The Bundaberg Now weekly podcast features stories on Cochrane's Artifical Reef, animal control, popular bicycle rides, the Council Budget and electronic services at the library.
Dana Maggacis 0:07
Hello and welcome to the weekly Bundaberg Now podcast. I'm Dana Maggacis from Bundaberg Regional Council and today we have another interesting programme with news and information from across the Bundaberg region. Soon, we'll hear about e-services at the library, discover ten popular rides around the region, learn about Council's regulatory services team and also hear about the Cochrane artificial reef. But first, here's Michael Gorey with the news headlines.
Michael Gorey 0:40
The Bundaberg Regional Council budget reveals a $2.8 million fall in revenue due to COVID-19 reducing income from the Bundaberg airport, holiday parks and venues. Despite this, Council is forging ahead with $83 million in capital works and the general rate is been reduced for nearly all ratepayers. Here is Mayor Jack Dempsey.
Jack Dempsey 1:02
Council has adopted a responsible budget for difficult times. Despite losing $2.8 million in revenue due to COVID-19, the budget offers relief to struggling householders and stimulates the economy without increasing debt. There's $83 million in capital works to create jobs and improve infrastructure. Some of the major capital projects include $12.6 million to finish the Gregory River water treatment plant, and $3.32 million to improve the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct and over $850,000 to upgrade Batchelors Road.
Michael Gorey 1:40
Finance portfolio spokesman, Councillor Steve Cooper,says the budget provides financial relief and economic stimulus.
Steve Cooper 1:48
I'm pleased to be able to announce today that the overwhelming majority of Bundaberg Regional Council ratepayers will see no increase in their rates for 2020/21. This means that some 42,037 ratepayers will see no change or a reduction in their general rates this year. The other great news is that there is a zero increase in water access and consumption charges. The pensioner discount remains at $165, which benefits more than 10,166 ratepayers at a cost of $1.7 million. As a pandemic relief measure, we are extending the period before interest penalties applied to the 1st of January 2021.
Michael Gorey 2:29
The budget includes $443,000 for Surf Lifesaving Queensland to patrol Bundaberg region beaches. Julie Davis says the funding ensures public safety and provides employment.
Julie Davis 2:41
Look, it's fantastic. It just shows the great relationship that we've got with the Bundaberg Council. Twenty-seven years we've been in partnership and it's great as well as having our beaches covered, you know it gives people and young lifeguards work over those peak periods as well. But more so just to keep you know the general public safe and the tourists who come to our lovely area safe when they come down to the beach, gives them a safe place to swim and someone to talk to if they need any advice.
Michael Gorey 3:07
In other news Council this week approved a tavern and bottle shop development next to the Bargara Central Shopping Centre. The proposed tavern will feature a sports bar, bistro, gaming area, kitchen and other amenities. For more local news, visit Bundaberg Now.com. Back to you, Dana.
Dana Maggacis 3:25
Thanks, Michael. Now, I'll hand over to Stephen from Bundaberg Regional Library, who's going to chat to us about e-services.
Stephen Harris 3:34
Hi, I'm Steven Harris, Information Services Librarian. I'm going to talk about two of my favourite e-services that we offer at the library. Neither of which has anything to do with books. The first one is Kanopy. Now this is an on demand streaming video platform for public libraries. It's like Netflix but you don't have to pay for it. It's got heaps of movies and documentaries, and all you have to do is log in with your library membership. As a point of interest, Kanopy started in a garage in Western Australia. Its main office is now in San Francisco, California. Kanopy has a fascinating film collection including world cinema, Australian, drama, comedy, action, romance, and my two favourites, science fiction and horror. New films get added all the time and they have around about 27-28,000 movies in total. At the library, we even have a film club collaboration with Moncrieff Entertainment Centre, and we discuss films online once a fortnight. It's open to everybody. So keep an eye out on our Facebook page for future events. They can get pretty lively. The other e-service I want to talk about is Freegal. So Freegal is a music service that lets you download songs for free. There's hundreds of thousands of songs both old and new on the platform. They also have a wide variety of genres to browse and explore. There's R&B, pop, rock, alternative, and indie, classic, country, experimental, you name it, it is there. You can find good old favourites like Bruce Springsteen to more adventurous tastes such as indie rock band, Built To Spill. When I saw them a couple of years back and they were absolutely awesome. So if you've got an interest in music, jump onto the library's website, and check out Freegal and Kanopy. Until next time, it's bye from me.
Dana Maggacis 5:44
Thank you, Stephen. