AN Ordinary Meeting of the Douglas Shire Council will be held on Tuesday, 23 February 2021 at 10:00a.m. at the Council Chambers, 64-66 Front Street, Mossman. Let’s take a closer look at items on the agenda below.
That Council adopts the Douglas Shire Council Infrastructure Charges Resolution (No.2) 2021.
Infrastructure charges influence both the financial viability of a development project, and Council’s ability to maintain and plan for future needs. So, the charges need to be balanced and fair. The proposed resolution replaces Council’s current Resolution (AICR). It enables charging for development giving due regard to credit for existing uses and vacant land, as well as discounts where reduced servicing is available.
The charges will assist in funding the cost of the trunk infrastructure networks. These networks are water supply, wastewater, transport and public parks and land for community facilities.
Assessable developments subject to the charges include reconfiguring a lot, making a material change of use of premises, and the carrying out of building work.
In a win for residents north of the Daintree, there will be no infrastructure charges for development.
That Council resolves to provide a letter of support to Connect Sport Australia to accompany their funding application for the Port Douglas Grand Fondo Festival to regional and state tourism bodies.
Far North Queensland-based Connect Sport Australia run cycling tours in Australia and Japan. They propose a landmark event for the Douglas Shire, the “Port Douglas Grand Fondo Festival”. Proposed dates of the inaugural event are 10 – 12 September 2021.
Their vision is to create an iconic, annual event that will become synonymous with Port Douglas. The event will help establish the Douglas Shire as the ultimate Australian destination for people looking to combine event participation with an adventure holiday.
It is estimated that in its first year the Port Douglas Grand Fondo Festival will deliver a cash injection of over $3.8M to the local economy. A 5% growth rate is expected each year thereafter.
As the event grows and participation builds there is potential for the event to deliver over $10M within four years.
Events are a catalyst to stimulate the local economy. They generate economic development opportunities, and activate green spaces and public places.
Council’s support recognises the vital role events play in attracting new, high-yield special-interest markets and generating business.
These factors help ensure the long-term sustainability of tourism, the region’s most significant industry and employer,.
But, success of the Festival is reliant on a half-day rolling road closure of sections of Captain Cook Highway. These closures are for Sunday 12 September 2021, from 5:30-11:30am between Palm Cove and Wangetti, and from 6am – 1:30pm for the Wangetti to Port Douglas section.
A rolling road opening means that as the last competitor comes through, the road is re-opened behind the rider. The road is re-opened to traffic including access to some side roads and sections of the Captain Cook Highway as soon as it is available. Emergency Services will have uninterrupted access to the Captain Cook Highway in the event of an emergency.
That Council endorses the following projects and funds under Phase Two of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program:
- Macrossan and Owen Street Intersection Upgrade $140,000.00
- Beach Access upgrades to Four Mile Beach $170,000
- Mossman Pool Shade Sails $90,000.00
- Pop up Engagement container/trailer $80,000.00
- Bump Track Access parking $27,981.00
That Council endorses the 2020 revised Drinking Water Quality Management Plan.
The Drinking Water Quality Management Plant (DWQMP) for Douglas Shire Council is a public health-based risk management plan. It meets requirements of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011 (ADWG) and the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 (WS Act).
The DWQMP describes the Mossman/Port Douglas, Whyanbeel and Daintree drinking water schemes operated by Douglas Shire Council from catchment to tap. It is a legislative requirement that a water service provider reviews their DWQMP every two years. If the review identifies that minor or major changes are required, the plan is submitted to the regulator for approval.
In March 2020, Douglas Shire Council conducted a review, and identified that the Water and Wastewater Department was required to make amendments to the plan,
Key amendments include:
- Updating system details and risk assessment considerations for modifications to the following schemes-adding the backwash recovery plant at Mossman Water Treatment Plant, and adding the Daintree bore and rainwater system as point sources for raw water supply
- Changes to monitoring and telemetry (SCADA) system
- Include cyber security as an identified risk in the risk assessment
- Update documented procedures, including new procedures
- Update the Risk Management Improvement Plan
- Update the verification monitoring program
That Council awards the Contract for the Donovan Range Pavement Upgrade to Geo Construct Pty Ltd for $2,617,323.85.
A contractor is required to construct a new concrete roadway upgrade at Donovan Range, located on the Cape Tribulation-Bloomfield Road.
