Highlights from the CEO Report 10 February 2015. The full report is available by clicking HERE.
Community Partners and Activities
- In December 2014, Douglas Shire Community Services Association held the Mossman Community Christmas in the Park event. This was attended by at least 1500 people with a wide variety of free activities for the children. Council provided funding to support this event and the CEO Unit arranged the venue on the day.
- In December 2014 the CEO unit recommended and Council resolved to support the Taste Port Douglas event that will be held in August 2015. This event will promote the Shire as a destination of choice with a particular focus on the restaurant scene and local produce.
- The Extreme Weather Event photographic competition and Exhibition in the foyer of the Council building has been very well received by the community. A cyclone kit was presented to the winners of the two categories. The Exhibition is still on display and will remain until the end of February.
- The Wonga Beach Skate Park Street Art workshops were held between 12 -16 January 2015. The workshops were a huge success with up to 25 young people attending each day throughout the week. This project saw participants from Mossman Gorge, the Youth Centre and young people from Wonga Beach participate and put their ideas onto the park. Parents also attended each day and supported their children’s participation.
- The CEO Unit has implemented a number of ‘Green’ initiatives throughout December and January. These have been internal to Council employees and to the community. These include but are not limited to:
* Promoting the recycling points for printer cartridges and mobile phones
* Fact sheets and posters about reducing waste and increasing recycling over the Christmas period
* Reviewing Council’s Reef Guardian Action Plan in conjunction with other departments of Council
* Rotary park litter clean up with users of the park and other key stakeholders including Tangaroa Blue.
- While economic development projects are undertaken across all areas of Council, the work of the CEO Unit over the past six months has included:
* Development and collation of business resource information and tools. Council has identified a number of business portals and links that support business which can be accessed HERE
* Industry / business profile of the Shire is located at HERE
* Promotion of ‘Local buy’ – Council utilises local suppliers, contractors and businesses where possible. In conjunction with the Douglas Chamber of Commerce, Council promoted ‘Local buy’ during small business week
* promoted events using Council’s website and Facebook page.
* Officers have worked with other areas of Council and local job networks to provide real work experience opportunities. This also assists in up-skilling the current labour force to be ‘job ready’.
* Officers met with an advisor from the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning to discuss industry specific workshops/forums.
* Officers have added Instagram to the social media portfolio. This will be an opportunity to showcase the Shire as a destination across the world as launched by Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree on Monday 2 February 2015.
* New tools, soon to be uploaded to Council’s website include the ‘Access Douglas Directory’ and the ‘Missed Business’ resources – now in their final stages of development. Once completed these tools will support businesses in making their services more accessible.
* Initial meetings with event managers of major international events for 2015 such as Ironman and the Crocodile Trophy have commenced.
- CEO Unit officers have been involved in a range of initiatives and networks in the Shire:
* The Mayor’s Christmas Appeal saw the packing and delivery of 42 hampers with assistance from the Uniting Church and St Vincent de Paul.
* Worked in collaboration with the community and across Council to erect the Christmas lighting as part of a five year plan.
* Supported the delivery of the PaCE Parent Forum on the 19 November and the 16 December 2014
* Assisting with the Daniel Smith memorial at Sugar Wharf
* Developed and assisted with the Go Douglas! Celebrating 2014 e-book
* Assisted with planning for the Chamber of Commerce New Year’s Eve firework display (supported by Council funding)
* Organised the Cape Tribulation Playground official opening
* Planned and implemented the Australia Day and Citizenship Ceremony
* Attendance at the CAN meeting, the Liquor Accord, Youth Network, Public Safety, Indigenous Inter Agency, TPDD information session.
Works by local Yalanji artists
The Daintree Gateway signage project has seen the interpretative signage reviewed and updated and a call for Yalanji artists to submit concept designs for the feature signage and artwork for the Daintree Ferry signage.
Targeted consultation has taken place with the Traditional Owners of the land that the signage will sit upon and a report with the options is to be submitted to Council at the March 2015 Ordinary Meeting.
Funding for the Community
- The Community Support Program opened on 2 February 2015 and close on the 2 March 2015. An information session was held on 5 February at 10am in the Council Chambers.
- The Regional Arts Development Fund also opened on 2 February and will close on 2 March. An information session was held on 5 February at 2 pm in the Council Chambers. The first round of Council’s Regional Arts Development Fund opened on 1 October 2014 and closed 1 December 2014. Four projects were funded to the amount of $8850.
