Virtual tour reveals more of Nature Based Play Space

Burdekin Shire Council is preparing to open tenders for the construction of North Queensland’s first Nature Based Play Space at Plantation Park.

Councillors were led on a 3D virtual tour last week of the play space design, which draws on natural materials such as rocks, sand and trees in the place of commercial playground equipment, creating unique opportunities for play, exercise and socialisation.

Council has allocated $469,000 in its 2017/18 Budget to develop the first stage of the Nature Based Play Space thanks to the Queensland Government’s Works for Queensland program. Construction will be completed before Christmas.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the project was based on Melbourne’s award-winning Royal Park, but on a smaller scale.

The idea comes after Council called on residents to share their vision for future uses of Plantation Park in a survey last year.

Cr McLaughlin said many people suggested playground equipment be provided in the area.

“The nature-based concept for the site is in keeping with the natural bush setting at Plantation Park and will be unique for North Queensland,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“The benefits of children’s contact with nature are many, from connecting with the natural world around them to encouraging outdoor play and physical activity.

“Some of the highlights of Stage One include a timber climbing wall, sandy creek bed with fossil digs, swings, a rope balance bridge and net, a forked log climb and a seating circle with large rocks and timber plank seats. The design also incorporates accessible pathways and imaginative play opportunities.

“The hero of the development will be a proposed multi-level fortress with hiding nooks, rock and rope climbs and an elevated viewing area.

“There are elements of controlled risk and physical challenges for children built into the design, which are key to children’s physical and cognitive development as they grow and learn to navigate the world around them.”

An additional $165,000 will be spent on sealing roads and creating more car parks at Plantation Park in the area around the nature playground.

Burdekin Shire Council Operations Manager Wayne Saldumbide said stage one was aimed at constructing most of the hard infrastructure for the play space, while stage two would focus on artistic finishes, with the involvement of local artists.

“It’s not your stock-standard playground,” Mr Saldumbide said.

“We’ve tried to stay away as much as we could from shiny, plastic equipment. Shade is provided by a rustic roofed structure rather than bright, colourful shade sails.

“The feedback from the community reference group is that their vision for this project has been met very well.”

QantasLink calls for ‘My Town’ video competition entries

QantasLink Spirit magazine has launched a competition to find Australia’s favourite towns in a campaign to showcase the best of regional Australia.

The ‘My Town’ competition invites applicants to submit a short video highlighting why their town is the best place in Australia to visit.

Judges are looking for creative and original entries that showcase the places and the people that are the lifeblood of their nominated town and why it belongs on every traveller’s bucket list.

QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the carrier was proud to play a role in encouraging travellers to discover more of Australia.

“The My Town video competition is a great opportunity to put more of Australia’s less-travelled regional destinations on the map,” said Mr Gissing.

“We know many travellers make their plans based on the stories they read and the recommendations of others.

“By inspiring our massive inflight and online audiences from across the country and around the world to spend more time exploring our extensive regional network, we’re also continuing to drive tourism vital to the local economies of towns and regional areas.”

An expert panel will judge the competition with finalists’ videos featured across Qantas’ social channels, highlighting and promoting those towns to an audience of millions.

In addition, Spirit magazine will fly a production team to the winning town to film a professional video, showcasing what the town has to offer travellers. The video will be showcased on Qantas’ Travel Insider website and social channels, in Qantas lounges and available to view inflight.

The winning town, two runners-up and a People’s Choice winner will also be highlighted in a professionally photographed feature story in the November/December issue of Spirit magazine. To support tourism in the winning region, Spirit magazine will make the professional video and images available to the town for its own marketing purposes.

The maker of the winning video will also win 100,000 Qantas Points and three nights’ accommodation in Uluru for two people, staying at Ayers Rock Resort’s five-star Sails in the Desert hotel, including daily activities.

The competition closes on 2 September, 2017. For more information, please visit

2017 QBANK Everyday Heroes Awards – NOMINATIONS OPEN

Nominations for the 2017 QBANK Everyday Heroes Awards are now open.

The Awards honour and celebrate those Queenslanders who have made a difference in the community and those who serve and protect others.

This is your opportunity to honour and celebrate your everyday hero, for going above and beyond the call of duty and making Queensland a better and safer place to live.

There are six awards categories:

1.    Achievement

2.    Dedication

3.    Excellence

4.    Ownership

5.    Working Together

6.    Young Everyday Hero Award

Winners receive $1,000 plus an additional $1,000 for a charity of their choice.  The Young Everyday Heroes Award winner will receive a $500 bursary to assist with their training and development costs.

It only takes two minutes to nominate and shine a light on your everyday hero’s contribution to the Queensland community.

Nominations opened Monday, 17 July and close on Friday, 1 September 2017 and can be made online here

Queensland’s everyday heroes are busy doing what they do best. It’s up to you to tell their story.

