February 12, 2015
A free overnight caravan and RV parking area in Murgon has brought new business to the town since it opened a few months ago, the Murgon Business and Development Association (MDBA) was told on Thursday night.
MDBA president Leo Geraghty, speaking at the group’s first monthly meeting for 2015, said anecdotal evidence from Murgon traders was that there had been an upswing in tourist spending in the town since the new park opened.
He said it was generally estimated that caravanning holidaymakers spent an average $90 per head for each day they spent in a town, and the reports he’d heard suggested Murgon was benefitting by a similar amount.
The MBDA will now investigate the possibility of installing information signs in the overnight parking area which would provide a map of local roads and attractions, along with advertisements for local businesses whose services might interest holidaymakers.
The MBDA will investigate the total cost of mounting the signs and updating them every three to four years.
It will then offer an expected 14 advertising positions to members on a “first come, first served” basis.
The MBDA will also ask Council to install prominent signs in the town area to point caravanners to the overnight parking area.
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The MBDA will send a letter to former Murgon Mayor and long-standing member Bill Roberts wishing him a speedy recovery from a recent illness.
The meeting heard that Bill and his wife are currently recuperating from separate bouts of ill-health.
Vice-president Earl Pratt recommended the group write a letter to the couple.
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Cr Kathy Duff told the meeting negotiations on Council’s 2015-16 Budget have begun and she has applied for two Murgon projects.
The first of these is the conversion of the “Triangles” area near Murgon State School into a sealed car parking area; and the second, the reinstatement of the Murgon CBD footpath project that had to be shelved last year when Murgon’s swimming pool was found to need urgent repairs.
Cr Duff said she was confident the Triangles project would proceed next financial year, but less certain about the CBD footpaths due to tight Budget constraints.
However, she would persist in advocating for both, and promised to keep the group informed.
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Cr Duff said the likely change of government after the recent State election has put a question mark over funding for several projects in the region, including two that directly impact Murgon: the Kilkivan-Kingaroy Rail Trail and the Murgon Swimming Pool upgrade.
She said SBRC Mayor Wayne Kratzmann had already organised talks in Brisbane, and would be pressing for existing funding commitments to be honoured.
In response to a question from MBDA secretary Margaret Long about whether the pool would reopen in time for next summer’s swimming season if the State Government withdrew its share of the upgrade funding, Cr Duff said the pool would re-open as planned.
“It just won’t be as flash as we want it to be,” she said.
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Cr Duff also asked the meeting for their reaction to an idea to create a public walkway between the Old Bank Building in Lamb Street and the Medical Centre in Stephens Street which would allow people to walk from the centre straight to the CBD.
Cr Duff said Council owned a vacant block of land on the Stephens Street end which could be converted into a car park if the idea went ahead.
This would give Murgon shoppers extra off-street parking.
Members at the meeting said they thought this was a good idea, but wondered if the walkway was a public easement or if it was part of the Old Bank Building’s block.
It was agreed the land title would be investigated.
President Leo Geraghty said he’d raised a similar idea about a Stephens Street car park with former Murgon Mayor Warren Hubner many years ago.
He’d found the vacant block could accommodate a “McDonald’s-style” car park for up to 20 vehicles if it was correctly laid out.
It was agreed that if the block were converted to this use, the street entry would also need to be repaired to avoid shoppers damaging their vehicles.
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The MBDA’s plan to install two entry signs on the northern and southern approaches to the town is still being investigated.
The group were told at the Association has been offered one side of a double-sided sign that will be mounted on a Barambah Road property, and may be offered a second sign as well.
The group will source more information on the location of the signs and the cost of signwriting, and seek local ideas about what sort of wordage the signs should carry.
Members suggested that given Barambah Road’s speed limit, any message would need to be brief in order to be legible to motorists.
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The Association will investigate the idea of creating a “Heritage Trail” in the CBD area similar to existing trails at Proston and Goomeri.
The trail would number selected buildings, and an accompanying brochure or leaflet would provide historical details about each one, allowing tourists to wander around the town and gain an insight into its development.
This would create a new tourist feature at minimal cost, with no impact on existing businesses.
At the meeting the group agreed the task of assembling information for such a trail would be complex, given the many changes that have occurred since Murgon’s foundation in 1906.
However, the MBDA will publish information about the project in the March edition of Murgon Moments to see if other locals are interested in becoming involved.
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The MBDA will not ask the South Burnett Regional Council to move existing taxi ranks away from the Murgon Visitor Information Centre after concerns were raised that the ranks may be deterring caravanners from stopping there.
Members said in their experience there was usually space for caravanners to pull up.
They were also concerned that if the taxi ranks were moved, it sould prove inconvenient for residents.
The group agreed to let the matter sit on the table.
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Last year’s Murgon Christmas Fair was a great success despite having to be unexpectedly set back three days due to summer storms.
The Fair had originally been scheduled for Friday, December 12, but had to be postponed until the following Monday after the town was deluged with heavy rain.
Fortunately, most stallholders and ride operators were able to accommodate the sudden date change, and the $20,000 annual event attracted a slightly bigger crowd than usual.
The meeting was told that now all bills had been paid, the Christmas Fair’s bank account showed a slightly higher balance than last year which proved the date change hadn’t had any negative impact.
However, the Christmas Fair will return to its normal position on the second Friday of December this year because it is “kinder” to operators and exhibitors.
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In general news, members were told that new owners have purchased the Murgon Laundromat and are currently in the process of installing a more modern facility at the Lamb Street premises.
Members also heard that thanks to upgrades carried out by the Council over the preceding year, the Murgon dump is currently in “the best shape it’s ever been in”.
The Murgon Dairy Museum advised it hopes to install a new building this year which will ultimately be converted to a combined bakery and butcher shop historical display.
The Museum’s committee also hope to complete renovation work on an existing building already on site, and are undertaking renovations to the Museum’s kitchen which will completely modernise the facility, thanks to a grant from Stanwell Corporation.
Finally, members were told Murgon’s IGA Supermarket has new owners; and that a new business called “Grow Up” which specialises in organic fertilisers has opened in the district.
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The next meeting of the MBDA will be a 6:30am breakfast meet at Raj’s Cafe which will feature several guest speakers.
Members will be advised of the meeting’s time and date in due course.
2015 memberships are also now open to any business in the area, including home businesses.
Membership dues are $66 per annum (including GST).
Membership forms and further information about the many benefits of membership can by obtained from MBDA secretary Margaret Long at Murgon Real Estate’s offices at 106 Lamb Street, by phoning her on (07) 4168-2922 or by emailing her