Burdekin Shire Council releases State Election priorities

Burdekin Shire Council is advocating for a list of priority projects for the region ahead of the State Government Election on November 25.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said with a focus on key community infrastructure and job creating projects, the list contained 13 priority initiatives for the Burdekin Shire which needed State Government support to progress.

“Council recognises the critical nature of these projects to our region and advocates for them on behalf of the community,” Cr McLaughlin said

“The need to expand Ayr’s industrial estate has become urgent. There has been increasing interest from businesses wanting to establish here and needing additional land however several constraints are present including a State imposed wetland overlay.

“Resolving this issue is critical to ensuring current and future demand for job-creating businesses can be catered for.

“Another urgent priority for our region is increasing safety at the Mount Inkerman/Bruce Highway intersection. Transport and Main Roads have also identified this location to upgrade in the future, however with increased numbers visiting this area, this upgrade is required urgently to mitigate the risk of a potentially severe accident.

“The Works for Queensland program, which allows for infrastructure projects and asset maintenance to be undertaken without submitting grant applications and awaiting successful submissions, has also been a vital initiative for our Shire. Council has received almost $3.3 million in funding since the program began, allowing many projects to go forward which Council’s budget would not otherwise be capable of incorporating.”

Cr McLaughlin said Stages 2-4 of the Nature Based Playground at Plantation Park, the duplication of the single lane boat ramp at Cromarty Creek and the extension of the Burdekin Be Active Trail were all examples of important community-based projects with the ability to make a big impact on the region.

“Council is also advocating to construct and operate, for a 12 month trial period, an algal bioremediation facility at the Ayr/Brandon Wastewater Treatment Plant. The project will be able to be duplicated at numerous similar sites in Queensland which discharge into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, at a significantly reduced cost to conventional upgrade options,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“In addition, Council is calling for an upgrade of the electrical infrastructure at Ayr Showgrounds; improved resources to deal with the issue of domestic violence locally; and the establishment of a Flexible Learning Centre in the district.

“Council is also throwing its support behind Burdekin Basketball’s request for State funding to undertake improvements to their facilities in Ayr and is advocating for a review of the current funding model for the delivery of community services in the Burdekin and for the duplication of the sewer rising main at Ayr.”

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

LIST OF PRIORITY PROJECTS FOR BURDEKIN SHIRE

1. The Works for Queensland Program – The Works for Queensland program initiative allows for infrastructure projects and asset maintenance to be undertaken without submitting grant applications and awaiting successful submissions. Grant applications do take a considerable amount of time by a number of Council Officers and this initiative not only saves time but also supports job creation. Without this funding Council’s budget would not be capable of incorporating these projects. The Works for Queensland program is a highly valuable initiative for regional Councils.

2. Industrial Land Development – There has been increasing interest from businesses wanting additional land and as Ayr’s existing Industrial Estate is close to capacity, the need for additional lots to be created has become urgent. Council owns sufficient ‘industrial zoned’ freehold land able to be serviced by appropriate infrastructure. However, several constraints are present including a State imposed ‘wetland’ overlay. This particular constraint severely restricts further expansion of the estate. Council is currently investigating strategies that will allow the estate to expand to ensure current and future demand is catered for. Until this issue is resolved, additional land for future industrial land uses is scare throughout the Burdekin Shire.

3. Use of Macro-Algae to Remediate Sewerage Effluent – $2 million – The project involves the cultivation of the freshwater macro-algae, Oedegonium Intermedium, to remediate nitrogen and phosphorous from the discharge effluent of the Ayr/Brandon Sewage Treatment Plant. These two nutrients represent a significant threat to the ongoing health of the Great Barrier Reef. Research conducted over a six week trial period by James Cook University (JCU) revealed the Oedogonium consistently reduced the inorganic nitrogen content of the wastewater from the Ayr/Brandon Wastewater Treatment Plant to trace levels and reduced total nitrogen by 84% and total phosphorous by 61%. The scope of works is to construct and operate, for a twelve month period, a 1.0 hectare algal bioremediation facility at the BSC Ayr/Brandon Wastewater Treatment Plant. The project will be able to be duplicated at numerous similar sites in Queensland discharging into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon at a significantly reduced cost to conventional upgrade options.

4. Upgrade of the Mt Inkerman Road/Bruce Highway Intersection – Mt Inkerman is used extensively by locals and tourists as a fitness/recreational area and a tourist location. There have been numerous community members identify the issue of safety at the turn off from the Bruce Highway to Mt Inkerman Road. Transport and Main Roads have also identified this location to upgrade in the future, however with increased numbers visiting Mt Inkerman, the highway upgrade is required urgently to mitigate the risk of a potentially severe accident.

5. Stages 2/3/4 of the Nature Based playground – Stage 1 of the Nature Based Playground in Plantation Park, Ayr has been funded by the Works for Queensland program. The proposed play space preliminary concept designs have been put forward for community consultation. There is a master plan for the development of Plantation Park, and the Nature Based Playground is a key feature in the plan. The current funding will allow for the development to begin, but due to funding constraints, completion of the project is delayed.

6. Double lane Boat Ramp at Cromarty Creek – This project will duplicate the existing single lane boat ramp at Cromarty Creek which provides access to the Haughton River system and Bowling Green Bay.

7. Extension of the Burdekin Be Active Trail – Grant applications have enabled the development of sections of the Burdekin Be Active Trail which is highly utilised by residents. Requests have already been received to extend the trail in certain areas. It is important to recognise that sport and recreational activities play an integral role in the health and wellbeing of the community and the Trail encourages residents to be active.

8. Duplication of Sewer Rising Main at Ayr – This project would duplicate the existing 3km sewer rising main which provides the disposal route for all wastes from the town of Ayr to the Ayr/Brandon Wastewater Treatment Plant.

9. Upgrade of electrical infrastructure at Ayr Showgrounds – The existing electrical infrastructure at the Ayr Showgrounds is based on old outdated infrastructure and presents a safety and maintenance problem both now and in the future. New underground electrical infrastructure will bring the standard up to modern day levels and provide a safer and more reliable supply for a well-used community facility.

10. Review of the current funding model for the delivery of community services in the Burdekin given the issues that are occurring with the local vs regional delivery of these services and the split of resources amongst a large number of service providers leading to a lack of coordination and duplication of administrative support services.

11. Burdekin Basketball Association – support their request for State funding to undertake improvements to their facilities in Ayr.

12. Domestic Violence – improved resources to deal with this issue locally based on issues raised by the local services that are dealing with the issue.

13. Burdekin Flexible Learning Centre – The Burdekin Shire Council on behalf of the wider Burdekin community would like to support the concept of establishing a Flexible Learning Centre (FLC) in the Burdekin district.  A public meeting was held on 12 June 2017 bringing together a large number of stakeholders including: Burdekin PCYC, local primary and secondary school leaders, local community groups, service providers, Department of Justice and Attorney-General, Government agencies and the Burdekin Shire Council.  The meeting had been convened following community concern on the rising level of disengagement from schools by children from a young age through to senior secondary school students.  The high level of representation demonstrates that there are many groups committed to establishing a FLC in the Burdekin.  At the public meeting a steering committee was established to further progress the initiative.  On 10 July 2017, the steering committee met and resolved to formally request that Youth Plus Foundation consider establishing a Youth Plus Flexible Learning Centre in the Burdekin district.

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