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Somerset Regional Council Meeting Highlights 27 August 2021

Somerset Regional Council Meeting Highlights

Published: 30th August 2021

Poultry Farm Upgrades to Meet RSPCA standards
Council today approved a development application to construct an additional two free range poultry sheds at Bischoffs Road Poultry Farm.
The project will bring the poultry farm into line with legislated RSPCA stocking densities, which have been reduced since the farm was established in 2006.
While the sheds on the property will increase from fourteen to sixteen, there will be no increase in the number of birds.
Economic Recovery Sub-Group member, Cr Bob Whalley said the increase in number of sheds was a responsible action by the applicant, and there is no concern about further pressure on our roads or environment.
“Additional sheds do not mean more production in this case, and there should not be any changes in environmental issues such as odour from the farm,” Cr Whalley said.
“Meeting the RSPCA approved farming stocking rates by making this investment in their infrastructure shows that the applicant is serious about their future in the industry and in the region.”

$10 Million in Capital Projects added to Budget
Somerset Regional Council has adopted a revised budget including more than $10 million in new capital works.
Deputy Mayor and Audit Committee member, Cr Helen Brieschke said, “This revised budget lets us move forward with work to complete the sealing and widening of Esk Crows Nest Road, widen the Minden Village intersection at Lowood Minden Road, renew Lowood Pool and replace the dip culvert on Gregors Creek Road.”
“We are obviously grateful to the Queensland Government for choosing to fund our
infrastructure under the SEQ Community Stimulus package - nearly $5 million for our community.”
“These road projects are in addition to other stages budgeted on the same roads which have been jointly funded by the Queensland and Australian Governments and Council.”
“The revised budget moves our entire capital works program up to $52 million even though our annual rates are only $23 million,” Cr Brieschke said.

Kilcoy Christmas Carnival
The best chance at catching a glimpse of Santa this year is likely to be in Kilcoy, when the Kilcoy Residents Special Events Association will host a Christmas street carnival.
Council approved their application for the public event at today’s meeting, along with approval for in-kind support through the supply of wheelie bins.
Regional Arts Development Fund Committee member, Cr Kylee Isidro said that it was important for Council to be able to support community-led events like a Christmas carnival.
“We have strong, connected communities in our region who want the best for their home towns. Supporting the people who are volunteering their time and effort in putting on these great events is something Council can do easily through in-kind assistance.”
The Christmas Carnival is planned for Saturday 4 December.

Council Lobbies for Improved Livestock Effluent Control Measures
Effective control measures for livestock effluent have long been a concern for the Somerset region and other parts of Queensland where the transport of cattle impacts on community amenity.
Council has been lobbying the State Government to provide funding for washdown bays in strategic locations through the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ).  Recently the LGAQ provided Council with a response from the Director- General of the Department of Transport and Main Roads, which suggested a broader approach was needed, included liaising with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Traffic and Safety Advisory Committee member, Cr Sean Choat said the response from the Director-General seemed weak, considering livestock effluent breaches fell under the banner of Queensland Transport.
Cr Choat said: “The response from the Director-General is not strong enough and does not consider community interests.”
The LGAQ will continue to advocate for a practical solution to the issue.

Charity Fund Support for Toogoolawah Family
Council has supported a donation from the Mayoral Gala Ball Charity Fund to help a Toogoolawah family impacted by a recent house fire.
Under an application by the Toogoolawah and District Progress Association, the funds will supply the family with replacement white goods destroyed in the fire.
Mayor Graeme Lehmann said one of the purposes of the Mayoral Gala Ball Charity Fund was to directly benefit residents in an emergency situation.
“Being able to provide some small level of support to this family in a very tough time gives real meaning to the Charity Fund,” he said.

Upcoming RADF Projects
Councillors approved two applications under the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) following a RADF Committee meeting earlier in August.
Regional Arts Development Fund Chair, Cr Cheryl Gaedtke said the quality of applications was excellent and was indicative of the strength of the arts community in the Somerset region.
Successful applications in this round included the Linville Evening Under the Stars project and an art exhibition called Slow Churn.
“Slow Churn is a significant three-month long project involving six artists,” Cr Gaedtke said.  “The project is also waiting on approval for funding from the State government’s Regional Arts Fund, and I’d be very surprised if that application was unsuccessful.”
Among recent projects funded through RADF was the Acting for Screen Workshop Roadshow, with renowned cinematographer Greg Hughlin. Following a series of workshops at high schools in the region, students created their own short films that will be showcased at the Youth Movie Night at Alexandra Hall in Toogoolawah on 3 September. Book your tickets online at https://somersettickets.com.au/event/youth- movie-night-13812.
Information about applying to the RADF program can be found on Council’s website at https://www.somerset.qld.gov.au/regional-arts-development-fund-radf or by phoning Council on (07) 5424 4000.

UQ BVRT Visitor Research Program Tracks Rail Trail Users
A research partnership between the University of Queensland (UQ) and Somerset Regional Council has provided valuable insights into the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) user experience.
The Visitor Research Program conducted by UQ’s Business School’s Service Innovation Alliance was jointly funded by Council and the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR).
The program collected data from BVRT users that included visitor types, their experiences and how they spend their money while in the region, travel motivations and trip characteristics.
Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Committee member, Cr Jason Wendt said: “This kind of research gives us valuable insights into who is using the rail trail and why.”
“We have the largest section of the BVRT here in our region and this information allows us to continue developing it as a quality tourism experience along the lines of New Zealand’s Otago Central Rail Trail, among the world’s best.”
Council continues to improve the trail with surface upgrades between Coominya to Esk and Fernvale carried out in 2021, while a new TMR BVRT website was also launched this year.
Somerset Regional Council will continue to investigate opportunities for continuing the Visitor Research Program periodically to gather current visitor data.

Plans for Toogoolawah Library and Wellness Hub Underway
Somerset Regional Council will commence planning for a new library and wellness hub opposite Alexandra Hall in Toogoolawah.
Somerset Regional Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann said, “Council has been working with Graham Richardson Associates architects to help identify options and the best option for a new library in Toogoolawah.”
“We will be using land that we own opposite Alexandra Hall right in the Toogoolawah commercial centre for the new facility.”
“We want people to be able to visit their local library, do their shopping and grab a coffee and lunch without having to move their car.”
“Building in Cressbrook Street on land that we already own lets us do this at a reasonable cost,” Mayor Lehman said.

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