- Council’s grant funding workbook is regularly updated and emailed to the local networks in mid-January 2015. It is anticipated this will be emailed out the first Monday every two months.
- Council secured $16,408 in funding to deliver a ‘Get out Get Active’ women in sport program. The project is aimed at women not currently engaged in sport and is expected commence in June 2015.
- Work is continuing on reviewing all 168 policies transferred from Cairns Regional Council during the de-amalgamation implementation. A report will be presented to Council this financial year adopting, amending or revoking all remaining policies.
- The Property Section within Governance is handling a substantial work load at present with 32 cases currently active. The Property Section has also enjoyed having a local third year Town Planning student undertaking work experience over several weeks. This young local student’s research skills have been well utilised investigating Native Title and various tenure issues.
- A full review of the Frontline Facility Booking process has been underway, with public meetings held to gain feedback from both the commercial users and the private hirers. As a result a computerised booking system has been identified and testing has completed. It is anticipated to have this system established and live before the commencement of the Wedding Season this year. This review has identified that Council currently has a cancellation rate of 56% for facilities; as a result the current fee collection process will be amended from 1st March. From this date all relevant fees are to be paid in full within fourteen (14) days of booking. Should payment not be received in that timeframe, it will invoke an automatic cancellation of the booking. This together with the online booking system should reduce the cancellations and increase efficiencies for the Frontline Services team.
- Review on the Port Douglas Markets has commenced, with the Market Co-ordinator constructing a list of survey questions. These will be reviewed and released within the next month. The plan is to engage and consult with all the current market stall holders and the broader community. Once data has been collected, a comprehensive review of the Market Operations, including the Markets Policy and terms and conditions, will be undertaken.
Finance and Information Technology
- Council has commenced the Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) credit review process, which involves the population of the QTC Local Government Forecasting Model, a presentation of strategic information to QTC representatives and an assessment by QTC of Council’s financial sustainability rating. Work has also commenced on a high level budget review of Council’s current budget and key adjustments required as part of this review will also be incorporated into the QTC model data to reflect an updated projection for the 2014/15 financial year and any associated changes in subsequent years of the long term forecast. Following this work will be the commencement of the preparation of Council’s 2015/16 draft budget.
- Council has issued 9,290 half yearly rates notices covering the period 1 January to 30 June 2015. These notices have a due date for payment of 24 February 2015.
- Council’s water meter reading contractors have commenced the next cycle of meter reads and the next water usage notices will be issued around late February.
- Council’s new electronic payments system “eServices” (via SecurePay) was implemented in January and allows for credit card payments to be received via Council’s website, including rates, water, debtors, outdoor dining permits and animal registration renewals.
- The Audio/Video upgrades for the Council chambers have been commenced and will be completed during February.
The months of December and January have been a busy time for the Mossman Library with over 12,000 people visiting their local Library to enjoy the cool space.
During the same period 102 people have joined their Library; 12,500 items have been borrowed; 35 inter-library loans processed and 280 people have attended library programs and activities.
Children enjoyed a range of activities which included the State Library of Queensland’s “Summer Reading Club”; Christmas card making; a colouring in competition to win free tickets
to the “Night at the Museum” movie; craft activities; “Lego and K’nex for Junior Builders”; Storytime and plenty of games and puzzles available to stimulate young minds.
Development and Environment
- Councillor workshops have resumed with the first working draft of the Planning Scheme being provided for Councillor comment. Workshops will continue over the next month or two then targeted informal consultation will be undertaken.
- Details of development applications and links to documentation as required by legislation are on the Council website. In addition to the mandatory material, Council also publishes other common material on its website relating to these applications for the information of the public and Councillors. The information is updated regularly, however, there is always some time difference between the date of lodgement and record processing and web posting occurring. The material required to be published does not include decisions by private building certifiers or Council concurrence agency referrals and decisions provided to private building certifiers pursuant to those referrals for example in relation to building siting dispensations. Accordingly these are not on the website. Development applications determined or under assessment in the period 1 January 2014 to February 2015 (including siting dispensations) are:
Material Change of Use (Code Assessable) 54
Material Change of Use (Impact Assessable) 14
Combined (Material Change of Use & Reconfiguring a Lot) 4
Superseded Planning Scheme 4
Tidal Works 2
Reconfiguring a Lot 18
Operational Works 23
Requests for siting dispensations 40
Total applications 158
- The appeal lodged in relation to 27 Murphy Street was heard and determined by the Planning and Environment Court in early December. The appeal was dismissed. The three appeals lodged in relation to 36 Murphy Street were dismissed by consent Court order in late January 2015. All appeals have now been disposed of on terms favourable to Council which is an excellent result and supports the position being taken by Council in relation to applying the requirements of the Planning Scheme.
