More than $40,000 for environmental protection

The local environment has received a big boost in the 2019/20 Budget, with more than $40,000 budgeted for environmental protection initiatives.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said $25,000 had been allocated to develop a dune protection plan.

“Sand dunes are an integral part of our coastal environment, acting as the first line of defence against coastal storms and beach erosion. They are also the basis of many important ecosystems,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Council recognises the important role our beach dunes play and has allocated $25,000 to develop a dune protection plan to outline the necessary actions for dune restoration and stabilisation.”

Council will also undertake an innovative 26 week aquatic weed control pilot trial, allocating nearly $16,000 to the project.

“Due to our coastal proximity, any water that flows through our lagoon systems eventually makes its way to the Great Barrier Reef.

“Our Council is committed to protecting and conserving the reef by improving the health of local waterways, which is why we are conducting an innovative pilot trial to explore the potential benefits of biological controls.”

Cr McLaughlin said the trial would use naturally occurring microorganisms to control invasive weeds in a local lagoon.

“We anticipate that these microorganisms – which grow at a rate approximately 100 times faster than aquatic weeds – will reduce the amount of nutrients available to be taken up by weeds, resulting in reduced growth or dieback.

“This biological control offers many benefits compared to traditional chemical or mechanical control measures. It is a lower-cost, more sustainable approach, which will enhance the local ecosystem and reduce the amount of chemicals flowing to the ocean.

“A successful trial will provide an alternative nutrient management system for the long-term health of the Burdekin’s lagoon systems.”

Cr McLaughlin said the two projects were funded through the Environmental Levy.

Budget creates strong future for local arts and culture

Burdekin Shire Council is investing in a strong future for cultural development with more than $1.1 million allocated towards arts and culture projects in the 2019/20 Budget.

Among the highlights in this year’s Budget is the development of a Burdekin Arts and Cultural Strategy.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the key strategic document would guide future planning and investment priorities.

“Arts and culture play an important role in our Shire. Not only do they make for a richer and more vibrant community, they also contribute to our economy by attracting visitors to local festivals, theatre performances and events,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“This strategy will not only enhance the ability of local arts groups to apply for state and federal grants, it will also provide Council with a strong direction for the future growth of arts throughout the Burdekin Shire.”

Council will also invest in maintaining and upgrading the Shire’s cultural venues.

“The Burdekin Theatre and Burdekin Memorial Hall are the cultural centres of our Shire, attracting more than 33,000 attendees each year.

“Council has allocated $48,000 in funding to replace the lighting consoles at each venue which will enhance the venues’ offerings and improve patron experiences.

“The upgrade will complement the recent sound system upgrade at the Burdekin Theatre which elevated the venue’s sound quality to rival any other in the country.”

“A further $50,000 has been budgeted to upgrade the LED lighting in the Burdekin Memorial Hall which will enable our Cultural Venues staff to continue providing the highest possible quality of performances.”

Other cultural and community venues upgrades include $900,000 to undertake planning and subsequently commence the refurbishment and upgrade of the Burdekin Theatre across two years, $55,000 to upgrade the public toilets at the Burdekin Library, and a further $240,000 to complete Phase 2 of the Ayr Showgrounds electrical upgrade.

Burdekin Library visitors will also benefit from the replacement of the library management computer system, roof, carpet and air-conditioning.

Council splashes out for Ayr and Home Hill swimming pool upgrades

Residents with disabilities will have improved access to the Ayr and Home Hill swimming pools with Burdekin Shire Council budgeting $90,000 to construct additional bathroom amenities at the two public facilities.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the new unisex amenities – which will include an all-abilities accessible shower, toilet and hand basin, as well as a baby change table – will help make the swimming pools a more inclusive place.

“The current Ayr and Home Hill swimming pool bathroom amenities were built back in the late 1950s. Whilst adequate for their time, Council has identified the need to improve the bathroom facilities in order to open up the swimming pools to a greater part of the community,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Swimming is a great way of staying fit, particularly for people with health issues that cannot take part in weight bearing activities.

“By providing these facilities, it’s hoped that people who previously could only stay for a short period of time can now extend their visit and increase their physical activity as well. This includes not only people with a disability, but also their family and carers, as well as parents with children of the opposite sex.”

