REVEALED: 8 big council projects coming to Gympie this year
THEY sometimes attract enthusiasm and at other times, criticism, but Gympie Regional Council's upcoming developments around the region never fail to draw public attention.
Stage two of the "popular" River to Rail project headlines council's list of projects to be rolled out in 2019, along with the inception of the Mary Valley Rail trail from Imbil to Brooloo and the establishment of the Gympie Youth Precinct at the Memorial Pool site.
Though already facing delays, the controversial Upper Mary St beautification works are still expected to be completed before the year is out, and Kilkivan will receive a huge boost with the unveiling of a multi-million-dollar Equestrian Centre.
Browse the list below for what council has confirmed is on the way this year.
1. Mellor Street - February
FUNDED entirely by $500,000 from the Queensland Government Works for Queensland program, Mellor St upgrades between Amy Street and Lady Mary Terrace forms an integral part of council's plan to "revitalise important elements of one of Gympie's busiest commercial and residential hubs".
Expected to begin later this month, the desired improvements from the project include the addition of trees, shrubs and garden landscape elements, refurbishing the existing footpath and kerbing, reducing the speed limit to 50 km/h and creating formal of on-street car parking.
A council spokesman explained the vision behind the upgrade plans.
"Mellor Street is the link between Gympie's civic, retail and Heritage Rail precincts. It is unique in that it accommodates local businesses as well as residential houses. The Mellor Street upgrade will provide an easy, safe and aesthetically pleasing link for pedestrians between the two," the spokesman said.
"The proposed improvements also look to add practical value to Mellor St not only for traders and residents but also for visitors to our region.
"The final design for this project was created in conjunction with the residents as well as the business owners and operators."
2. Mary Valley Rail Trail - Imbil to Brooloo
With full funding from the State Government, council will seek to transform a disused rail corridor into a proposed 4.5km trail going one way between Imbil to Brooloo.
A council spokesman said the proposed trail would provide local community and visitors alike with opportunities to walk, cycle off-road and ride their horses between the two townships.
He said the trail would be "suitable for all fitness levels as a great one-way or return experience".
The spokesman said council recently completed several rounds of community consultation where residents had the opportunity to discuss the project, see before and after-photographs of similar projects and provide feedback directly to the project team.
The trail is expected to be open by June 30, 2019.
3. River to Rail trail - Stage Two
COUNCIL confirmed the second stage of the River to Rail Trail project, running from The Sands to the Victoria Bridge Conservation Area, is officially under way.
The project continues on from the first stage, which runs to The Sands from the Gympie Weir.
The council spokesman said the project had been budgeted for $1million under the Queensland Government Works for Queensland Program, enough to cover trail formation and surface works and parkland enhancements at The Sands recreational area, including an extension to the carpark, revegetation and turf and picnic seating.
Council anticipates completion of the upgrade at some stage in the middle of the year.
4. Gympie Youth precinct
PLANNED for the old Gympie Memorial Pool site, stage one of the Gympie Youth Precinct Recreation Hub will cost $2.8million to be split 50/50 between council and the State Government under a funding arrangement.
The council spokesman called the project "exciting".
"(It) responds to the growing needs of the Gympie community and its youth by supporting positive community, health and youth engagement opportunities within the region," the spokesman said.
Council previously held two "drop-in sessions" in June and July last year to seek feedback on design, flow and elements of the park.
Plans indicate the features of the project will include a pump track, skate bowl, flow area and bouldering wall.
The spokesman said the final design was still under consideration and forecasted the completion date for the project at mid-2019.
5. Mary Valley Skate Park
ANOTHER one for the region's youth, the Mary Valley Skate Park project forms part of the Imbil "Our Towns" program, aimed towards introducing streetscape and public space improvements.
With full funding supplied by the State Government's Works for Queensland Program, the project will cost $300,000, with construction due for completion by the middle of the year.
The council spokesman said there had been several rounds of community consultation towards the project and "the feedback gathered from these sessions will heavily contribute to the final design".
6. Kilkivan Equestrian Centre
THE home of the famous horse ride will be given a huge boost with the arrival of the Equestrian Centre in September.
Construction has not yet started on the project, but the council spokesman said it "was about to commence" after plans were developed in conjunction with the community.
He said the project had been been partially funded with $1,075,089 from the Queensland Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program, which contributes to $2.036 million overall.
Council announced Ri Con Constructions as the successful tenderer to build the new equestrian centre on January 23.
"The planned development includes an 80m x 45m undercover arena and a raised undercover spectator viewing area as well as a review of electricity, water and sewerage to site," the spokesman said.
"Council received a total of 10 tenders for the project. Assessments on all applicants were carried out in compliance with council's procurement process.
"Ri Con Constructions were previously engaged by council to construct the Curra Hall."
Council says the equestrian centre's official opening will coincide with the Kilkivan Great Horse Ride in early September.
7. Upper Mary St beautification
IT HAS suffered a history mired in controversy and recent delays, but the $3m Upper Mary St upgrades should still be completed before 2020.
Council initially endorsed the "revitalisation" of Upper Mary St on May 13, 2015 as part of the Gympie Town Centre Urban Design Projects Package.
A spokesman said designs for the project were "still being finalised" while consultations with business operators and owners continued.
Council announced this week the upgrade had stalled due to the requirements of the Federal Government's "Building Better Regions Funding Program".
The spokesman confirmed letters stating the project would not start until May were sent to business owners at the beginning of the month.
"Advertisements for tenders will be finalised by early March with construction planned to begin in May. It is anticipated construction would be completed late this year. This is indicative only and will be refined in liaison with a successful tenderer," he said.
The project narrowly avoided cancellation last August when councillors voted 5-4 to progress with the existing plan, which incorporates upgrades for the street's pedestrian crossings, walkways and power lines, as well as introductions of bike racks, trees, alfresco dining spaces and a garden bed.
The project is co-funded through the Federal Government's Building Better Regions Fund and council with $1.5 million contributed by each.
The project's funding deadline for completion remains on December 31.
8. Saleyards strategy
NO SPECIFIC date has been given for this project, but council is aiming to enhance the benefits of Gympie Saleyard space "for the next 10 to 20 years".
"Council is in the process of developing a strategy for the saleyard space and has conducted a number of surveys to gauge the thoughts and opinions of its users," the spokesman said.
"Calf sales are held fortnightly on a Wednesday and Prime/Store Cattle sales are held fortnightly on alternate Mondays. Stud sales are held regularly throughout the year. The Saleyards service is vital for regional rural economies.
"Gympie Saleyards also provides dipping facilities and head bail and weight scales which are available for use at a nominal fee."
The spokesman said the aim of the project would be to provide a strategic direction for the "vital piece of community infrastructure" through research and community engagement.