Visit the QBANK website for more information.

Crews take pride in Burdekin parks and gardens

Winter is the most glorious time of year for the Burdekin’s public parks and gardens – so residents are being encouraged to get outdoors this July.

Burdekin Shire Council’s Parks and Gardens department has teams responsible for maintaining the many urban and regional gardens across the Shire.

Parks and Gardens leading hand Michael Clive heads up a team of three who look after Ayr’s urban gardens and roundabouts.

They oversee thousands of plants, more than 15 roundabouts and other streetscapes.

“For every garden there’s a lot of work that goes into maintaining them, weeding, mulching, fertilizing, keeping them hedged and looking nice,” Mr Clive said.

“It’s a great feeling when people come past and do say the gardens look very nice – both visitors and locals.

“People like to see the town with a bit of colour and greenery. This is the time of year to really see our gardens at their best.”

Council crews make the most of the Burdekin’s winter, when plant growth slows, by conducting mulching and extra maintenance activities in preparation for the summer.

“In summer everything grows quickly – the plants and the grass. We are flat out just keeping up with the growth and keeping everything neat and tidy,” Mr Clive said.

Across the Shire, Council provides a diverse range of parks and gardens.

Some have barbecue and picnic facilities and playgrounds, others include half basketball courts, skate parks and open areas where people can play other sports.

Parks and Gardens Coordinator Tano Buono said different areas had different needs, so Council utilised a wide range of plants, from low ground covers and small and medium exotics to turf and trees.

“On the roundabouts we tend to use low ground covers most of the time and slower growing, low maintenance varieties,” he said.

“Over the years we’ve had a variety of plantings in our parks. We look for trees and plants that give a good show of flowers.

“Our crews take pride and ownership in the areas they are assigned to maintain. They do get discouraged sometimes when gardens are needlessly vandalised, given the amount of work that goes into maintaining them.”

Council maintains parks, gardens, playgrounds and entry statements across the Shire including in Ayr, Home Hill, Giru, Brandon, Alva Beach and Clare.

Mr Buono encouraged residents and visitors alike to get out and about this winter to enjoy the Burdekin’s gardens at their best.

Cleanaway commences Burdekin kerbside bin collection

A new waste contractor has arrived in the Burdekin, complete with four new high-tech trucks that will be used for kerbside bin collection.

Waste management, recycling and industrial services company Cleanaway has been awarded an eight-year contract to deliver kerbside bin collection in the Burdekin and, from this week, residents will be able to spot the colourful trucks out and about on local roads.

Burdekin Shire Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said residents’ existing bins would be collected as usual.

“Council welcomes Cleanaway to the Shire and looks forward to working in partnership with them to provide kerbside bin collection to our community,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“I’m also delighted to announce that there will be no increase in charges on residents’ rates notices for waste collection in the 2017-18 financial year, as a result of the very competitive tender process for this service having been completed.”

Four brand new vehicles will be used to service the Burdekin.

Cleanaway Regional Manager of Solid Waste Services Chris Ashton said their Burdekin fleet comprised of two new general waste trucks, a recycling vehicle and a green waste vehicle.

“All are brand new and fitted with the latest technology to ensure maximum efficiency of service to the Burdekin community,” Mr Ashton said.

He said Cleanaway was excited to be expanding its operations to service the Burdekin Shire local government area.

“We take very seriously the responsibility that’s been afforded to us to maintain what is a very important service to the community,” he said.

“The awarding of the Burdekin contract allows Cleanaway to display its proud history and presents an opportunity to support Burdekin Shire Council towards maintaining and growing a sustainable future.

“The commencement of this contract will in no way affect the services residents currently receive.

“There is also no change to the majority of drivers in the team.”

In addition to providing a competitive contract for the provision of kerbside bin collection services in the Burdekin, Cleanaway has committed to supporting the local community by utilizing local content to maintain and fuel vehicles.

“We are committed to maintaining a positive, strategic partnership with Burdekin Shire Council for the life of the contract,” he said.

Clare transfer station to open

The Clare transfer station will be open on Saturday 15 July from 1pm to 5pm.

People can take the following waste.

  •          General waste
  •          Co-mingled recycling
  •          Scrap metal

The transfer station has opened intermittently over the last six months. The facility was being run by the Clare State School P & C who did not have the volunteer numbers to keep up the arrangement of opening the transfer station twice per month.

Burdekin Shire Council took over in June.

The Clare P & C still conduct DrumMuster collections by appointment. To make an appointment call the Clare State School on 4782 7133.

Partnership putting food on empty plates

The Burdekin Community Association has partnered with Coles Ayr and SecondBite to help provide nutritious food for those in need.

