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Driving economic growth and jobs for locals

Firstly on behalf of Council I'd like to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.

Our region is entering exciting times with a number of potential projects currently being finalised. This council has a strong focus on driving economic growth and supporting sustainable development.

We recently changed Council's planning policies to provide greater incentives for potential developers and Council now has the discretion to offer up to 100% discounts on infrastructure charges in priority areas.

Council is steering its procurement policy to a point where local preference is strongly applied. An example of our comittment to this principle is the recent awarding of the major Mission Beach Aquatic Facility contract to a local building contractor.

We are hosting free information sessions this week for locals who want to do business with Council. They will explain our procurement processes and 'Local Buy', a way for contractors and suppliers to pre-register their interests and bona fides within a pre-qualified supplier arrangement system used by councils throughout Queensland.

Sessions are from 12-2pm in Cardwell tomorrow (Tuesday 7 Feb), Tully on Wednesday and Innisfail on Thursday.  We look forward to seeing many of you there. For more information ring 1300 763 903.

Congratulations Australia Day Award winners

Congrats and thank you to each and every Australia Day nominee or award winner. Our community is all the better for your efforts.

This year's winners were Citizen of the Year and Junior Citizen of the Year Brett Ambrum and Sophie Mackay (pictured), Lifetime Contribution Cec Anderson, Senior and Junior Cultural Awards Girringun Aboriginal Corporation and Mitchell Martin, Environment Award Cassowary Wardens, Senior and Junior Sports Awards Aaron Chatman and Talia Bulstrode, Sports Administrator Roger Goebel, Community Event of the Year Innisfail PCYC's Car Show, Excellence Award Liz Gallie, Achievement Awards Jo Anne Cracknell, Vera Alberich, John and Arlene O'Sullivan.

Peter Allen fans - Don't miss this touring show

Peter Allen's story and his hits, from 'I Still Call Australia Home' to 'I Honestly Love You', will wow audiences on Thursday Feb 9. 

Touring entertainer Simon Gillespie is staging a Peter Allen tribute show in the Innisfail Shire Hall from 10am to kickstart the 2017 Morning Melodies series. 

Tickets are $16 pre-paid or $20 at the door. They include morning tea. Ring 4030 2250 for information and bookings.

What's happening? Projects, roads, bridges...

It looks like the wet season has arrived!  Our slashing, mowing and road maintenance programs have increased and some jobs are on hold. We're currently working on 90+ projects in planning, tender or construction phase. Here is an update for some of them:

Roads & bridges: The Watkins St upgrade continues in Tully, with the focus now on footpath replacement work leading up to the road pavement and asphalt work. At Jarra Creek the McQuillan Bridge replacement project is continuing with the culverts in and the headwalls and wingwalls on their way. In Innisfail, Badilla St kerb and channelling work should begin in March weather-permitting. 

Flood Recovery Work: Most of our road network affected by the recent rain and flooding has been inspected and emergent works have begun. The cost is expected to be about $2.5 million so we are grateful for the Federal and State Government's commitment to helping us out with Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangement funding. Among the bigger projects is a section of Fitzgerald Esplanade in Innisfail that was badly eroded and has been excavated and closed (see photo above), and a landslip on Tully Gorge Rd.

Mission Beach Aquatic Facility Project: It is all systems go with the recent awarding of the major construction contract to local building contractor AJ Homes. The facility will include a six-lane 25m lap pool, a lagoon-style recreational pool and a hydrotherapy pool with a rainforest backdrop and a rainforest billabong theme. The centre's construction is largely funded by the Federal and State Government after two successful applications by Council.

Water: We have secured a $2.5 million grant from the State Government for the Nyleta Reservoir and South Liverpool Creek Intake project. Tenders have been called and it is hoped that construction will begin in April. We have nearly finished another major project - installing automatic water meter readers at homes and businesses in the Mission Beach area for almost real-time water usage readings. Council is trialling this at Mission Beach before extending to other parts of the region. A water main upgrade project has begun in Tully on Black St, McQuillan St (Parmeter to Black St) and Brannigan St (Parmeter to Black St). In Innisfail we will soon be replacing and upsizing the water main along the Bruce Highway from Acacia St to Pine St and along Maple St from Pine St to Laurie St. With an interconnection of the town's two major trunks involved, this will improve water reliabiity for Innisfail.

Parks/Recreational Spaces: We are upgrading the upper level  clubhouse at Goondi Bend sportsground (painting, internal toilets, pavers, roof repairs etc.) and renovations have begun at East Palmerston Hall. We've installed three new surveillance cameras in the Innisfail CBD system and we are speaking with the Tully Police about extras for the Tully CBD system. The roof has been replaced on the Innisfail Men's Shed and there has been asphalt sealing at Frogs Hollow and Castor Park. Toilet blocks are being refurbished at Mundoo Aerodrome and Innisfail's Pease Park. A Hull Heads public toilet block refurbishment was recently completed.

Walking Tracks: Coastal Cutten Brothers Track is being extended at Mission Beach (from Perry Harvey Jetty south) and we are about three-quarters of the way through this project. The rain is slowing things down but we hope to be laying gravel soon and opening this new northern section to walkers. See the photo above.

$20 off a compost bin or worm farm

Being green is the new black!  If you buy a compost bin or worm farm and you show your receipt to Council we will give you a $20 rebate. 

You can buy your compost bin or worm farm anywhere. We also need proof of residency in the Cassowary Coast.

Composting helps to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. About half of all household waste is organic matter that could be composted - which is also great for your garden.
Use this link to visit our website for details.

Free concert - Innisfail Shire Hall

Argentinian pianist Viviana Graciela Strano will be performing with friends and relatives on Thursday 16 February. She plays with a 60-piece orchestra in South America, as well as solo, and we're feeling very lucky that she loves the shire hall's Steinway grand piano - and entertaining a crowd. Come along at 9.30am for a 10am start.

Jobs to help the environment in our region

Thirty young Cassowary Coast residents with a passion for the environment have been working to restore native vegetation and protect animal habitats in this region.

Council's final Green Army team will graduate soon after six months working with us and with other organisations - ending a highly successful program for graduates and the region.

The Green Army gave school leavers, gap year students, graduates and job seekers aged between 17 and 24 an opportunity to learn new skills and help the environment on a trainee wage. 

Council secured funding from the Federal Government for the program. Green Army teams have since planted 6500 trees in cassowary and mahogany glider habitats, restored about 30 hectares of degraded land, helped with marine debris clean-ups and collected data for a national data base. 

Thanks to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, C4, the Girringun Rangers, Mandubarra Land and Sea, the Ql;d Wildlife Preservation Society, schools and community volunteers for working with Council on these Green Army projects over the last two years.

The environment is healthier and the employment opportunities for our youth have been invaluable.

Did you know? Facts for rainy day

Rain makes this region 'green like you've never seen' but it also means more damage to roads and more rapid deterioration of facilities and equipment than in other regions. It also means more frequent slashing and mowing of or roadsides, parks and community areas. There are the less-noticeable things too, like the wear and tear on our sewerage systems and bigger electricity and chemical bills to cover the extra pumping and treatment needed when high levels of groundwater infiltrate these systems.