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Somerset Mayor Reflects on Successful 2017

As another year draws to a close, it is a good time to reflect on all that was achieved in 2017.

It has been another productive year in local government with Somerset Regional Council being very successful in several of its grant applications throughout 2017.  The most notable was the awarding of $1.45 million from the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) program to complete the historic Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. This funding is in addition to money made available from the State Government through the Department of Transport and Main Roads of $1.8 million which too will be used to complete works on the rail trail. Works are scheduled for completion by 30 June 2018. Once complete, the rail trail will be Australia’s longest at 160km with 80% located within Somerset Regional Council’s boundary. There are a lot of business opportunities that could be developed in Somerset to enhance the offerings in the region and support tourism. I would encourage residents to talk to Council’s planning and development team to find out more. The tourism opportunities and economic growth potential from the rail trail will be welcomed in Somerset and now is the perfect time for residents in Somerset to find out more about those business ideas and how they could be further developed. Council welcomes development in the region and officers are available to help with free advice and guidance.

Council also welcomed news from the Australian Government that it granted tender exemptions to Council for $5.9 million in jointly funded bridge replacement projects.

This decision was fantastic news for Council as it enables us to use day labour for ten bridge construction projects, resulting in money staying in the local community.  These construction projects will each get underway in 2018.

Earlier this year, Council invested more than $700,000 into providing residents in Lowood and the surrounding townships with a much bigger and better administration centre and library. Council was pleased to officially open the building in November. This space caters for all residents and provides lots of free activities, workshops and resources.

We are looking forward to an even more productive 2018 with plenty of construction and maintenance projects scheduled in as well as various community activities and events being held in Somerset throughout the year.

To start the year, Council hopes to see residents in Esk on Friday, 26 January for the Australia Day Awards presentation. This is the perfect opportunity to recognise the outstanding contributions of residents in Somerset. Join us for a free morning tea after the awards ceremony to be held at the Somerset Civic Centre at 9am.

We are also very excited that Kilcoy will welcome the Queens Baton as it makes its way to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Tuesday, 27 March. This will be such an exciting time for our community and I encourage everyone to save the date and join in the free community celebrations that will be on offer and cheer on our baton bearers as they come through Somerset.

In August, we will host the inaugural Reel Wivenhoe Classic – a fishing tournament on Wivenhoe Dam. This event will include a fun, family friendly festival and a two day non-professional fishing competition.

Next year is shaping up to be another fantastic year and Council looks forward to delivering on many key projects and more in 2018.

On behalf of Somerset Regional Council, I wish you all a safe and joyous festive season. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Graeme Lehmann

Mayor

Somerset Regional Council