The project budget is $3,910,918.00 with a contribution of $3,738,257.00 provided by the Queensland and Australian Governments.
In December 2020, Council issued an open tender invitation through Vendor Panel and seven submissions were received.
Cairns-based Geo Construct Pty Ltd is the recommended tenderer for the contract.
Council receives and notes the progress of the Capital Works Program to 31 December 2020 for the 2020/21 financial year.
- Due to the budget review held in November there are 152 projects due to be delivered valued at $33.454M
- Another three projects have been added since the budget review date
- Progress is behind target with a 39% WIP achieved, against a target of 80%. This discrepancy is due to a significant part of the works spread across multiple financial years)
- When considering only projects to be completed within the current financial year, progress is 62%
- Twenty-four projects were completed during the period
- An extra thirty-three projects were added to the delivery program
- These projects are worth $3.189M. They are derived from a combination of grant funding, Council resolution commitments and unplanned capital works projects
- Forty-one projects have been completed and $14.242M expended or committed to the market
That Council endorses applications to Building Better Regions Fund for:
- Mossman Shire Hall electrical, mechanical and building upgrades, including air conditioning
- Marrs Creek Cycle & Pedestrian Bridge and shared path to Mossman Gorge Centre
- Cooya Beach Reservoir Connection 2
That Council adopts the Rates Rebate – Not for Profit Entities Policy
That Council adopts the Rates Incentive for Conservation Policy.
The purpose of the policy is to establish the process for affording rates incentives to landholders that enter into a Conservation Agreement for a Nature Refuge.
Council may resolve to grant a ratepayer a concession for rates and charges provided specified criteria is met.
To be eligible for financial assistance, the following conditions must be met:
i. The owner enters into an agreement preserving/conserving flora and fauna on a rateable property within the boundaries of the Council.
ii. This agreement must be bound to the property title, in perpetuity, by a Conservation Agreement for a Nature Refuge under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 or a Voluntary Declaration under the Vegetation Management Act 1999.
The rates incentive is proportionately attributed to the area of land included in an agreement. The rates incentive will be credited to the recipient’s rates notice before being issued.
Council will provide the following financial assistance:
- Where more than 50% of the total area of the property is covered by a Nature Refuge Agreement, a discount of 50% of the general rate is offered
- Where less than 50% of the total area of the property is covered by a Nature Refuge Agreement, a discount of 35% of the general rate is offered
That Council adopts the Rates Rebate for Daintree River Huts Policy. The policy establishes the process for the provision of a rates rebate for rateable land on the banks of the South Arm and the Heads of the Daintree River that are occupied by holders of Permits to Occupy (fishing huts). These are issued by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy under the Land Act 1994.
Council will provide a rates rebate of 50% of the general rate only.
That Council notes the Financial Report for the period ended 31 January 2021.
Key points to note include the following:
- Operating revenue is ahead of budget by $22K
- Operating expenditure is under budget by $1.8M
- The operating surplus is currently $8.9m, compared to a budgeted Surplus of $7.0M
- Council has received 79% of its annual budgeted operating revenue
- Year-to-date operating expenditure is currently under budget
- Operating revenue is ahead of budget, with variations occurring within the categories as follows:
- Rates and utility charges are currently $8k ahead of budget. This is due to increased water consumption $6k, and charges $17k (including the new Aged Care facility).
- This is offset by the cost of discounts for timely payments, currently over budget $15k
- Daintree Ferry revenue is $79k behind budget. This includes refunds of $19k
- On the operating expenditure side, year to date variations are as follows:
- · Materials and services expenditure is under budget $1M. This is due to the timing of receipt of invoices and the commencement of operational projects.
- · Employee benefits are $470k under budget. This is affected by staff vacancies, leave arrangements, and the allocation of costs to capital expenditure.
- This variance includes an allowance for the impact of an EBA change. Voting on the EBA is complete. The EBA will now be sent to Unions and Queensland Industrial Relations commission for finalisation.
- · Depreciation expense is $330k under budget, affected by completion of projects.
- · Finance Costs are currently $6k under budget, due to timing of bank merchant fees charged
- The operating result is $1.9m ahead of budget with an operating surplus of $8.9m compared to a budgeted surplus of $7.0m.
Confidential items include the Land Purchase for part of Lot 5 on RP 716977 and a discussion of the Local Government Regulation 2012-Rates Modelling Review.
Council meetings are audio recorded and video live streamed.