The planning undertaken to support the redevelopment of the Burnett Heads town centre has been recognised at the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) Queensland awards for planning excellence.
The project received a commendation in the Best Planning Ideas – Small Project category.
In awarding the commendation, PIA said the project was a fantastic example of a project that delivered a benefit to a local neighbourhood.
Judges commended the ability of Council officers to undertake the project in-house and partner with the community on its delivery.
“The onboarding of community groups represented as advocates for the project to engage with groups to champion the project contributed to the vigour and credibility from the community,” the PIA said.
“The judges were particularly impressed with the demonstration that smart cities technology can be applied in regional contexts which shows how scalable and transferable this project is and that projects don’t have to be flashy, but just need to be inclusive.”
Planning and development portfolio spokesperson Cr Ross Sommerfeld congratulated staff on the commendation for the Burnett Heads town centre.
“While the outcome of this project certainly speaks for itself in terms of appearance and community use it is highly rewarding to receive this recognition from the state’s peak planning body,” Cr Sommerfeld said.
“This project was years in the making and executed in collaboration with local businesses and community champions.”
Council Group Development Manager Michael Ellery said the commendation was a great endorsement of the work carried out by the strategic planning team.
“It’s great to see that this planning project which was done completely in-house, is up there with the best in the state,” Michael said.
Senior Strategic Planner Hugh Byrnes managed the Burnett Heads town centre project and said it was pleasing to be recognised as an organisation and for the work achieved by involving the community.
“Throughout the whole project we worked closely with Burnett Heads community groups and sustaining these relationships translated well for the project delivery,” Hugh said.
“We were able to create community advocates within those groups and that engagement helped to champion the project.
“The project highlighted the value of community engagement and good planning in underpinning public infrastructure projects such as this.”
Hugh said it was rewarding that judges had made special mention of smart cities technologies.
“Public wi-fi, a sound system, LED signage and electric car charging facilities are working well for the Burnett Heads community and the smart lighting in a turtle sensitive area is part of the progression of improved public lighting that’s beneficial to the environment.”