Local Laws/Environmental Health/Plumbing
The unit continues to be very busy with a combination of permit and licensing renewals and administration, and enforcement activities. Animal management issues continue to occupy a significant proportion of officer time. Actions include:
- Plumbing procedures and forms developed
- A register to manage Gates and Grids has been created
- Portable advertising renewals started. This has been a lengthy process including setting up debit accounts for first time which will enable more efficient renewals and payment options going forward
- Portable advertising and Goods on Footpath audit has been undertaken. Businesses with unregistered items will be written to and sent the appropriate forms
- All food and accommodation premises have been written to providing a reminder and advice about dengue prevention
- A SPER and Infringements Register has been established to enable the unpaid fines to be recovered via the State enforcement process
- 9 abandoned vehicles were towed
- 14 dogs were impounded or surrendered to Council
- A dog impounded by Council and found to have a microchip was reunited with its owners in Brisbane after having been “missing”, assumed stolen, for approx. 18 months. The dog was flown home
From Dec/Jan the following customer requests have been have been investigated or attended to:
- 5 Dog attacks
- 10 Dog barking complaints
- 12 Dog stray/off lead
- 6 Dog rushing out/bailing up
- 9 Local Laws Miscellaneous including illegal dumping and fires/burning off
- 6 Animal Management Miscellaneous including complaints about animals in poor condition etc.
- 6 Overgrown lots
- Further complaints regarding roosters, bulls and horses.
- Disaster management preparations have been ongoing with an emphasis being placed on the upskilling of staff with a qualification or skills to assist in disaster management or provide increased resilience in Douglas communities. Staff have completed training in four wheel drive skills, first aid, CPR, cyclone storm tide shelter (CSTS) management and acting as a fire warden. Training to occur over the next two (2) months includes level 1 and 2 chainsaw, traffic management, community disaster intelligence, and various preparation and operational skills for the successful activation and operation of the CSTS and the Local Disaster Coordination Centre (LDCC). Through February and March a number of exercises will also be held to test the current Disaster Plan. These exercises will involve the activation of the CSTS and the LDCC and will include a cyclone scenario.
- Staff are also working on the incorporation of a disaster to develop interoperability and data sharing platforms such as INCSnap and TOMs to enhance operations and safety during emergency and disaster response. IncSnap is a system where photographs and information is fed back to the Local Disaster Management Group and into the Total Operational Mapping system (TOMs). The TOMS is a system where intelligence and situation reports are mapped on a GIS system and used for disaster response and planning. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services are providing the TOMs system to Council for use in disaster management.
- Council is also undertaking a trial of the redi EXPOSURE Storm Tide AHD Dashboard. The redi dashboard has been developed by the Public Safety Business Agency and is a disaster risk register and planning tool that provides population, infrastructure and demographic information based on predicted storm tide heights. Douglas is the only Local Government to have provided the storm tide data from our own studies. This data and the system will now be tested against various scenarios to determine the operationally of the system and validate the data.
- An automatic flood gauge is being installed at Daintree Village and this is planned to be completed by the end of February.
- Connolly causeway has been completed having been upgraded to a concrete causeway as part of flood mitigation works.
- Designs are now finalised for Whyanbeel, Mowbray River Road and Degarra causeway upgrades. Construction of the Mowbray River Road causeway will go out to tender in early February, 2015.
- Footpath and footbridge works have commenced in January as part of the capital works program.
- Maintenance grading has been completed north of the Daintree River, including the China Camp area. The exception is Upper Daintree and the first 9 km of the Bloomfield Track, as these are subject to the NDRRA processes.
- Construction of the Woobadda Bridge has been substantially completed and the new bridge has been in use since late December, 2014.
Public and Natural Areas
- Our Land Management team conducted 154 man hours treating 3.1ha of declared pest / weeds hymenachne and Salvinia at Wonga Beach.
- The Daintree Feral Pig trapping Program destroyed a total of 15 pigs for the month. The team also conducted a very successful 1080 baiting program in late December 2014 that destroyed at least 25 pigs at Craiglie.
