Somerset Regional Council Weekly Highlights 15 December 2022
Somerset Regional Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann and elected members took the opportunity at the final Council meeting for 2022
Christmas greetings from Somerset
Somerset Regional Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann and elected members took the opportunity at the final Council meeting for 2022 to wish all Somerset constituents a Merry Christmas and safe and festive holiday season.
“On behalf of Council, I would like to wish everyone a safe holiday season,” Cr Lehmann said.
Councillor Jason Wendt also took the opportunity to thank residents for their resilience over the past 12 months.
“It’s been a challenging year for most people in our community while still recovering from the upsets of Covid, we as a community have had to battle not only one flood, but two,” Cr Wendt said.
“Despite this, as always, as a rural community we have done what we do best and continue to face each obstacle with renewed vigour and so here we are celebrating again.
“So Merry Christmas to everyone and we will see you for the next exciting chapter in 2023.”
Council will hold its first meeting for 2023 on Wednesday, 18 January.
Building back stronger from the 2022 floods
Somerset Regional Council has been approved by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) for $11.5 million of funding to improve roads and key infrastructure damaged by flood events in 2022.
Local Disaster Management Group representative Councillor Jason Wendt said Council was pleased its submissions had been approved.
“Council is confident that this first stage of 27 approved submissions covering hundreds of roads in Somerset can be delivered by local contractors, supported by Council day labour.
“This is around half of the expected 64 submissions that Council expects to seek funding for under the Australian and Queensland Governments’ Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
“Council is pleased to see the flood recovery works move from the emergent works period into full recovery, with packages of work being released to the market for works to start early in the new year.”
Cr Wendt also took the opportunity to thank road users and residents for their patience while upgrades are carried out across Somerset.
“We know it can be frustrating, we feel it too but we appreciate the patience of property owners in achieving much-needed repairs to critical infrastructure and road users driving to conditions while proper repairs are carried out.”
Cr Wendt said Council needs to work with the QRA and the complex process to ensure that we get a fair outcome for our region in the long term.
“We are also seeking around $13M in funding to build back stronger, so we can make our existing infrastructure more resilient for the next major flood,” Cr Wendt said.
Cultural Heritage Management Plan for Mount Glen Rock
Somerset Regional Council is working with traditional custodians to progress a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) for Mount Glen Rock in Esk.
Human Social Recovery Sub-Group representative and Deputy Mayor Councillor Helen Brieschke said the proposed CHMP outlines how the area can be managed to avoid or minimise potential harm to Aboriginal cultural heritage.
“It has been developed in consultation with multiple traditional custodian groups,” Cr Brieschke said.
“The CHMP will be followed by onsite cultural heritage surveying by traditional custodians in early 2023. Onsite ecological services will also be undertaken concurrently on Mount Glen Rock. Both surveys will inform further revisions to the draft Master Plan for the project.
“Council is grateful for the funding support of the Australian and Queensland Government through the Queensland Reconstruction Authority under the 2019 bushfires Local Economic Recovery grant program which has made this project possible.”
Economic Development Strategy locked in
Somerset Regional Council has adopted a new Economic Development Strategy to help guide investment attraction and support economic evolution across the region.
Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said the new Economic Development Strategy outlines how Council will act as a catalyst to facilitate the next major transition of our local economy for the next decade or two.
“This strategy was formed on the basis of extensive community and business consultation and I want to thank the members of Council’s Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Committee including 22 industry, community and Council representatives for their efforts in developing this strategy,” Cr Lehmann said.
“The Economic Development Strategy contains a list of 32 specific and achievable actions including in the areas of transport, telecommunications, water and food security and residential and commercial development.
“Council is already acting on the infrastructure advocacy targets set out in the economic development strategy with an obvious recent example being the business case and Council’s successful $5 million federal funding application to replace and upgrade the strategic, high-volume Lester Kropp Bridge on Neurum Road between Woodford and Kilcoy.
“We welcome working with community, business and industry as we continue to develop employment and economic opportunities for local residents in the long term and particularly our youth.”
Lowood Futures Strategy adopted
Somerset Regional Council has adopted a visionary long-term strategy for the future of Lowood following extensive community consultation.
Council’s Lowood Community Action Group representative Councillor Sean Choat said it was an exciting and wide-ranging plan for Lowood which is based on a holistic revitalisation approach.
