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Seven things you should know about today’s council meeting

By Ray White Whitsunday

THE Whitsunday Regional Council will meet for an ordinary meeting in Proserpine today.

Here are seven interesting things set to be discussed:

Brunker bowing out

Whitsunday Regional Council Division 6 councillor Mike Brunker has sought a ‘leave of absence’ from his seat at the council table in the lead up to the state election.

Councillors who are candidates in the state election are required to take leave without pay for the period of the election.

The remaining councillors will vote on Cr Brunker’s leave of absence today.

If councillors vote to grant the leave of absence, Cr Brunker will be able to return to his council role if he is unsuccessful in the election.

However, the council agenda states if they vote against the leave of absence “there may be an argument that his position as councillor will become vacant and result in a forced by-election”.

Division 6 councillor Mike Brunker will take a leave of absence from the council. Picture: Jordan Gilliland

Holiday closure

Councillors will vote on the business closure for the end of year holiday period.

A recommendation has been made to break from December 23 to January 4.

Mutual access agreement

An agreement that would allow MPs to access council premises and the mayor, councillors and CEO to access the parliamentary precinct will be voted on today.

The proposal was signed by the chief executive officer of the Local Government Association of Queensland Greg Hallam and put to councils on an opt-in basis.

The agreement means mayors, councillors and MPs who are on the road would be able to access the facilities to host their own meetings.

Bowen airport lease

A recommendation to enter into negotiations and execute a lease with Mirthill Pty Ltd for land at the Bowen Airport will be voted on.

Mirthill Pty Ltd currently occupy the land under an expired lease and expressed an interest in renewing the original lease area and an additional 45,180sqm.

It has been recommended the council enter into a three-year lease at a rental amount of $0.30 per square metre per year.

Mirthill Pty Ltd wish to extend the size of their lease at the Bowen Airport.

Internal audit services

Local government regulations mean Whitsunday Regional Council must use external accounting, advisory and audit firms to carry out an internal audit.

A request for tender was released on July 28 and 13 submissions were received.

Council officers have recommended O’Connor Marsden and Associates Pty Limited for the contract.

Planning scheme amendments

Major changes to the Whitsunday Regional Council’s planning scheme that will “reduce red tape” and “make application processing more efficient” will come under the microscope today.

Councillors will review proposed changes to the scheme that will impact community residences, agricultural supply stores, offices, entertainment activities, shops and shopping centres and telecommunication facilities.

The amendments also include new criteria for developments in tourist accommodation zones, including hotels, clubs and food outlets.

Changes to the Planning Scheme will come before the council today. Picture: Annette Dew

Bowen reservoir

Councillors will discuss the future of a $14.6 million water reservoir that was set to be built in Bowen.

A 12 megalitre reservoir, known as the W8 reservoir, formed part of the council’s 2018 Local Government Infrastructure Plan.

However, upgrades to existing infrastructure and the Bowen Recycled Water Network project have prompted recommendations from council officers to ditch the plans after a council report identified Bowen’s potable water demand no longer needed support from a new reservoir.

Bowen Palms Caravan Park fees

Owners of the Bowen Palms Caravan Park applied for a waiver or reduction of infrastructure charges associated with converting eight existing caravan and tent sites to permanent cabins.

Development approval was given for the change in August and in September the council received a letter requesting a fee waiver for charges totalling $36,716.

The request was assessed against council’s Economic Development Incentives Policy and according to council officers, does not qualify for a waiver.

The recommendation to councillors is to deny the request.

Source: Whitsunday Times

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