Mayor Andrew Willcox with Proserpine Chamber of Commerce Secretary Karen Vloedmans and President Bob Bogie at the March Meeting; on Wednesday night.
Mayor Andrew Willcox with Proserpine Chamber of Commerce Secretary Karen Vloedmans and President Bob Bogie at the March Meeting; on Wednesday night.

Putting Proserpine on the map a priority for council

BIG projects and big investment is headed for Proserpine with million dollar projects the focus of this month's Chamber Of Commerce meeting.

Mayor Andrew Willcox headed the monthly pow wow, attended by 50 people, at the Metropole Hotel on Wednesday, March 14 and Deputy Mayor John Collins was in attendance to talk about the exciting projects.

Proserpine is set to get a massive cash investment injection with numerous projects planned to benefit the prosperity of the region.

Cr Willcox shared his vision in applying a strategic approach to bring unity, innovation, diversification and economic growth to the region.

"Halfway through our term I am confident this council is well on track to creating a thriving economy, for the whole Whitsunday region,” Cr Willcox said.

The $22million restoration of Shute Harbour will start in the next few weeks and the $6.5million Airlie Beach Foreshore project is due to start later this month.

Council's adopted Proserpine Sustainability and Future Growth Master Plan, outlined in November 2017, was credited with the focused approach council has been able to sustain.

"The Master Plan outlines a blueprint for the sustainable growth and development of Proserpine, and was prepared after extensive community consultation,” Cr Willcox said.

"There is a big difference between an idea and a fully scoped and costed project.”

Works will also start on the $1.7million Proserpine Water Park, a big project from the Master Plan.

Improved parks, tourist facilities, an RV park, Visitor Information Centre and beautification of the Proserpine Main Street; are all projects within the plan.

"My vision is to create a community precinct for Proserpine with the caravan park, golf course, tennis club, bowls club and swimming facility all nearby,” Cr Willcox said.

Progressive updates scheduled for the caravan park, free entry to the pool and a new water park are all aspects that Cr Willcox believed would attract holiday makers.

Another key area for growth in the Master Plan, to be done in collaboration with SunWater, is activating Lake Proserpine, with more recreation opportunities.

After 12 months of negotiations with SunWater Cr Willcox said an agreement would be reached by the end of this financial year.

In the wake of Cyclone Debbie the region was able to secure $7million from the State Tourism Recovery Fund, with $1million allocated to Lake Proserpine developments.

Cr Willcox remained tight-lipped about the plans for the lake, but assured locals that there would be an announcement coming very soon from the State Government.

His vision for the lake includes establishing lakeside camping, improving the area for day visitors and creating more options for fishing, and other adventure activities.

Council showed its commitment to restoring and upgrading the main street of Proserpine and "is considering a policy for a facades grant scheme, to a total value of $50,000 a year, whereby businesses will be able to apply for 50:50 funding for non-structural facades to restore the historical aspects of their shop fronts”.

Proserpine will also be in line for park upgrades from Queensland Government Works for Queensland funding, with work starting soon on the rebuild of the Proserpine Council Administration Centre.

Council has applied for Federal Government funding through the Building Better Regions Infrastructure program to construct a Whitsunday Community Resilience and Innovation Hub in Proserpine.

Council has committed $1.5million towards the $5million project.

"We see Proserpine as a major business centre within the Whitsundays,” Cr Willcox said.

"If funding is granted this facility will also incorporate a Climate Change Innovation Hub.”

Proserpine Entertainment Centre will receive a $316,000 audio and lighting upgrade in addition to the $200,000 already allocated to the project.

Cr Willcox said Council had deliberately split disaster recovery procurements into tenders that local businesses could compete for, to keep as much work as possible within the region.

During the 2016/2017 financial year, Whitsunday Regional Council awarded major contracts to local suppliers 94% of the time, at a total value of $20.2million.

Proserpine business received $7.8million, $6.9million for businesses in Cannonvale, $3.7million for businesses in Bowen, and $1.8million for businesses in Collinsville.

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