- In mid-August various events were held throughout Seniors Week, with Council securing a small grant and partnering with the Douglas Shire Community Services Association to deliver a morning tea activity and providing assistance to the Douglas Shire Seniors Inc for its annual seniors’ lunch.
- CEO Unit Officers were instrumental in the organisation of the Daintree Community Forum held on 28 August 2014. The forum was an opportunity for communities north of the Daintree River to meet with senior management of Council and to express opinions and concerns regarding the region. Officers also assisted in the coordination and participation of the Crocodile Information Session held on 20 August 2014.
- September saw officers assist with the promotion and participation of the Partners in Recovery Forum held 11 September; and coordination of the Citizenship Ceremony on National Citizenship Day with 20 residents taking the pledge. As part of Small Business Week, officers implemented a range of tools, information and funding/training/development opportunities on the website which was promoted through the Douglas Chamber of Commerce.
- CEO Unit Officers have formed a number of socially and economically beneficial partnerships and initiatives within Council, throughout the Shire and the region, including supporting Traditional Owner groups with funding applications, business opportunities and management of culturally sensitive areas; negotiation and commencement of a work experience program for the long-term unemployed; planning the “Get Ready” Resilience Road Show in conjunction with QLD Fire and Emergency Services; initial development of Accessible Douglas Directory; attendance of regional economic development workshop that involved Tablelands Regional Council, Cassowary Coast Regional Council and Taste Paradise; working across Council to develop and implement signage initiatives for the Daintree Gateway; the Green Buildings program has commenced within Council with a number of initiatives commencing that reduce energy consumption.
- The Douglas Community Housing Group, which comprises local and outreach services, has been reinvigorated and will collate the JCU report completed in 2012 titled “Homelessness in Douglas – It’s Much More Than Not Having A Roof Over Your Head” and all associated data to advocate to the Minister the needs of Douglas Shire.
- The CEO Unit is responsible for the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF). The second round of the program was opened on the 1 October 2014 and will close on the 1 December 2014.
- Officers have promoted the online film and TV locations database integrated with Screen Queensland to our communities to ensure images that capture the region at its best are in the database.
- Council has posted 45 items to its Facebook page over the last five weeks which reached 31,808 users, with each post reaching an average of 707 users.
- Work is continuing on reviewing the suite of Council policies that have been transferred from Cairns Regional Council. The first stage of this has been the Policy mapping to allocate responsible officers to review policy content. The outcome of the reviews will either see the policy retained without amendment, enhancements made or where appropriate the policies revoked. This project will take several months to complete and relevant reports will be presented to Council prior to the end of the financial year.
- During the month of September there were two tenders advertised that have been co-ordinated by the Governance section. These tenders are the Hire of Mobile and Fixed Plant (Wet & Dry) and the Lease of the Port Douglas Caravan Park. Both tenders have created a lot of interest in the general public. A public forum was held for the Wet and Dry Hire tenders, which proved to be a very popular meeting with in excess of 20 contractors attending. In addition, over 70 tender documents have been issued for this process. The lease of the Port Douglas Caravan Park has created considerable interest as well, with approximately 17 documents issued.
- The position of Caretaker at the Wonga Beach Caravan Park has also been advertised. After 17 years, Cecilia Pinkstone who has fulfilled the role of caretaker has tendered her resignation with an effective date of 31 October 2014. Cecilia, with her husband Trevor, commenced in 1997 and during these years significantly increased the patronage of the park with many visitors returning on an annual basis. Even at this early stage of advertising this vacancy has created a high level of enquiry.
- Staff from the Queensland Audit Office (QAO) were in attendance last week undertaking the final audit of Council’s 2013/14 financial statements. A special meeting of Council will be scheduled prior to the end of October to present the 2013/14 financial statements as there is a legislative requirement for the audit to be finalised by 31 October 2014, including the QAO sign-off.
- The first half yearly rate notices were issued on 28 July 2014 with a due date for payment being 28 August 2014. At the expiry of this period Council had received approximately 75 per cent of value of rate notices issued. The Rates Section has since issued approximately 1,800 letters to ratepayers who have overlooked the due date for payment. This is the first phase of Council’s debt recovery program to actively follow up on all outstanding debts.
- “Get to grips with computer basics at Mossman Library” has resumed with the Library currently offering classes in Computer basics and Introduction to Email and Internet. Additional classes will be added when Wi-Fi becomes available.
- Rob Hubbard, a local poet, launched his new poetry book “Distinctively Daintree” at Mossman Library and community members will be able to meet Rosalind Brenner, author of “Kalisz: a journey of return” when she visits in October.
- The Library’s partnership with Birch Carroll & Coyle and Event Cinemas has been a successful one. “The Boxtrolls” was the latest colouring in competition and 10 people received family passes to the movies. “Gone Girl”, based on the book by Gillian Flynn is now open to adults borrowing from Mossman and Port Douglas Libraries.
