DRIVERS were the big winners across the Fraser Coast, with new traffic lights set for St Helen’s School and upgrades to Bruce Hwy.
The Torbanlea causeway will also become a reality, with funding of $1.8 million. The project was announced but not funded by the former LNP government.
However, hopes of bringing back pathology to the Maryborough Hospital will not be realised just yet, with no funding announced to revive the service.
Instead the Bruce Highway, the environment and people with complex health needs were among the areas funded in the Wide Bay’s $668 million 2015-16 spend.
The multi-million dollar boost includes $572.5 million for health, utility, education and transport infrastructure; $37.7 million in disaster relief funding; and $14.5 million – or $58m over four years – to pay for school improvements.
About $19 million will go towards improving and maintaining sections of the Bruce Highway between Maryborough and Gympie.
Access to Maryborough’s St Helen’s School will be improved with a $2.1 million set of traffic lights at a nearby intersection.
Environmental commitments included $630,000 for a new wastewater treatment system at Dundabara in the Great Sandy National Park on Fraser Island.
Both Fraser Coast and Bundaberg councils will share $43,000 to tackle littering and illegal dumping.
About $500,000 will be spent repairing the Mary River levees.
A total of $1.3 million will fund the replacement of CT scanners at Hervey Bay and Bundaberg hospitals.
The Fraser Coast will also benefit from a region-wide commitment of $2.2 million for cardiology services, $4.9 million for ophthalmology services and $2.7 million for other health care services.
Hervey Bay’s hospital emergency department will get a share of $20 million set aside to improve ERs across the state.
Other Wide Bay region pledges included $24.8 million for public housing, $6.8 million for homeless support and $25,000 to help indigenous communities with cultural and conservation projects.
The Wide Bay covers Fraser Coast, Kingaroy, Nanango, Bundaberg and Gympie.
AN UPGRADE worth $7.1 million to the Bruce Highway south of Torbanlea is about to begin, with SGQ awarded the contract to improve a 2.2 kilometre stretch of the highway.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said works along the stretch will include widening lanes, sealing road shoulders and adding a one-metre centre line.
“In combination, these measures will give motorists a much larger margin for error, making the highway safer. The Coalition Government is building a safer and more flood immune Bruce Highway through our record $6.7 billion investment in projects through our Infrastructure Investment Programme,” Mr Truss said.
Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the upgrade is located near the Wongi State Forest, south of Torbanlea.
“The project will also replace some of the culverts along the highway, making it less prone to flooding during our coastal storms,” Mr Pitt said.
“The Bruce Highway is the single most important piece of infrastructure in my electorate and whenever it’s closed it affects local businesses transporting their goods to market. Every dollar we invest in upgrading the highway is money in the pockets of local businesses and families.”
Queensland Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports Mark Bailey said the works are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders thanked motorists in advance for their patience while these works are being carried out.
“While the road works will create some disruption for motorists during the construction stage, the local community and road users will be the ultimate beneficiaries of a safer and more efficient highway. As an added bonus, these works will deliver jobs for local workers at a time when jobs and job security are more important than ever,” Mr Saunders said.
Motorists are being urged to observe all safety signage during the construction stage and to slow down and drive to conditions while travelling through the work sites.
The safety works are jointly funded, with the Australian Government providing $5.6 million and the Queensland Government $1.4 million.
MSF Sugar is closer to realising its $500 million Mary Harbour project at Maryborough after lodging the master plan development application on Thursday with Fraser Coast Regional Council.
The milestone for Maryborough’s largest ever master planned community is the culmination of many years of planning by MSF.
MSF chief executive Mike Barry said the project would be a key player in driving and stimulating Maryborough’s economic growth during the development period by creating significant direct and indirect employment.
He said the company was exploring all options for the project’s 10-to-12-year development phase, including working with a joint-venture partner.
“We have a very open-minded approach as to how that phase of Mary Harbour will unfold,” Mr Barry said.
“It’s a massive project that lends itself to a number of scenarios which are all on the table.
“We feel the timing is ideal in light of the general improvement in the property market and continued growth in the Fraser Coast Region.”
The development of the Mary Harbour site is part of MSF’s long-term strategy to fully utilise selected properties within its property portfolio.
New acquisitions by MSF since the announcement of the project have increased the company’s sugarcane land bank, replacing the Mary Harbour land five times over.
He said Mary Harbour was a 21st century lifestyle development set to house more than 4000 people in a diverse range of housing types with facilities structured around boating and water recreation.
It will take shape on a 177 hectare site boasting almost 2km frontage to the Mary River.
There will be more than 1800 dwellings with lot sizes ranging from 250sqm to 650sqm and housing types ranging from single dwelling/duplex to medium density and aged housing-style accommodation.
Mary Harbour’s centrepiece will be the man-made harbour with a 300-berth marina, waterfront boardwalks, village centre, extensive pedestrian and cycle path network and a significant flood and stormwater plain, including lakes and spillway.
