(L to R) Whitsunday Regional Council Division 6 councillor Mike Brunker, Division 5 councillor Gary Simpson, Division 2 councillor Al Grundy, Mayor Andrew Willcox, deputy mayor and Division 3 councillor John Collins, Division 1 councillor Jan Clifford and Division 4 councillor Michelle Wright. Picture: Jordan Gilliland
(L to R) Whitsunday Regional Council Division 6 councillor Mike Brunker, Division 5 councillor Gary Simpson, Division 2 councillor Al Grundy, Mayor Andrew Willcox, deputy mayor and Division 3 councillor John Collins, Division 1 councillor Jan Clifford and Division 4 councillor Michelle Wright. Picture: Jordan Gilliland

16 things you missed at last week’s council meeting

HERE are 16 things you may have missed at the Whitsunday Regional Council's latest meeting.

To follow all council news, make sure you follow the Whitsunday Regional Council webtag at the bottom of this article.

Collinsville Horse and Pony Club

The council voted to enter into a lease with the Collinsville Horse and Pony Club and the Collinsville Rodeo Association over the land at 8491 Bowen Developmental Road.

Two separate lease agreements will be made for the clubs.

Division 5 councillor Mike Brunker agreed to the lease but said no stock should be kept on the premises before and after events.

The ten-year lease was questioned, however mayor Andrew Willcox said it was necessary so the clubs could apply for grants.

SES Airlie Beach

The council voted to support a submission for funding that will allow an extension to the Airlie Beach SES shed.

Funding is available under the Queensland Government's SES Support Grant to assist councils across the state with providing accommodation and vehicles for their local SES units.

The council will submit a proposal to construct an extension for the Airlie Beach/Cannonvale SES storage shed.

If the grant is successful, the council will make a co-contribution of $12,500 from the 2021-22 Capital Works budget.

The council will explore speed limit reductions in Airlie Beach. Picture: File
The council will explore speed limit reductions in Airlie Beach. Picture: File

Airlie Beach traffic

The council agreed to apply for funding under the Queensland Government's Vulnerable Road User Program, which was launched to help make informed decisions on and implement lower speed limits in areas of high pedestrian and cyclist activity.

The council will request $50,000 from the program to review and propose solutions to traffic in Airlie Beach.

The funding would be used to review the suitability of speed limit reductions as well as the impacts of a shared zone.

Mount Coolon accommodation

After several month of back and forth, councillors approved an application for a 192-bed workers camp in Mt Coolon.

The development was earmarked for six lots on Barclay and Mill St, next to the Mount Coolon Hotel, with 48 demountable buildings, each with four rooms and ensuites.

It was put on hold after councillors argued problems with dust from large vehicles, parking issues and telecommunications demands from the camp would negatively impact residents.

Division 6 councillor Michelle Wright raised concerns about when construction would begin on the new facility.

Council's development services director Neil McGaffin said the conditions approved as part of the application came into play as soon as the council approved the development.

The accommodation includes 48 demountable buildings set up across six lots on Barclay and Mill St, next to the Mount Coolon hotel. Picture: Supplied
The accommodation includes 48 demountable buildings set up across six lots on Barclay and Mill St, next to the Mount Coolon hotel. Picture: Supplied

Collinsville apartments

Councillors gave an eight-year-old approval for a block of units in Collinsville a second chance with hopes it would help boost the town.

An application for the staged development of 18 units in Collinsville that was originally lodged in 2012 was discussed.

The company behind the development, Crusader Investments, lodged a request to extend the currency period of the application.

There was a recommendation to deny the extension with officers saying it did not meet the council's policy.

However, Division 4 councillor Michelle Wright moved a motion to extend the application by two years, saying she believed the developers would begin the project soon.

Mayor Andrew Willcox also threw his support behind the extension, saying the council should grasp the opportunity for developments in Collinsville.

Councillors voted unanimously to approve the extension.

The units could house mine workers, which Division 6 councillor Michelle Wright hoped would breathe more life into Collinsville. Picture: Supplied
The units could house mine workers, which Division 6 councillor Michelle Wright hoped would breathe more life into Collinsville. Picture: Supplied

Water reservoir

In October, the council resolved to open public consultation for the removal of a water reservoir in Bowen from the schedule of works.

The 12 megalitre reservoir, known as the W8 reservoir, was set to be built south of Bowen as part of the council's 2018 Local Government Infrastructure Plan.

However, upgrades to existing infrastructure and the Bowen Recycled Water Network project prompted recommendations from council officers to ditch the plans.

During the meeting, Division 5 councillor Mike Brunker said he was concerned that there had not been enough research into the future growth of Bowen with projects such as the space station on the cards.

"I'm just a bit hesitant to start knocking future reservoirs on the head, particularly if we have the ability to bring Mount Nutt and Rose Bay back into water," he said.

Whitsunday Regional Council development services director Neil McGaffin was confident the reservoir would not be needed.

Six councillors voted to remove plans for the reservoir from the schedule of works while Cr Brunker voted against it.

The Shute Harbour marine terminal. Picture: Supplied
The Shute Harbour marine terminal. Picture: Supplied

Shute Harbour

Frustrations erupted over the new Shute Harbour marine facility as a "minor" change to the size and layout of the building was discussed.

Whitsunday Regional Council development services director Neil McGaffin said the council officers in charge of the project were seeking new approvals to change the size of some buildings in the precinct.

If the changes were minor and met the council standards, they could be easily approved.

However, if the changes were deemed larger they would be put to the public for consultation, which could delay the project by about three weeks.

A back and forth over what documents were needed to move forward with the approval ensued before Division 6 Councillor Mike Brunker demanded action.

"Lord give me strength," he said.

"This is a $50 million building that we can't get right ourselves."

The change has now been approved and does not need to go back to the public.

The Frog Rock coastal reserve has been worn away by increased access and weather events. Picture: Supplied
The Frog Rock coastal reserve has been worn away by increased access and weather events. Picture: Supplied

Infrastructure charges

The council unanimously agreed on an increase in infrastructure charges.

Costs will rise by 3.12 per cent in 2020-21, which means it will cost about $630 more to build a one or two-bedroom house or about $880 more for a house with three or more bedrooms.

Mayor Andrew Willcox questioned whether the changes were "really necessary" when they were brought before the council at the ordinary meeting last week.

Whitsunday Regional Council development services director Neil McGaffin said the increases were based on the charges provided by the state.

Division 2 councillor Al Grundy also questioned the increase after what had been a difficult year for the local economy.

However, his concerns were quelled when Division 1 councillor Jan Clifford raised that the last increase had been about four years ago.

Frog Rock

Councillors discussed a management plan to help maintain the Frog Rock coastal reserve.

The plan includes several guidelines to help protect the area, including restricting 4WD access to the beach, providing carparking spaces and rehabilitating areas that have been damaged.

Bollard fencing and boulders would be used to block access to cars and about 1200 sqm of land would be revegetated.

The project would total between $100,000 and $200,000 and is set to be placed on public display for 30 days before being brought back to the council.

The council will then review the plan with recommendations from officers before any work begins.

The proposed walking track would connect Dingo Beach and Hydeaway Bay.
The proposed walking track would connect Dingo Beach and Hydeaway Bay.

Walking track and sporting field

The council voted to chase funding on a walking track at Dingo Beach and a sporting field at Cape Gloucester after community consultation showed support for both projects.

The 1.4km dirt track would allow residents to walk, run and cycle between Hydeaway Bay and Dingo Beach.

The sporting field will give residents a place to run around at Gloucester Sports and Recreation Association Centre.

Cantamessa Bridge

Councillors discussed issues with Cantamessa Bridge near Hamilton Plains, which according to a council report is several decades old and was closed in 2017 after damage from Cyclone Debbie.

In August 2018, the Department of Transport and Main Roads carried out an inspection and classed the bridge as "very poor" and "dangerous" for use.

There was a recommendation before the council to remove the bridge and permanently close Cantamessa Rd.

However, the bridge is used by several cane farmers,

Division 5 councillor Gary Simpson suggested applying for grants from other government bodies.

However, council's director of infrastructure services Matt Fanning said if the council committed to replacing the bridge, it would also have to commit to ensuring no one uses the bridge in the meantime.

The council resolved to table the issue so it could explore grant opportunities.

Council officers have recommended a disabled car park is built near Mire 10 in Bowen. Picture: Supplied
Council officers have recommended a disabled car park is built near Mire 10 in Bowen. Picture: Supplied

Disabled car park

Whitsunday Regional Council officers have received several requests from the Bowen Medical Centre since 2016 to consider upgrading the footpath and parking bays of Powell St and to install a disabled parking bay.

There was a recommendation that the council establish a new disabled parking bay on Gregory St, adjacent the Mitre 10 Building.

The works, which would cost about $2000, would be funded from the current operations budget.

However, Division 5 councillor Mike Brunker questioned why the medical centre would not install the disabled facility in its own car park.

"It should be a responsibility of their practice to put it in for the health of their patients," he said.

Council's director of infrastructure services Matt Fanning said they had declined the suggestion from the council despite the fact the council would pay for it.

The council resolved to approach the medical centre in a bid to get it to place the park in its facility.

The Shute Harbour marine terminal. Picture: Supplied
The Shute Harbour marine terminal. Picture: Supplied

Proserpine Dam phone tower

Council's deputy director of infrastructure Adam Hagy said progress on a telephone reception booster at Peter Faust Dam was still on the cards.

Mr Hagy said negotiations were under way between SunWater and Telstra to finalise the structure.

Expressions of interest

The companies vying for a slice of the new Shute Harbour terminal were revealed.

Whitsunday Regional Council officers short-listed applicants who submitted expressions of interest for different aspects of the facility.

Companies on the list will now be invited to submit written tenders for the project before a final decision is made.

 

Mayor Andrew Willcox will organise a meeting over the boat ramp at Shute Harbour. Picture: Jordan Gilliland
Mayor Andrew Willcox will organise a meeting over the boat ramp at Shute Harbour. Picture: Jordan Gilliland

Grubby Bay boat ramp

The council discussed a push to change plans floated for a boat ramp at Shute Harbour after a government proposal was deemed "completely unsatisfactory".

Mayor Andrew Willcox said the Department of Transport and Main Roads had outlined plans for upgrades to the fixed boat ramp at Shute Harbour.

He was concerned the designs put forward by TMR were not the most suitable option for the region, saying a fixed structure would pose problems for boaties.

Cr Willcox has requested to meet with Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey to come to a solution.

Bowen market toilets

Division 5 councillor Mike Brunker raised an issue with the cleanliness of the toilets at Hansen Park.

"On the weekends it's probably our most important toilets, particularly on market day, and that's when it becomes the filthiest," he said.

He suggested appointing one employee to clean the toilets on the weekend.

Council's deputy director of infrastructure Adam Hagy said he would look into the issue.


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