- The Library is currently building a partnership with ABC Open Learning. This will see Gemma Deavin visit in early November to conduct workshops on “Getting to know your digital camera” and writing. This increases the service level offered to the community and ensures that the Library continues to be used as a creative learning community space.
- Douglas Libraries were asked to contribute to the “Arts for all Queenslanders strategy” blog (http://www.arts.qld.gov.au/blog/index.php/holiday-reading/) with regard to the Tourist card provided by State Library of Qld. The post provides a great example of how small, thoughtful ideas can offer great services and how cultural tourism can be strengthened by existing local facilities.
- For the month of August the Mossman and Port Douglas Libraries had 6909 visitors; 7393 loans; 624 reservations satisfied; 34 inter-library loans; 58 new members and 166 children enjoyed the regular Storytime and Baby rhyme time sessions held each Thursday morning at 10.30am.
- Following de-amalgamation and due to existing contractual arrangements, the Douglas After Hours Service was diverted through Cairns Regional Council. Feedback received from customers identified that this process was causing some confusion. Negotiations were held with the existing After Hours Contract provider to implement Douglas’s own After Hours arrangement. This was successfully implemented on Friday 5th September 2014.
- Councillor workshops are continuing with recent topics including Bush Living and Film Production. Drafting of the new Planning Scheme is well underway and a first draft document should be available to Councillors within the next two months.
- A list of planning applications and links to the common material for each application is on the Council website. The new format enables easy access for Councillors and the public.
Local laws officers have responded to a large number of issues recently including the following:
- Received through Customer Request Management:
– nineteen dog barking complaints
– seventeen illegal camping complaints
– fifteen dog stray/roaming complaints
– two dog attacks investigated and resolved.
- Investigated and resolved six miscellaneous local laws complaints including burning rubbish, quad bikes on beaches and illegal clearing.
- Thirteen dogs were impounded or surrendered to Council. Three dogs were registered and returned to owners, three were re-homed, one is still impounded and six were euthanized.
- Five cats were impounded as a result of being caught in Council supplied traps. Two cats were returned to their owners and the other three were de-sexed and re-homed.
- Assistance was provided by the police on approximately six separate occasions to assist in dealing with illegal campers and buskers without permits who refused to abide by Council officer directions.
- Twenty-nine Inspection/Investigation Notices relating to local laws complaints, particularly dogs, were issued.
- Five abandoned vehicles were towed away.
- Seven overgrown allotment notices were issued.
- Officers conducted an audit of abandoned vehicles that have been towed in the past few months and started the process to dispose of them.
- Licence Renewals are underway for Food Premises with Accommodation and Swimming Pool renewals are to follow shortly.
- The Daintree intake access track was successfully completed by Water and Waste staff on 26 August 2014. The access to maintain the Daintree water intake has become a safety concern in recent years and this upgrade will ensure safe access even after severe weather events.
- The construction of the new 3.5km water mains in Syndicate Road commenced on the 9 September 2014. All materials have been ordered and received and to date a total of 410 metres of 100mm class 16 pipe has been installed by the water reticulation team.
- A Gas Chlorination Project Inaugural Steering Committee Meeting/Workshop took place on 9 September 2014. The engineering consultancy GHD was appointed to assist with the project management and to mentor water and wastewater staff members in a complex project management environment. Principal decisions were made during the inaugural workshop and a design register was established, allocating tasks and target dates to members of the steering committee. Work is focussing on three installation localities: the Mossman water plant, Craiglie reservoir and the Mossman wastewater plant.
- For the period 19 August to 26 September, a total of 168 water samples were taken in the four water supply schemes and tested by a NATA accredited laboratory for physical, chemical and microbiological parameters. All tested parameters in water samples taken were compliant with ADW Guidelines during this period.
- Wastewater compliance samples are taken from the treatment processes, bio-solids, final effluent and receiving waters. All parameters tested were compliant with licence conditions.
- The landfill at Killaloe and the transfer stations are sampled and monitored according to EHP licence conditions and the Killaloe Transitional Environmental Program (TEP). All parameters tested were compliant during August and September.
- The road asphalt program was completed in early September. This includes Junction Road, sections of Snapper Island Drive and Shannonvale Road. Bitumen reseals were also completed for sections of Syndicate Road, Finlayvale Road, Whitely Road and South Arm Drive. Line markers are in the area marking new sealed works and urgent safety hold lines.
- Santacatterina Road Floodway is fifty percent complete. The crew will work on Miallo State School wheel chair access next week, then return to complete the Santacatterina Road Floodway. The program aims to complete the school works during the September school holidays.
