‘Playgrounds or roads’: Debate rages at council meeting
A LENGTHY debate between councillors ensued over the proposal of $560,000 for playground upgrades over road maintenance from Federal Government funding.
At the North Burnett Regional Council's (NBRC) general meeting on July 22 in Eidsvold, federal funding submissions were firmly on the agenda to be discussed.
According to council documents, five projects were tendered for their approval for the Drought Communities Programme Extension, to the value of $1,000,000.
Among the projects included increased accessibility to playgrounds in all six towns, the development of potable water dispensers, and the costs involved in managing these projects.
The second recommendation included endorsing five projects under the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Programs to the value of $1,851,438, which involved bridge safety, road resealing, footpath maintenance, and more.
Councillors Michael Dingle and Susan Payne had reservations in endorsing the motion of upgrading six playgrounds in the North Burnett, totalling $560,000.
"My community's roads don't get the opportunity for a lot of funding," he said.
"Parks are great, but my community would like something done on their roads as well."
Cr Dingle went onto discuss whether funds from the $1.8 million in funding could be reappropriated for maintenance works in division five.
His reasoning being, works on Mt Perry's road networks would stimulate the economy through it's improvement, and the hiring of local contractors.
General manager of works Randall Percy said funds were urgently needed for several bridges in the region, which are in jeopardy of being reduced to limited traffic, or would be closed altogether.
Cr Payne concurred with Cr Dingle, and believed the situation of the region's roads were a higher priority.
Mayor Rachel Chambers addressed the meeting, saying the Drought Communities Programme's intent was to produce jobs and uplift communities in drought, similar to the first round of funding received through the Drought Communities Programme.
Council documents showed proposed projects must at least lead to employment of locals, contribute to economic activity of region, or lead to retention of businesses, services and facilities.
Some of the eligible activities included repairs and maintenance of community facilities or spaces, employing local contractors for maintenance, holding events, or development of an adverse event plan.
An NBRC spokesman told the meeting services such as playgrounds and potable water would help retain travellers and potential residents to North Burnett towns according to community feedback.
The resolution was passed six votes to one, with Cr Payne voting against.