Temporarily discoloured water safe to drink

Burdekin Shire Council advises that following the testing of the South Ayr Water Treatment Facility bypass pipeline today, some residents may temporarily experience slightly discoloured water.

Director of Infrastructure, Planning and Environmental Services Nick Wellwood said despite the discolouration, the water remains safe to drink.

“Council wishes to reiterate that the water is safe to drink, however if residents do not wish to consume the so-called ‘dirty water’, they can flush the discoloured water from their pipes by running a tap for a period of time until the water becomes clear again,” he said.

“Council is currently flushing our water mains and we expect the water colour to return to normal shortly.”

Local agricultural history inspires two Home Hill murals

The Burdekin’s rich agricultural history has inspired a North Queensland artist with two new murals erected in Home Hill’s Eighth Avenue this week.

Scenes from the inaugural Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival now bring the side of the ML Partners building to life, whilst local produce being enjoyed by a backpacker at the beach brightens the façade of the building previously occupied by Ben’s Retravision.

Regional Arts Development Fund Advisory Group Chair Cr Uli Liessmann said Council engaged Townsville artist John Bradshaw – who also produced the Burdekin Snow mural at the Home Hill Comfort Stop last year – to create the eye-catching scenes.

“The Burdekin’s Art Trail has been rapidly expanding throughout the shire, with five murals erected in the Ayr and Home Hill CBD’s in the past eighteen months,” Cr Liessmann said.

“We’ve had lots of great feedback about John’s artwork at the Comfort Stop, so it’s really exciting to have him back creating two more amazing murals in our Shire.”

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the addition of new street art in the CBD helped enliven the area and made it more appealing for shoppers, workers and visitors.

“It’s hoped that these new, eye-catching murals will entice people into the CBD centres and hopefully they will stay to shop or dine at one of the local businesses,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Council is continuing to investigate the possibility of more artwork and would love to be able to expand the Burdekin Art Trail throughout the Shire.”

Cr McLaughlin thanked the Queensland Government for making the project possible through the Works for Queensland Program.

Works begin on Plantation Park’s Nature Based Play Space

Burdekin Shire Council has commenced construction on the state-of-the-art Nature Based Play Space in Ayr’s Plantation Park.

The works, which began on Monday 7 January, includes landscaping, additional pathway works and installation of all-abilities play equipment and solar lighting.

When completed, the play space will incorporate features such as:

  • water play area, including hand water pumps;
  • accessible fortress themed lookout;
  • sand play table;
  • climbing wall and net; and
  • all-abilities swings.

Individual elements will be linked by a network of accessible pathways and bridges.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the Nature Based Play Space would benefit the community for years to come.

“Council have really invested a lot of time in the community consultation and design phases to make sure this space is enjoyable for all residents and visitors,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“This includes ensuring that pathways and play equipment, such as the sand play table and water pump area, are wheelchair accessible. This will be a place where all children can have fun, be challenged and develop their fine motor skills through outdoor play.”

Cr McLaughlin said the project was in keeping with the natural bush setting at Plantation Park and would be unique for the region.

“This won’t be your standard playground. The play equipment is made from lots of natural materials, such as timber, smoothed stones and bamboo.

“Council intend that, weather permitting, families will be able to enjoy the Nature Based Play Space from June this year.”

Whilst construction is being undertaken there will be increased traffic movement within the internal roadways of the park.

The construction site has been fenced to allow work to be undertaken safely. Plantation Park will remain open for use to residents and visitors.

In 2018 Council received $1.5 million from the Queensland Government to assist with construction of the Nature Based Play Space. $200,000 was also allocated from the State Government’s 2017-19 Works for Queensland program towards the project.

Cr McLaughlin thanked the State Government for investing money in the project for the benefit of Burdekin residents and visitors from throughout the state.

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Penny update

Burdekin Shire Council continued to monitor the impacts of ex-Tropical Cyclone Penny overnight after receiving advice from Bureau of Meteorology on Thursday afternoon that minor flood levels were expected in the lower Burdekin River.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said “The Burdekin River at Inkerman Bridge peaked at 7.36 metres at about midnight last night. The river also peaked at Rita Island 100 millimetres below deck, with Groper Creek recording a water height of 450 millimetres below the top of the jetty.

