Development Fund strategy for 2020/21 was adopted by Council today.

The plan focusses on cultural tourism, public mural partnerships and youth engagement.

“RADF is a fantastic program that promotes the role and value of arts, culture and heritage in regional areas,” Mareeba Shire Mayor Angela Toppin said.

“The Strategy will include initiatives that develop and promote the community’s locally distinct arts, culture and heritage both for members of that community and visitors.

“Furthermore, we will be fostering partnerships with professional artists and private building owners to encourage public murals across the Shire,” Cr Toppin said.

The Strategy also includes the creation of a unique mural for the new Mareeba Library. The artwork will be inspired by historical library artefacts, images and documents depicting the impacts of social, economic and technological changes to the library.

“The artwork will be digitally printed onto wallpaper and applied to an internal wall of the new library, creating a vibrant, colourful and welcoming entryway,” Cr Toppin said.

Due to COVID-19, the RADF community grant round will open early next year.

The Regional Arts Development Fund is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Mareeba Shire Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.    



ANZAC AVENUE UPGRADE: The safety upgrade of the Anzac Avenue and Ceola Drive intersection at Mareeba is complete. The project scope includes earthworks, drainage and road widening to accommodate turning lanes on Anzac Avenue for traffic travelling to and from Ceola Drive. The existing sewer rising main was relocated to accommodate the road widening and the aged water main under this section of Anzac Avenue was replaced prior to commencement of roadworks. This project was funded and delivered by Mareeba Shire Council.

JOHN DOYLE BRIDGE UPGRADE: Preliminary works to upgrade the John Doyle Bridge on Mareeba’s Anzac Avenue have commenced. The bridge will remain open while Council installs a footbridge to enable safe access for pedestrians, cyclists and mobility scooters.

During the construction phase, the bridge will remain closed. Notice will be given prior to the bridge being closed and we will be communicating the changed traffic conditions and detours to the community over the next few weeks.

This project is jointly funded by the Australian Government’s Bridges Renewal Program, the Queensland Government’s Works for Queensland Program and Mareeba Shire Council.

CHILLAGOE HUB: The Chillagoe hub is a key community and tourist facility for the Chillagoe township housing the local post office, library, meeting rooms, QPWS offices and remote Centrelink Portal. Council recently gave the centre a fresh coat of paint and minor refurbishment. The scope of works to uplift the appearance of the building included a full exterior clean and repaint, repainting the interior of the post office and meeting rooms, and patch and paint within the library, museum and QPWS offices. This project was funded by the Queensland Government’s Works for Queensland Program (Round 3).

FOOTPATH RENEWALS: Council continues to renew hard surface footpaths to maintain safe pedestrian access on Council’s footpaths throughout the Shire as part of the Capital Works Program. The program has included asphalt, paver and exposed aggregate footpath repairs in Kuranda and the renewal of aging and deteriorated footpaths on Anzac Avenue. Footpath renewal generally involves demolition and removal of the existing path and replacement to the same width, using the same standard of material, or modern equivalent.

The concrete footpath on Anzac Avenue between Elisa Avenue and Tivoli Close was replaced. Damaged sections of this footpath between Tivoli Close and Ferretti Close were replaced and the high edges and trip hazards were ground down between Ferretti Close and Margherita Close.

COSTIN STREET WATER MAIN UPGRADE: Works are progressing well to replace the failed existing Costin Street water main to maintain ongoing water supply for properties in this part of Mareeba. This section of water main was identified for replacement following a number of main breaks in 2018 and 2019 which were caused by failure of the aging asbestos cement pipe work. Council is replacing the existing water main with PVC Supermain pipe work, in addition to new service connections, valving and hydrants. The project is expected to be completed by early May.