August 15, 2018
South Burnett Regional Council will not begin construction work on Kingaroy’s CBD upgrade this year but planning for the project will still go ahead.
At Wednesday’s monthly meeting, Councillors voted to place a $2 million loan the Council has taken for the project into a restricted cash reserve, and continue work on preliminary designs instead.
This work would include drawing up a schedule of quantities and preliminary costings that would take into account feedback Council had received during public consultations in March.
In July last year, South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell announced the Council would set aside $2 million each year in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 budgets to build a $4 million war chest for the project.
It would then seek a matching contribution from State or Federal Government grant programs so work on the $8 million upgrade could commence as soon as funding was secured.
Early this year, the Council submitted an application to the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) for a $2 million contribution to the project, and also drew down a $2 million loan from Queensland Treasury in anticipation its grant application would be successful.
However, in July, the Council found its BBRF application had been declined.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Councillors were told Round 3 of BBRF was expected to open for applications later this year, and the Council intended to resubmit its application.
In the meantime – until funding was secured – officers recommended the best course of action was to continue to refine plans for the project.
The Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been agitating for a start on the project.
Speaking after the meeting, KCCI president Rob Fitz-Herbert said the group accepted Council’s decision.
“If the Council start working on the streetscape now, they would be ineligible to resubmit to BBRF because it only funds shovel-ready projects,” Mr Fitz-Herbert said.
“We would rather see the Council secure the funding it needs first, even if that means a bit of a delay.
“However, once funding is secured we’d like to see work start as soon as possible.”
Mr Fitz-Herbert said many things that came up during the public consultation process – like adding RV parking spaces to the CBD, or improving existing car parks – could be done fairly quickly.
“We’d like to see that happen,” he said.