“Council has been in regular contact with our area wardens in both Rita Island and Groper Creek, and I am pleased to say that no incidents have been reported.”

Minor localised flooding occurred on Wunjunga Road, which continues to be closed.

For updates on disaster information please visit http://disaster.burdekin.qld.gov.au/ and follow the Burdekin Shire Council Disaster Coordination Centre on Facebook.

Initial minor flood warning for the Burdekin River

Recent advice received from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) indicates that minor flood levels are expected in the lower Burdekin River Thursday evening.

The Burdekin River at Inkerman Bridge is expected to peak at 8am Friday morning.

Residents are advised to take precautions and refrain from driving through flooded waters.

For up to date flood warnings please visit http://www.bom.gov.au/qld/warnings.

For all Burdekin disaster information including emergency news and road conditions please visit http://disaster.burdekin.qld.gov.au/.

Self-service fuel facility installed at Ayr Aerodrome

Pilots of small and medium sized aircraft now have the convenience of 24-hour fueling at the Ayr Aerodrome following the installation of an on-site fuel facility.

A self-service fuel dispenser and payment unit allows users to top up their tanks with AVGas all year round.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said it’s all part of Council’s long-term plan to upgrade the aerodrome facility.

“After receiving feedback through the Ayr Aerodrome Advisory Committee, Council identified the need to upgrade electrical infrastructure and provide 24/7 fuel services at the aerodrome as the highest priorities,” she said.

With the electrical upgrades completed in September last year, Council was able to commence the tender process.

“We undertook quite a lengthy tender process to identify the best option in providing the fueling service, which included extensive market research and user surveys through Recreational Aviation Australia. We also carried out electrical works to prepare the site prior to installation.”

Cr McLaughlin said the fuel facility is not only a welcome asset for the aviation industry but will positively impact the local economy as well.

“The Ayr Aerodrome is ideally located to attract recreational and smaller commercial users from the region and across the State. Now that we can provide self-service fueling on-site 24/7, we expect to see an increase in aerodrome use,” she said.

The aviation fuel is provided by IOR Petroleum- a company who have already established similar facilities at other small aerodromes including Dalby and Monduran.

“Council looks forward to working with IOR Petroleum in organising an open day at the Ayr Aerodrome in the coming months.”

Cr McLaughlin thanked the State Government for contributing to the Ayr Aerodrome Fuel Facility project through their Works for Queensland program.

$20,000 for local art projects under Burdekin RADF Round One

A diverse range of arts and cultural projects will soon benefit from more than $20,000 in funding available through Round One of the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF).

RADF is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Burdekin Shire Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the funding would help get nine projects off the ground.

“We congratulate the successful applicants and look forward to their projects enhancing the Burdekin Shire community.”

The successful projects include:

  • Burdekin Patchwork & Quilters Guild Inc – quilting workshop with tutor.
  • Burdekin Potters Inc – to conduct carving in clay workshop with tutor.
  • Burdekin Singers & Theatre Co – towards cost of producing musical Wicked.
  • Burdekin Shire Youth Council – towards cost of conducting personal and skill development workshops by TheatreiNQ and towards conducting the 2018 Burdekin Fast Track Talent Showcase and Workshop.
  • Lower Burdekin Celtic Dancing Association – towards cost of conducting highland dancing workshop.

The pool of funding for the 2018-19 rounds is $43,000, with $30,000 of that contributed by Arts Queensland and a further $13,000 by Burdekin Shire Council.

Round Two will be advertised in April for projects to be undertaken between July and December 2019.

Tip it, store it, throw it, dry it: simple steps to manage mosquito populations

Residents are being encouraged to protect their families from mosquitoes this summer by tipping out, wiping out, throwing out or drying stored items that can hold water.

Burdekin Shire Council Senior Environmental Health Officer Preeti Prayaga said the combination of wet weather and hot temperatures create ideal breeding conditions for the insects, who have the capacity to transmit disease.

“More than 220 mosquito species are found in Queensland and a substantial number of these can carry human disease, such as Ross River Virus, Barmah Forest Virus and Dengue Fever. Consequently, it’s important for residents to remain vigilant in removing potential breeding sites,” Dr Prayaga said.

“Mosquitos can breed in salt, brackish or fresh water. After our recent heavy rainfall, we encourage the community to minimise potential breeding sites around their homes.”