A four-star 100-room resort style hotel is proposed on the harbour’s headland along with conference facilities.
Mr Barry said the Mary Harbour master plan had been conceived in architectural, urban and landscape design terms as a “quintessential” place that projects a community image and a waterfront lifestyle of the highest quality.
“It will adopt a development concept accommodating people from different walks of life with various demographic profiles,” he said.
He said MSF was hoping to have an approval by end of the year.
TWO new overtaking lanes have opened on the Bruce Hwy between Howard and Childers just in time for the busy Christmas break.
Measuring 1.3kms each, the overtaking lanes located near Pig Creek and the Cherwell River are aimed at reducing the number of risky overtaking incidents.
The timing of these lanes comes at a good time, with traffic set to increase along this stretch of the Bruce Hwy during the holiday period.
On an average day, the stretch between Howard and Childers sees more than 7000 vehicles a day – 21% of which are heavy vehicles.
The Federal Government funded the overtaking lanes as part of its $440 million Bruce Hwy Safety Package, which is dedicated to fixing black spots, providing more overtaking opportunities and improving driving conditions along the highway.
Next year work will begin on more overtaking lanes at Bauple, Torbanlea and Wallaville.
AUSTRALIAN BASS FISH ARE DYING BY THE THOUSANDS AT BASE OF BURRUM WEIR FISHLADDER TRYING TO ACCESS THE FRESH WATER AFTER SPAWNING
FISH are still dying in the Burrum River while Wide Bay Water Corporation dithers over a design for a fishway on the No 1 dam at Howard.
Eight years after Lenthalls Dam was raised, on the condition that a new fishway be built, a detailled design has still not been produced.
The upcoming change in the water body’s corporate structure has also put a hitch in proceedings.
WBWC acting chief executive officer Garry Storch said they did not want to “take a decision without talking to the council about what they would like to do with it”.
“We’ll be taking it up with them in the next week or two as to how they’d like to proceed,” he said.
Mr Storch said they had not been satisfied that the designs they had looked at were going to work appropriately.
“We’ve got to make sure it’s not a white elephant,” he said.
“We’ve got to judge it against cost.
“From a purely environmental (and) fishing point of view, we should be doing it.”
Mr Storch said it was difficult to judge the success of a fishway and they had looked at designs but had not come to any conclusions.
But environmentalist Graham Berry, who has been involved in the fishway discussions all the way along, said a WBWC manager told the council’s environmental advisory committee in February that the Burrum fish ladder was at the detailed design stage and tenders would be called in May or June for construction to be completed in 2013.
He said even though installing a new fishway was a condition of raising Lenthalls Dam in 2004, no timeframe was attached.
Meanwhile, throughout September and October, observers noted a steady stream of bass dying in the river’s tidal saltwater near the No 1 dam because the fish were unable to get back into the freshwater via the existing fish ladder after spawning.
Way back in 2008, the Greater Mary Association criticised the water body was for its “tardiness” in building the fishway.
At the time, water CEO Tim Waldron said it would be easy to build a large concrete structure in the middle of the river that didn’t work.
“We do not want to build something that is not going to work,” he said.
“We are looking for the right long-term answer.”
In September, 2010, WBWC acting CEO Peter Care said $3.2 million had been set aside to build the new fishway to ensure it was completed before the end of the 2012-13 financial year.
Mr Care said the fishway benefits included improving, or allowing, adult fish – particularly Australian bass and barramundi that lived in the freshwater reaches of the Burrum system but moved into the saltwater to breed – access to and from spawning habitats, the dispersal of juvenile fish such as barramundi and mullet to new habitats, access to feeding habitats, the recolonisation of habitats and access to and from refuge areas during droughts or floods.
“We are committed to improving the health of our waterways and our environment department is working closely with stakeholders to ensure a beneficial outcome for fish stocks and habitats,” he said at the time.
Mr Berry said he was a little frustrated by the delay in installing a new fishway but was confident it would be built, “it’s just a matter of when”.
Sourced from the local Chronicle paper & published by Henry Sapiecha
BURRUM RIVER TO HAVE A VASTLY IMPROVED FISH LADDER SAYS COUNCIL
THE proposed fishladder for the No 1 dam on the Burrum River will be fast forwarded as soon as practical, Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell has said.
A condition of raising Lenthalls Dam eight years ago was that a new fishway be built and Wide Bay Water Corporation committed $3.2 million to the project in 2010 with the aim of completing it by June next year.
But a detailed design has not yet been produced and with the council in the process of resuming control of the water body, the future of the project seemed in doubt.
However Cr O’Connell said the council and WBW had not met specifically to discuss the fish ladder but “the project remains a focus and will be progressed as soon as possible”.
“It is one of a raft of projects being undertaken by the water corporation that have been talked about as the corporation transitions to a business unit of council,” he said.
Sourced from the local Chronicle paper & published by Henry Sapiecha