Cr Drew Wickerson.
Cr Drew Wickerson.

DIVISION 6: Small projects with big impact in 2020/21 Budget

A FOOTPATH for school students may not sound very exciting but for Councillor Drew Wickerson, it is a passion project.

Cr Wickerson, represents Division 6, covering The Range, Rockhampton City/CBD, Depot Hill, Port Curtis, Bajool and Marmor.

Speaking to the 2020/21 budget which was handed down by council this week, Cr Wickerson said there were many great ideas in the budget but it's the smaller projects that mean more to the community.

One project which close to his heart is a "short but important" footpath from Bartlem Park to Depot Hill State School.

Cr Wickerson said this project was "near and dear to this heart".

"Students going to school can have safe access to and from school without having to cross busy roads," he said.

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Cr Wickerson said there would be more footpaths throughout the CBD and broader areas, which would also have access ramps for the disability community.

The 2020/21 budget includes $886,000 for new footpaths.

A road renewal program is also included in the budget to the tune of $17.7 million.

The program includes $420,000 for the sealing of a 1.6km section of Bobs Creek Rd from the existing seal to the highway.

Cr Wickerson said this was great for Bajool residents, the local school bus and the postie.

Also in the program is road rehabilitation for Allenstown with Upper Dawson Rd - Margaret St to Caroline St with $250,000 and Prospect St to Parnell St with $340,000 of funding.

Also listed is Quay Lane - North St to Albert St with $369,000.

Tabled for 2021-22, road rehabilitation is planned for Penlington St - Brae St to Davis St, Denison St - Derby St to Stanley St.

In 2022-23, Archer St - Campbell St to George St is planned with Denham St - West St to Canning St and Victoria Parade - Quest Apartments to Cambridge St.

South Ulam Rd is to be widened in 2021-22, estimated to cost $359,400 and Upper Ulam Rd is to get a bitumen seal in 2022-23 for $303,000.

There is also committed funding for the CBD with $290,000 for the riverbank playground amenities and access and $64,013 for the riverbank upper stage plus $1 million for electrical works and East St linkages in the CBD cultural precinct.

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Bajool will also share in some more funding with $30,000 allocated for an amenities block this financial year.

Cr Wickerson said the small facility would allow visitors to stop off the highway

"Maybe have a fantastic lunch at the pub or delicious snack at the store and have the facilities they need," he said.

As the portfolio holder for communities, Cr Wickerson was also excited to see the funding for the new art gallery, The Rockhampton Museum of Art, with around $25.5 million, $10.9 million of which is from funding.

Cr Wickerson said the gallery construction was "well and truly underway" and it would be a "cultural icon for the Rockhampton region but also for the state".

"It will house Rockhampton's valued and treasured collection of contemporary art," he said.

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The Heritage Village has also gained funding with $820,000 for improvements and lighting upgrades.

Cr Wickerson said the tourist attraction was closed at the moment while a new operating plan and business model was developed as the village is redeveloped to be a "major asset for tourism".

"The re-open will be better, bigger and strong, more activated and more interactive," he said.

READ HERE: HERITAGE VILLAGE TEMPORARILY SHUT DUE TO LOW VISITOR COUNT

The Pilbeam Theatre also has a series of commitments spread throughout the budget including $75,000 for lighting upgrades.

A further $355,500 includes roof sealing restoration, lighting, flying renewals, stage lighting dimmers renewals, theatre lanterns and sound system upgrades.

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Cr Wickerson commended the new budget, labelling it the "resilience budget".

He said the budget aimed to fight back against the economic impacts of COVID-19 while "maintaining a downward pressure on our rates".



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