Simple steps residents can take to protect themselves and their families from mosquitos include:

  • Empty stagnant water out of old tyres, buckets, plastic covers, toys, pet drinking bowls, bird baths, pot plant trays or any other container where larvae may live;
  • Drill holes in tyres used for swings and garden surrounds to allow water to drain;
  • Drain temporary pools and tree hollows or fill with dirt or sand;
  • Treat and circulate swimming pools;
  • Unclog rain gutters;
  • Avoid using water retaining plants in your garden. Where these are present, use a high-pressure spray to kill mosquito larvae;
  • Clear out any palm fronds and other vegetation from gardens;
  • Overturn or remove the drain plug in boats and dinghies;
  • Screen all openings to tanks, wells or other large water containers with wire gauze no coarser than 1mm mesh to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs;
  • Create a good buffer zone between your house and any surrounding thick vegetation to avoid breeding sites; and
  • Ensure your lawn is cut regularly.

Between December and April, very high tides will inundate low lying areas around the Burdekin coast.

This in combination with the heat will provide a perfect environment for salt marsh mosquitoes to lay their eggs and hatch quickly.

Salt marsh mosquitoes can fly up to 50km from their hatching site, are aggressive biters at both day and night and have the potential to carry disease passed to humans.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said Council’s Pest Management officers will be monitoring high tide events and will be conducting regular spray treatments in identified areas during and after high tides.

“Whilst our officers will be taking steps to manage mosquito populations, residents can help avoid mosquito bites by wearing loose fitting, light coloured long sleeves and long pants and by applying mosquito repellent,” Cr McLaughlin said.

Community Christmas Carols attract record crowds

Wet weather did not deter those in the festive spirit from attending the Community Christmas Carols last night, with record numbers attending the event.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said hundreds of residents flocked to the Burdekin Memorial Hall in Home Hill for an evening of local entertainment.

“It was wonderful to see so many community members come together and celebrate as one. People of all ages gathered, from the very young to the young at heart. It was lovely to see generations of families enjoying the carols,” she said.

Cr McLaughlin said Council had received lots of positive feedback regarding the choice of entertainment, especially headline act René Le Feuvre and emcee Reece D’Alessandro.

“René Le Feuvre was a crowd favourite, performing a mix of Christmas Carols and classic hits. Reece D’Alessandro did a brilliant job presenting the evening.

“Both René and Reece are two of the district’s favourite young sons. We appreciate they took time out of their schedules to return home during this busy time of the year.

“I’d also like to acknowledge the wonderful performances produced by countless locals. Last night, we had everything from musicians to gymnasts, local choirs and a dance school. These are the groups who really make any Community Christmas Carols come alive.”

The Burdekin Combined Chaplaincy Committee expressed their appreciation for the overwhelming generosity of the community, with the Chaplain’s Collection raising over $1,000.

Council continues to support school chaplaincy program with $30,000 donation

Burdekin Shire Council has contributed $30,000 to the Burdekin Combined Chaplaincy Committee in support of the school chaplaincy program.

School chaplains work with students, families and staff in the school community to discuss social, emotional, mental, physical and spiritual concerns.

The Burdekin Combined Chaplaincy currently provides four chaplains to work with students, parents, teachers and school staff at Ayr State School, Ayr State High School, East Ayr State School, Home Hill State School, Burdekin School and Home Hill State High School.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said school chaplains played a vital role in the community.

“On behalf of Council and the community, I thank the Burdekin Combined Chaplaincy for their presence and valuable work they do with the youth of the Burdekin,” she said.

“After speaking with some young people who have received support through this program, I can appreciate the influence of these dedicated chaplains and the change they inspire in students.

“The Burdekin is very fortunate to have such caring people who go over and above their school-based roles to assist young people deal with personal challenges.”

Burdekin Combined Chaplaincy chair Rhonda Williams said the funds would go toward the chaplains’ wages and school programs.

“We are so grateful to Burdekin Shire Council for this generous donation, which allows us to continue our level of support in the Burdekin,” she said.

“One of the activities we run as a direct result of this donation is the school holiday activity camp for kids (Shack) program in Home Hill during the June school holidays. This camp ran for four days and we had up to 50 kids per day this year, so it really was a successful program.

“With the help of this donation, we are able to sustain the high level of support we offer local youth, including our chaplain-run programs in local schools.”

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