Members of the SBCO Strings Ensemble provided the musical entertainment at November’s inaugural Dinner Under The Stars, which kicked off BMCAI’s fundraising drive for a Bunya Mountains Cultural Centre (Photo: BMCAI)

November 30, 2021

The location of a proposed Bunya Mountains Cultural Centre is still uncertain after two parcels of Council land were rejected as unsuitable.

The Bunya Mountains Community Association Inc (BMCAI), which has begun fundraising to build the centre, said the only vacant land on the South Burnett side of the mountains was a small block located opposite the Bunya Mountains Rural Fire Brigade’s shed.

While the block’s ownership could have been transferred to the South Burnett Regional Council by Queensland’s Parks and Wildlife Service, it was considered unsuitable because of the block’s small size, steep slope and difficult access to the Bunya Mountains Road.

Another site – two blocks of land at the corner of Ensor and Tolmie streets owned by the Western Downs Regional Council – was also ruled out because of its steepness, and because Myall Creek runs through it.

However, BMCAI have identified a third site opposite Russell Park near the TV towers, and an approach has been made to the Western Downs Regional Council about it.

A meeting to discuss the site will be held with the Council next month.

* * *

BMCAI will apply to the next round of the Federal Government’s Stronger Communities Program for a $20,000 grant to convert a walking track in Allan Stirling Memorial Park to wheelchair accessible.

The lack of wheelchair accessible walking tracks and facilities in the Bunya Mountains as been raised as an issue of concern by several members of the public this year, a BMCAI spokesperson said.

BMCAI has contacted National Parks to determine what they might be planning to do, and were told current planned improvements included accessibility, but these plans haven’t yet been progressed.

BMCAI believes the gentle slopes of Allan Stirling Memorial Park would make it relatively easy to upgrade the track to make it wheelchair – and pram – friendly, but it would require gravel resurfacing to make it an all-weather facility.

BMCAI will also examine the Munro’s Camp Walking Track built by the Bunya Mountains Natural History Association, which was wheelchair-friendly when it was built.

The group will approach Western Downs Regional Council to see if that track could be returned to its original condition.

* * *

BMCAI have asked the Department of Transport and Main Roads to look at reducing the speed limit in the built-up area of Bunya Mountains Road between the National Parks workshop gate and Mt Mowbullan to 50km/h.

It has also asked the South Burnett Regional Council to add red painted zones to its Bunya Avenue upgrade to alert drivers to the 30km/h speed zone that now applies in that area.

The have also asked the Council to clean up overgrown foliage, hanging branches and vines on the roadsides below Burton’s Well, and to fix a deep washout on the Bunya Mountains Road between Russell Park’s entry and exit.

The SBRC has completed part of this work since it was approached, and has told BMCAI it is in negotiations with DTMR and National Parks regarding the remainder.

Meanwhile, Western Downs Regional Council were advised in August that the “Road Opened 1921” sign on Bunya Mountains Road had gone missing again.

Western Downs Regional Council has since replaced it.

* * *

South Burnett Regional Council has told BMCAI it wants to introduce rural addressing in its portion of the Bunya Mountains to improve access for emergency services.

The Council estimated there are approximately 200 properties in its portion of the mountains that could benefit from a rural addressing scheme, and officers will submit a report to the SBRC’s Infrastructure Standing Committee, then seek an appropriate source of funding.

The SBRC generally supplies an initial rural address free of charge, but any subsequent replacement numbering is at the property owner’s cost.

Property owners are also usually responsible for applying to Council for a rural address, but given the complex home occupancy arrangements in the Bunya Mountains, BMCAI feels the matter is an important safety issue.

It will discuss implementation with the Council and report back to members on the outcome of those discussions.

* * *

The inaugural Dinner Under The Stars was a resounding success for BMCAI’s Social and Events sub-committee, attracting a capacity 100 guests for a night-time dinner under the stars at Dandabah on November 13.

Guests were treated to a three-course dinner, entertainment from the South Burnett Community Orchestra’s Strings Ensemble, guest speaker John Carey, a silent auction and a tour of the night sky by Bunya Mountains astro-photographer Donna Glass.

The event was jointly sponsored by Stanwell Corporation, Tarong and Meandu Mine, the Western Downs and South Burnett Regional councils and The Bunyas Tavern, with many Bunya Mountains businesses, groups and individuals providing auction items.

Proceeds of the night will be invested in an account set up to fund the future Bunya Mountains Cultural Centre, and it seems likely the dinner will become an annual fundraiser.

Another fundraiser – less ambitious but more frequent – is a regular Bunnings sausage sizzle that BMCAI now runs in Dalby and Kingaroy every three months.

The next Kingaroy sausage sizzle will be on December 18.

Guests at Dinner Under The Stars were treated to a three course meal, a silent auction and a tour of the night skies, amongst other things (Photo: Cr Scott Henschen)

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