- Works started on the Miallo State School Bus Shelter (capital works) in conjunction with funds from Department of Education to upgrade an all access wheel chair friendly pathway from the School car park into the school grounds. This includes the relocation/repositioning of the existing bus shelter in the car park area.
- Contractors have commenced the earthworks for the Connelly Road concrete causeway. This will be funded by the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) for reconstruction (like-for-like), Flood Resilience 40 per cent and Council 60 per cent.
- The road maintenance grading program is now north of the Daintree River Forest Creek area and heading towards Cape Tribulation. The Daintree gravel roads are not included in this maintenance program as these are included in the NDRRA submission. The street sweeping program is currently in the Mossman area and heading north.
- The grass slashing program is winding down due to slow grass growth rate at this time of the year from reduced rainfall and warming weather conditions. These officers will be engaged on other Council work activities.
- The bitumen road patching program is on normal operation. They have completed Port Douglas and south of Port Douglas and have now moved to Cape Tribulation area to deal with the extreme potholing.
- Construction of the Woobadda Bridge continues to progress with the two bridge bands (arches) in place and structural tie-in activities including the access approaches. Douglas and Cook Council representatives met onsite during September for a site inspection with Douglas Shire Council Superintendent. This project is scheduled to be completed late 2014 (prior to the next wet season).
- Submission claims for emergent works and the restoration of essential public assets (REPA) works totalling $14,546,180 have been lodged over past weeks with the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA). In the last fortnight officers have been advised by QRA that $10,842,950 has been approved by QRA to date. Some of the submissions lodged remain to be assessed by QRA and further minor claims are to still to be compiled and submitted by Council.
- Council can now make a start on many of the works that have been delayed while waiting for these approvals. Until recently the northern areas of the Shire (e.g. Creb Track, Zig Zag, China Camp (Buru) were inaccessible. An engineering consultancy has been appointed to undertake the damage assessment and a further claim for the restoration of roads and infrastructure in that area was lodged with QRA this week (included in the above). It is expected that claims totalling approximately $15 million from declared disaster events in 2014 will finally be lodged.
- The Queensland Government is committed to supporting our regional communities and through the Royalties for the Regions program and will invest $495 million over four years. The program aims to provide an economic future for Queensland’s regions, beyond mining and resources, by investing in targeted infrastructure projects. Round Four of this Program is in process now. Council has submitted an application for the Port Douglas Reservoir. This is for funding contribution for the construction of the proposed drinking water supply 20ML reservoir.
- Engineering Operational works actions completed include: Cooya Beach Ocean Breeze Stage 3A1 has been accepted for On Maintenance; Cooya Beach Ocean Breeze Stage 5B Decision Notice for Operation Works Completed; Port Pacific Stage 3 and 4 Request for Confirmation of Legal Point of Discharge and Flood Model Updated sent to Cardno; and the Central Hotel Bottle Shop Warner Street External Works Configuration Approved with construction commenced.
- Council has received quotes for the landscaping of the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) roundabout / intersection of Captain Cook Highway and Port Douglas Road. Council met with DTMR to review the received designs to ensure compliance. Council also met with the landscapers to seek reviewed designs (scopes) and more accurate quotes. DTMR funding will be provided upon completion of the landscaping works. This project is to be completed by 30 June 2015.
- Beach sand nourishment is completed at Newell Beach for the moment as the stockpiled dredge sand from the Daintree River has been exhausted. All fallen trees have now been removed from Newell Beach.
- Two Corrective Service workers have joined Council’s public spaces teams for a limited program of works. One of Council’s Corrective Service workers completed his program in Mossman and has recently started another. Port Douglas still has one Corrective Service labourer completing his program.
- Council’s pest management team has been busy surveying the hills of Whyanbeel for Miconia covering many kilometres. Three species of Miconia are known to occur in Queensland. All three species pose a significant threat to our rainforests and are targeted for eradication. Other common names for Miconia include velvet tree, bush currant and/or purple plague.
- A helicopter survey for Hiptage has been completed with follow-up required to treat pest plants that were identified. Hiptage is a vine-like shrub native to parts of Asia. Originally planted as a garden ornamental, Hiptage has since established wild populations at several locations in coastal Queensland. Pest risk assessment presents evidence that Hiptage has the potential to become a significant pest.
- Daintree Gateway Stage One is progressing with areas marked out and prepared for nativethemed garden beds. Exotic pest tree species (non-native trees) were removed as part of the project. The planning is underway for the installation of a modern user-friendly and accessible public toilet block.
- Installation of the new solar panels on the Council administration building roof has been completed. The expected payback period for the solar panels from grid power savings is three years.
- With the changeover of the TV network broadcasting signal, Council plans are underway to upgrade the Mossman black spot tower ready for the change over at the end of the year. Repairs have also been completed on the Cow Bay Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) transmitter which failed in the last weeks and was sent away for repair.