- Our Public Spaces team have completed the majority of landscaping works for the Daintree Gateway project. All roadside and intersection gardens are now completed including the installation of a solar powered bore pump for irrigation, with just two gardens remaining to be planted at the entrance to the carpark. The landscaping around the new toilet block will be finished this month after completion of the new toilet block.
- An external inspector has completed a safety and compliance audit of all Council’s playground equipment. Staff are now working on rectifying faults/ defects detected on a priority basis.
- Landscaping commenced on the road verges of the Port Douglas Roundabout Project in January. The road verges are now close to completion. Our contractor is progressing traffic management plans with DTMR ready to proceed with the installation of the selected roundabout design.
- Concrete slabs have been installed in Market Park, Four Mile park and the waterfront area in preparation for seating and picnic table upgrades.
- A planning process has been conducted onsite at Teamsters Park to upgrade the site. Wetland improvement works have been conducted to enhance the natural aesthetics of the area.
- New tractors with 5 in 1 bucket capabilities have been put into service north of the Daintree River and Port Douglas. A new crew cab truck is on order for the Public and Natural Areas team in Port Douglas. These new additions will be of great benefit in effective maintenance activities including disaster response and road clearing.
- A new 55kva Generator has been installed at the Mossman Depot to provide back-up power to the Depot. This installation substantially improves Council’s disaster response capabilities.
- Progress on the Daintree Gateway Toilet Block is going well. The toilet facility is close to completion with the holding tank and the septic tank having been installed in January. The final stages of the project include connecting to power, plumbing and water.
- A tidy up and improvement for signage at the Daintree Bus Shelter has been completed to help improve the presentation of advertising for local businesses and for the distribution of Council information.
Water and Wastewater
- The sewer relining and manhole projects have been completed. A total of 1550 metres of 225mm and 150mm sewers were relined in Sorrento Crescent, Seabrook Avenue, Solander Boulevard, Wharf Street (Port Douglas) and in Pringle Street, Alchera Drive, Johnston Road (Mossman). Six sewer pump stations were successfully upgraded.
- Water restrictions were lifted in the Douglas Shire on 9 January 2015 after some welcome rain in the region. Intake stream water levels have increased due to good intermittent showers and the Rex Creek level has stabilised above the critical water restriction trigger level during January. Some storm events have resulted in a number of minor turbidity events with only minor impacts to plant production and no overall net effects to the supply schemes.
- Electrical storms are impacting on Ergon power supplies causing power spikes and temporary blackouts resulting in plant trips and associated equipment failures at the water and wastewater plants. Telemetry and Telstra services are also impacted negatively as a result of these storms and all measures are taken to protect infrastructure and ensure compliance.
- Installation of a stainless steel lining of the water race at Rex Creek Intake is now completed. Timing in this project was critical in terms of levels in Creek and ability of plant to recover when the water intake was blocked off during installation. All major works are now completed with minor works to be finalised. This has resulted in increased flows from the creek into the trunk mains which feed the Mossman Water Treatment Plant.
- The upgrade of the Syndicate Road mains was completed on 19 December 2014 and will secure water supply to this area for many years to come. A total of 3.5km of 100mm main installed and include twelve new service connections, five new hydrants and four new sluice valves.
- Drinking water is sampled at intakes, reservoirs, treatment plants and in the reticulation network to ensure compliance with the Australian Drinking Water Guideline (ADWG). Water samples were taken in the 4 water supply schemes and tested by a NATA accredited laboratory and the Douglas Water Laboratory for physical, chemical and microbiological parameters. All tested parameters in water samples were compliant with ADW Guidelines during this period. Wastewater compliance samples are taken from bio-solids, final effluent, receiving waters and bores. All parameters tested were compliant with licence conditions.
National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) program
- Approved funding from the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) currently totals $13,424,245 with an additional $1,930,277 yet to be approved. Funding variations totalling $1,111,712 have been submitted to QRA and are being processed. The increase is primarily due to market rates being in excess of QRA funding allowances for most construction activities.
- Civil contractors Scott Earthmoving have completed restoration works on Cape Tribulation Bloomfield Road from Wujal Wujal to approx. 6km south of Woobadda Bridge as of 22 January 2015. The remainder of the road is scheduled to be restored as detailed below. Civil contractors Oakdare Holdings have also completed 10 Mile and China Camp roads, though the CREB track remains inaccessible and no work as a consequence has been attempted on this road to date.
- Documentation for four construction packages is proceeding with tenders expected to be called in early March for three road restoration packages and a landslip package expected in early May. Construction activities for all packages are anticipated to be complete by December 2015.