Cr McLaughlin said the new additions would complement Council’s previous efforts to make the swimming pools more inclusive, including the recent installation of modern mobility chair lifts at each facility to improve access in to and out of the pools.

The funding allocation comes after Council was successful in receiving $48,000 under the Federal Government’s Community Sports Infrastructure Program to assist with construction costs.

Meanwhile, Council has budgeted a further $15,000 to undertake a preliminary design and investigate the cost to change the length of the Home Hill pool from the existing 55 yards to the Olympic sized 50 metres.

Cr McLaughlin said the potential change would make a splash with local competitive swimmers.

“Changing the pool length to the standardised 50 metres in the future would not only enable swimmers to train in a standardised swimming pool, it would also ensure times from local carnivals are recognised outside our region.”

Budget invests $9 million in roads to keep Shire moving

Burdekin Shire Council’s 2019/20 Budget will invest $9 million in 2019/20 to maintain and upgrade critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, footpaths, aerodrome and drainage to ensure residents and visitors have safer and smoother journeys.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said about a third of the $19.9 million capital works spend in the 2019/20 Budget would be allocated to transport and drainage infrastructure roads across the Shire, including $5.2 million for roads, $180,000 for drainage and $1.3 million for pathways.

“Council knows that the condition of our urban and rural roads, footpaths and drainage is really important to our community,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Investing in these projects will ensure our Shire has the essential infrastructure needed to grow and keep moving forward.”

Cr McLaughlin said the expansion of the Shire’s pathways was a key feature of this year’s budget.

“Council is investing in a healthier future for the community with $450,000 funding allocated to the extension of the Be-Active Trail in Ayr.

“The trail will be extended along Clayton and Ross Streets from Cox Street to McIntyre Place.  A further $30,000 has been allocated to the planning and design of the Home Hill Be-Active Trail stage 1.

“We will also improve access to one of our Shire’s most popular sites – the Mount Inkerman lookout – with $100,000 budgeted to extend the nature trail at Mount Inkerman.”

More than $2.7 million will also be spent on rural road upgrades.

“Safety will be improved in Airville with the construction of a $1.3 million roundabout at the intersection of Fiveways and Ivory Road. This project will mean motorists travelling on this important connector road will get where they need to go safely.

“We have also budgeted $100,000 for part of the cost of sealing Jerona Road from the SS Star of Hope Avenue to the boat ramp car park, $600,000 on widening Brown Road between Ayr Dalbeg Road and Pelican Road and $150,000 to replace the floodway on Kilrie Road”

Other highlights include $800,000 for the rehabilitation of Shire bridges and $1 million on a Shire-wide bitumen reseal program.

$415,000 to revitalise Burdekin Shire parks

An outdoor fitness circuit in Home Hill, improved public toilets at Groper Creek and the design of Ayr’s Anzac Park Precinct are among the highlights of Burdekin Shire Council’s parks projects in this year’s Budget.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said $415,000 had been earmarked to revitalise parks and playgrounds throughout the Shire.

“Managing our parks, gardens and playgrounds is one of Council’s core duties, with 46 hectares of parks and reserves being maintained by Council employees” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Council recognises that maintaining and upgrading our open spaces is a key part of ensuring our Shire continues to be a great place to live.”

The Budget includes $160,000 to implement the first wave of priorities identified in the Anzac Park Master Plan.

Cr McLaughlin said the strategic document, which is currently under development, will guide future planning for the 17.5 hectare area.

“We have an active community here in the Burdekin, with more than 80 sporting and recreational clubs Shire-wide.”

“Last year, Council identified the need for a dedicated sport and recreation precinct plan that would bring together and link the existing sporting and recreational facilities in the Anzac Park vicinity.

“This key strategic document is nearing completion and will soon be released for community consultation, allowing locals to have their say on the future of sport and recreation in Ayr.

“Once the Master Plan is finalised, Council will be in a position to design and commence implementing the short-term priorities, which will enhance the area for years to come.”

In addition to the Anzac Park Precinct, Cr McLaughlin said parks from across the Shire were set to benefit under the 2019/20 Budget, with Council allocating $220,000 of Queensland Government Works for Queensland Funding towards upgrades and new installations.