“This strategy focuses on priorities for redevelopment, public realm enhancements and infrastructure upgrades,” Cr Choat said.
“We are grateful for the funding support of the Australian and Queensland Governments through the Queensland Reconstruction Authority under the 2019 bushfires Local Economic Recovery grant program which has made this project possible.
“The plan incorporates significant community-building improvements to public space including a green botanical core, lighting, art, community and commercial facilities and opportunities for new car parking.
“The project will be pragmatically sequenced over the short, medium and longer terms and complement more than $13 million of work that Council is currently undertaking with State and Federal funding support to upgrade Lowood Minden Road and the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail and we will be seeking more funding to deliver components of this plan.
“We are proud to adopt the Lowood Futures Strategy that will guide the economic future of Lowood and enhance the amenity and liveability for our residents.”
Kilcoy Indoor Sports Centre Redevelopment master plan adopted
Somerset Regional Council has adopted a redevelopment master plan for the popular Kilcoy Indoor Sports Centre.
Kilcoy Recreation Grounds Committee representative Councillor Cheryl Gaedtke said the master plan was a step in the right direction for the future growth of the town. “Council agrees with the consultant’s view that Kilcoy Indoor Sports Centre is operating at capacity and therefore is unable to meet growing community demand for health and fitness, gymnastics, indoor sports and other offered services as our community grows.”
“This new Master Plan addresses current and future capacity constraints and provides a blueprint for the future development of the sports centre over the long term.”
“We will not be able to deliver everything on this $10 million plan all at once, and we will need to seek funding to complete elements of the proposed upgrades in a staged approach.”
“The Master Plan includes expanded floor space and new multi-purpose indoor courts and amenities and civil and roadworks to suit,” Cr Gaedtke said.
Rail Trail Australia Day Bike Ride receives Council support
With Australia Day just around the corner, Somerset Regional Council will support the fifth annual Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Australia Day Bike Ride event on Thursday, 26 January 2023 with a $2,500 cash injection.
Economic Recovery Sub-Group representative Councillor Bob Whalley Council said the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Users Association has been running the free community event since 2018.
“The association is expecting around 450 participants – this is massive and many of these will be first time visitors to the rail trail,” Cr Whalley said.
“Many will book overnight accommodation, and most will spend money in local cafes and businesses.
“For our region, this will be a good investment and I’m pleased that Council is able to support this event which ultimately support Somerset small businesses.
“This event will add to another packed Australia Day in Somerset on top of our annual Australia Day awards ceremony and fantastic events at our Kilcoy, Lowood and Toogoolawah pools.”
Residents interested in learning more about the Australia Day bike ride should contact organisers, the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Users Association.
Record participation at Council sporting facilities
Somerset Regional Council has welcomed reports of record attendance at Council facilities including the Fernvale PCYC, Kilcoy indoor sports centre and Toogoolawah Community Gym and Swimming Pool.
Councillor Kylee Isidro said the attendance figures were impressive.
“The community has responded well to facility upgrades and overall enhancements completed at these Council facilities,” Cr Isidro said.
“The attendance figures for Fernvale Indoor Sports Centre which is operated by the Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) was 3,150 for November 2022 and this is the first time we have achieved more than 3,000 participants in a single month.
“PCYC goes to great lengths to proactively reach out to the community and they have been reaching out to the Lowood State High School to get better social and health outcomes as well which is really encouraging.
“Our new Toogoolawah Community Gym, pool and splash pad recorded an impressive 3,880 attendance figure for November and this is also a record.
“The good news doesn’t stop there with Kilcoy Indoor Sports Centre participation up more than 10% to 2,212 for November.”
Cr Isidro said it was pleasing to see the community support these facilities while getting active and healthy.
Community group and individuals supported by Council
The Fernvale Campdraft Association has been awarded a $5000 Community Assistance Grant from Somerset Regional Council to improve the surface of the arena at Col Powell Reserve.
Council will also consider additional funding for the association in the new financial year.
Somerset residents James McColm and Samantha Bremner will each receive a $250 sporting bursary for their selection in Hockey and Cricket competitions and Ryder Cochran will a $1000 bursary for his international participating in a golf tournament in Las Vegas in June 2023.
The Brisbane Valley Soccer Club also received a $2000 sport bursary to compete in a national tournament.
The funds are made available through Council’s success Community Assistance Grants Program.