The Coles store and the Burdekin Community Association have committed to collecting food that is still edible but surplus to the store’s needs and would otherwise be going to landfill.

This program will provide those in need with access to nutritious food free of charge.

The program will be available from the Burdekin Community Association Support Centre 130 Queen St, Ayr, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30am until stock is gone each day.

Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017 – Amphibious landing rehearsals at Upstart Bay

The Department of Defence wishes to advise that between 6 and 11 July 2017, amphibious beach landing rehearsals will be conducted in Upstart Bay on Wunjunga Beach.

The beach landing rehearsals precede the main activities forming Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017 which will be conducted in the Shoalwater Bay area. The rehearsals will involve the use of amphibious landing craft during daylight hours and movement of vehicles and troops within the intertidal zone of an approximately 2000 metre section of the beach.

While Defence seeks to minimise disruptions to the general public there may be periods during which sections of the beach will have limited access as a result of the activity and the need to maintain a safe distance.

For further information on Talisman Sabre 2017 please refer to the Defence website

SES calls for new blood to bolster volunteer base

The Burdekin’s State Emergency Service (SES) is calling for new blood to bolster the ranks of its local volunteer base.

As the primary responder for storm, flood and cyclone events, the SES plays a vital role in the community – and it’s volunteers who make the service possible.

Local Area Controller SES Controller Robert Sutcliffe said as time went by many of their volunteers were finding age creeping up on them, but they were hoping to train up the new generation of young recruits to help carry the service into the future.

“I’ve been in the SES for just over 40 years and I’ve enjoyed every one of them,” he said.

“It’s going into a house after a storm event and putting a smile on the resident’s face and a bit of light in their day. It’s the relief on their face when they realise you’re there to help them, that’s what I like about it.”

Burdekin SES has several groups across the district such as Ayr and Home Hill, as well as Rita Island, Clare and Giru.

Mr Sutcliffe said the SES responded to floods, storms and cyclones and assisted with land searches, but the service also provided assistance to a range of community organisations and community events.

“It’s a lot more than just being there for people in cyclones,” he said.

“We man the gates at community events and assist with security.  We help not-for-profit organisations by combining a training activity in chainsaws with trimming trees on their land. The SES does quite a bit for the community.”

Volunteers receive regular training to be ready to respond when disaster strikes.

Mr Sutcliffe said Burdekin SES trains every Monday night to keep their skills current. “We make it as interesting as we can. We’re currently doing storm damage train and learning how to seal and protect homes from storms. We have five flood boats so we get out and do a bit of flood boat training.

“We need more volunteers including young people and people who aren’t afraid of heights.

“It’s a very rewarding service to get involved with.”

Residents interested in joining the SES are encouraged to attend the next weekly meeting of the Ayr SES Unit at 4 McCathie Street, Ayr, from 7pm Monday. Mr Sutcliffe said for young people wanting to get involved, the SES accepted 16 to 18 year olds provided they had written permission from parents or guardians.

For more information on the SES visit

For further information please visit Council’s website or contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800.

Queensland Regional Art Awards 2017 now open for entries

Emerging and established artists in regional and remote Queensland are invited to enter to win a share of over $25,000 in prizes in the Queensland Regional Art Awards 2017.

Queensland is rich with iconic structures, people, locations, events and lifestyles that shape the state’s identity. Artists this year are invited to explore the unique and iconic elements present in their own slices of Queensland.

Flying Arts Alliance Executive Officer, Kerryanne Farrer, says, “We are excited to see how artists interpret the theme this year. While some of the iconic features of regional and rural Queensland are well known, others are only clear when you’re a part of those tight-knit communities.”

There are a total of eight awards on offer this year, with cash prizes and residencies available totalling over $25,000. All entries that meet the criteria will be eligible for the Flying Arts ‘Art for Life’ Award of $10,000, be displayed in an online gallery for entry into the People’s Choice awards, and have the opportunity to be selected for a touring exhibition to visit Brisbane and regional centres in 2018.

Karen Stephens of Winton won last year’s top $10,000 prize with her artwork, Noogooraville. “To be the recipient of the generous Art for Life award and the recognition of my painting by people I respect reinforces that my voice as both a regional and remote artist is important no matter where I stand,” she says.

This year there is a brand new award category especially for artists located more than 300 kms from an urban centre. The Remote Artist Award offers a fully funded one week residency at McGregor Summer School (Jan 2018) valued at $2,500 thanks USQ Artworx.

The Queensland Regional Arts Awards is a hallmark event produced by Flying Arts Alliance – a highly regarded arts and cultural organisation that has made a significant contribution to Queensland’s cultural vibrancy with a vision of Art for Life.

For all entry information go to the Flying Arts website at, contact the Scheduled Program Lead on 3216 1322, or email:.

Entries close 5pm 17 July 2017.

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