Budget focus on maintaining critical infrastructure

Cairns Regional Council has announced a $124.5 million Capital Works program with a focus on upgrading, renewing and maintaining core infrastructure.

Mayor Bob Manning said Council was continuing to invest in its water, wastewater, drainage and transport infrastructure networks to meet growing demand and ensure services met community expectations.

“This Budget has a focus on safeguarding and upgrading core infrastructure through targeted investment so that critical facilities and equipment provides an appropriate return on investment.

“We’ll be spending around $49.3 million this year on water and wastewater improvements, plus $26.8 million on the road network, and $4.6 million on footpaths, and cycleways to promote active travel.

“These projects form the basis of a safe and liveable city that can cope with increased demand into the future.

Cr Manning also pointed to the $4.4 million allocated in this year’s Budget for the Cairns Water Security – Stage 1 project, which is critical to the city’s future prosperity.

“We are hopeful that we will receive government support for this $215 million project, which sources new water from the Mulgrave River to supplement the entire Cairns water network, from Aloomba to Palm Cove.

“As Council’s official number one priority advocacy project, we continue to brief representatives of the State and Federal Governments on this critical issue and have been encouraged by their acknowledgment of the importance of securing future water resources for our city.

“But, with no commitment to date, and in keeping with the responsible financial management that has been a hallmark of this Council for nearly a decade, we must take the necessary steps to ensure we have the capacity to draw down further debt to fund the project.”

The commitment of $124.5 million in the Capital Works program in this year’s Budget will bring the total amount of Capital Works delivered by Council over the past nine budget cycles to nearly $1.2 billion.

This year the Capital Works program allows for:

  • $50.5 million on roads, bridges, drainage, kerb and channel, shoulder sealing, and bus stops,
  • $23.8 million on improving the wastewater network,
  • $25.5 million on water and waste infrastructure, and
  • $14 million on community, sport, cultural and tourism projects

Some of the highlights of the program include:

COMMUNITY, SPORT, CULTURAL & TOURISM PROJECTS

Footpaths and Cycleways – $4.6 million

Council has allocated $4.6 million for the creation of footpaths, pathways and to promote active travel, including $2.4 million to progress the Northern Beaches Leisure Trail and $550,000 for a pedestrian/cycle bridge over Moody Creek in Westcourt.

There is also $650,000 to deliver new, strategic and high priority shared paths and associated infrastructure across suburbs to complete missing links in the active transport network.

Footpaths at Spence, Abbott and Wharf streets that run along the boundary of Anzac Park will be upgraded as part of a $1.15 million project, which will also include a $350,000 lighting upgrade.

Northern Beaches Leisure Trail – $2.4 million

Council has committed $2.4 million to continue construction of the Northern Beaches Leisure Trail, including $620,000 to complete the Barr Creek Bridge, linking Holloways Beach and Machans Beach with a shared pedestrian and cycleway.

The Budget commits $780,000 for completion of the Clifton Beach to Kewarra Beach link, which will connect the beachside suburbs with a bridge over the mouth of Deep Creek and adjoining shared paths connecting to the existing active transport network.

This section will connect to Kewarra Beach foreshore at Pelican Park on the southern side and the previously completed NBLT on the Clifton Beach (northern) side along Arlington Esplanade.

Over $500,000 has been committed to complete the link from Yorkeys Knob to Smithfield Village along Dunne Rd.

Council has also allocated $60,000 to progress designs for the link from Machans Beach to Aeroglen.

Givens Street Pedestrian Bridge – $550,000

Council will proceed with a $550,000 construction a 30-metre long and 2.5-metre wide pedestrian/cycle bridge over Moody Creek along Givens Street, at Coxall and Dillon streets.

The project will include the installation of new street lighting and CCTV within the bridge.

Cultural Facilities Renewals – 3.9 million

Council has set aside $2m this financial year to progress the Cairns Gallery Precinct.

The works – funded by the Federal Government – will involve the demolition of the L-shaped building and carpark on 51 Esplanade and refurbishment of the Old Mulgrave Shire building.

Council has allocated $108,000 to complete work on the refurbishment of the heritage-listed Court House building on Abbott St.

Once complete, the Cairns Gallery Precinct project plans to transform and link three heritage-listed buildings – the Court House, Cairns Art Gallery and the former Mulgrave Shire Council offices – and a new contemporary gallery, to create a dynamic and world-class precinct in the heart of the city.

The Cairns Performing Arts Centre will benefit from $100,000 in this year’s Budget for the replacement and renewal of equipment to ensure the facility continues to meet the needs of world-class performers.

There is also $1.56 million allocated for upgrades to the Tanks Arts Centre, including $1.1 million for a new catering hub, storage and toilet facilities at Tank 3, and $468,000 for a state-of-the-art digital public address system at Tank 5.

An allocation of $53,000 will also allow Council to undertake a review of the former Botanic Gardens masterplan and develop a new site masterplan for the iconic precinct.

Sporting Facilities – $3.9 million

Griffiths Park – $3.7 million

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