“Projects receiving funding include the installation of a new picnic shelter and barbeque in Lloyd Mann Park, an outdoor fitness circuit in Home Hill and the update of the Groper Creek public amenities.

“The original play equipment in Coutts Park will also be replaced. This complements recent upgrades in the park including the installation of the Double Mega Tower play equipment and outdoor fitness circuit.

An additional $35,000 has been allocated to replace the seating in the Plantation Park Bush Chapel.

Budget invests in future of wastewater networks

Nearly $2 million will be invested in wastewater infrastructure as part of the $19.9 million capital works program for 2019/20.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said two sewage pump station switchboards in the Ayr network will be replaced, with $110,000 allocated to complete the project.

“The upgrades will complement the recently completed upgrade of 28 other switchboards across the Ayr, Brandon and Home Hill Sewerage Networks in providing more reliability in the transport of wastewater through the network,” Cr McLaughlin said.

A further half a million dollars has been budgeted for the sewer relining and manhole rehabilitation program.

“This project will not only extend the life of the existing pipes; it will also prevent inflow and infiltration from entering the sewerage network through defects in pipelines and manholes.

“By preventing inflow and infiltration we will reduce the pressure on the water treatment plants, placing Council in a position to support a growth in population or industry without having to increase treatment plant capacity.

“Using no-dig technology during the project, work crews are able to access the sewer main from a nearby manhole and renew them from within with minimal interruption to service, which is a benefit for nearby residents.”

In addition, Cr McLaughlin said $80,000 has been allocated for the second year of a sewage pump replacement program.

“This program will upgrade pump capacity and improve reliability and resilience in the sewer network.

“The program will be undertaken in conjunction with the $450,000 sewage pump station rising main upgrade program, which will increase the overall capacity of the sewerage network and help prevent overflows in wet weather.”

$2.9 million Budget boost for Burdekin Shire water infrastructure

Burdekin Shire Council is helping secure the future of water supply of Home Hill with funding allocated in the 2019/20 Budget for the construction of a five megalitre storage reservoir.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the $3.3 million project, which will be constructed over two years near the existing Home Hill Water Tower, will deliver a twelve-fold increase in water storage capacity and improve the resilience of the local community.

“As our Shire is located in a disaster-prone area, Council is continuously looking at ways to improve our capacity to endure and recover from natural disasters,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“This five megalitre storage reservoir will increase our off-line water supply capacity from four hours to more than 40 hours, enabling us to ensure continuity of supply through and following disasters or other unplanned events.”

Council received nearly $2 million from the Queensland Government through the 2019-21 Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program.

Water security in Home Hill will further benefit from the 2019/20 Budget, with Council allocating $150,000 funding for Stage 2 of the Production Bore Pump Replacement Program.

Five pumps at the Home Hill Water Tower borefield site will be upgraded to submersible pumps in the first year of the ongoing program.

“In addition to being more resilient than the current end-of-life pumps, the new pumps will also generate less noise which is a win for nearby residents.”

Council will also begin the transition to smart water meters in the 2019/20 financial year, allocating $200,000 towards the first year of the ongoing program.

Cr McLaughlin said the new technology meters had many benefits over traditional water meters.

“Not only do these water meters have fewer moving parts which will increase reliability, they can also be read remotely which will allow a quicker response by Council officers and enable residents to have a greater ability to monitor their own water use.”

 

Have your say on Burdekin coastal hazard adaption strategy

Burdekin Shire Council is encouraging residents to have their input on a key document which will identify risks and develop management options to battle the impacts of climate change.

The Coastal Hazard Adaption Strategy (CHAS), which is being known locally as the Our Coast – Our Lifestyle program, will identify a range of short and long-term actions to avoid, mitigate and manage the impacts of coastal hazards such as cyclones, erosion or inundation due to sea-level rise.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the strategy was an important one for the district.

“It’s no secret that Burdekin Shire residents love our waterways and coastline. Our Shire boasts many coastal townships and has one of the highest boats-per-capita rates in Australia,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“However, like all coasts, the Burdekin Shire is vulnerable to coastal hazards.

“The Our Coast – Our Lifestyle program and the associated strategy will focus on seeking to better understand and document our communities’ coastal values and the current and future coastal risks.

Cr McLaughlin said residents were encouraged to have their say on the strategy by speaking with Council’s project team at upcoming events.

“Our current focus is on listening to the community, understanding key issues, gaining local knowledge on key values and the history of the coastline, and considering innovative management approaches.

“Our project team will be out and about over the coming weeks, eager to speak with residents and hear their input. We will also have a wave simulation tank available, which will show how waves work and how structures such as mangroves and sand dunes can impact on coastal hazards.”

Community consultations

  • Burdekin Theatre Foyer – Tuesday 25 June, 10am – 1pm
  • Burdekin Show – Wednesday 26 June
  • Home Hill IGA – Thursday 27 June, 10am – 12pm

Interested residents can complete the community values survey at https://burdekincoast.engagementhub.com.au/, as well as register to receive regular progress updates and notifications of public events.

The strategy is expected to take approximately 12 months to develop.

The Our Coast – Our Lifestyle program is jointly funded by the Queensland Government and Local Government Association of Queensland through the QCoast2100 Program.

Blokes encouraged to beat the blues by having a Sunday Sesh with Symo

Local blokes are in for a treat when Burdekin Shire Council hosts its inaugural Men’s Health and Wellness event, Sunday Sesh with Symo, on Sunday 23 June.

Former Australian cricketer and loveable larrikin Andrew ‘Roy’ Symonds has been revealed as the special guest for the Men’s Health Week (10 – 16 June) event, which aims to shine a spotlight on mental health and general well-being.

The event will also include a Q & A session with local inspiring men including CORES Queensland Coordinator Ross Romeo and former local Wade Eathorne, followed by State of Origin 2 on the big screen.

The event comes after the overwhelming success of past Women’s Week events including the Be the Best You motivational evening with Michelle Bridges.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said attending the event was one simple way men could look out for their own wellbeing in a relaxed social environment.

“Burdekin men are renowned for being tough, but unfortunately many men do not feel comfortable talking about how they’re feeling or what they’re going through,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Statistically, one in eight men will experience depression and one in five will experience anxiety at some stage in their lives – with rural and regional men more likely to be affected than their urban counterparts.

“It’s important, particularly during Men’s Health Week, to reduce the stigma surrounding male mental health and well-being and to make sure we check in on our mates. Sunday Sesh with Symo is a great opportunity for men to listen to inspirational men and share stories with friends over food and footy.”

The event kicks off from 5pm at the Kalamia Hotel function room. Tickets are $25 per person and include finger food and a free drink on arrival.

Tickets are on sale now from the Burdekin Theatre Box Office, Council’s Customer Service Centre or online www.burdekintheatre.com.au.

Pet Fair a purr-fect day out for families

Calling all furry, scaled and feathered friends – Burdekin Shire Council’s Pet Fair is here!

Bring your human to Kennedy Street dog park, Ayr on Sunday 16 June from 9am to 12pm for a fun day out for the whole family, including creatures big and small.

There will be plenty of fun competitions including the Best Trick, Most Unusual Pet, Best Dressed Pet, and Large and Small Animal Agility competitions.

Hands on wildlife demonstrations, pet photography and a kids’ jumping castle are also part of the fun.

There will be Dawgy Eats available for the pooches, whilst the Dal Santo’s Coffee Van will be available for humans.

And for those who feel their heart and home can fit one more family member, Burdekin Pet Rescue will have cats and dogs available for adoption.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the much-loved free event, which was formerly called the Pet Day Out, was a fantastic opportunity for pet owners to bring their furry friends to mingle with like-minded animal lovers.

“The Pet Fair is a terrific way to promote responsible pet ownership and to celebrate our love for animals and pets within the community,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“As a reward for responsible pet ownership, we will again be offering $15 discounted microchipping for all currently registered cats and dogs.

“We will also be hosting a Registered for Life draw, where one lucky registered pet owner will receive free animal registration for the remainder of the pet’s life.

“Entry is free and all pets are welcome – no matter how big or small.”

Please note all dogs must be on a leash at all times.

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