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22 February, 2022

Record spend to upgrade open spaces

A $1 million upgrade to Mareeba’s Bicentennial Park and the creation of a new park for Amaroo Estate are just two of the projects outlined in a new Parks and Open Spaces Strategy endorsed by Mareeba Shire Council last week.

By Robyn Holmes

A new park will be established at Amaroo Estate.

The new strategy will guide the rollout of several projects over the next three years at no additional cost to ratepayers even though the projects represent a record budget spend for parks and open spaces. 

“The adoption of this action plan means council has committed to funding these projects, while the Water Splash Park will be funded by the State Government,” Mayor Toppin explained. 

In the first year of the action plan, council will re-sheet 8km of the rail trail between Mareeba and the airport, commence the Splash Park at the northern end of the Mareeba pool complex, and start on a $1 million project that will transform the Bicentennial Lakes precinct in line with a masterplan developed in 2018. 

Dimbulah’s Town Hall Park will also see some changes, with an upgrade of the playground and installation of shade to be done over the next two years.

A new playground has also been earmarked for the Kuranda Community Precinct as well as the establishment of a multi-age recreation space. The rainforest village will also be the subject of upgrades to its walking trails, with a Walking Network Plan to be developed and implemented over time. 

The Bicentennial Lakes will undergo a $1m upgrade.

Bill Newburn Park at Irvinebank will also get some attention with a small play feature planned and shaded seating in the first year of the action plan. 

In the second year, a new park will be built in Amaroo Estate on Hastie Road to service the growing area, along with upgrades to walking trails in Kuranda and Mareeba, a new playground for Pat Kinnear Memorial Park in Chillagoe, and other projects. 

Mareeba Mayor Angela Toppin said the importance of parks and open spaces could not be underestimated, with council spending $2.7 million, or around 20 per cent of its general rates income, towards the maintenance and operation of the natural areas – second only to expenditure on transport infrastructure. 

“Parks and open spaces are where people connect, relax, have fun an develop that important sense of community which underpins our Shire,” she said. 

“The provision of quality, safe, contemporary and affordable public places is of the utmost importance to this council so we are doing everything we can to deliver a financially sustainable action plan which will meet the needs of the community now and into the future.” 

8km of the Rail Trail will be re-sheeted between town and airport.

Last year’s survey, which fed into the strategy, attracted 479 respondents who provided insights into how residents use parks and open spaces: 

  • Almost half of all respondents said they use parks and open spaces at least once a week for recreation (72%) and exercise (49%). 
  • The most important elements were toilets (58%), picnic tables/BBQs (54%), trees (50%), playgrounds (50%) and rubbish bins (38%). 
  • The most visited parks were Mareeba Centenary Park (47%), Mary Andrews Gardens Park (35%) and Bicentennial Lakes (18%). 

It was noted at the council meeting that a lot of projects had already been completed last year while the process of developing the strategy was occurring. 

Projects already done included the replacement of 430m of footpath in Mt Molloy, new solar lights at Bicentennial Lakes, the new undercover play area at Centenary Park and public toilet refurbishments throughout the shire.

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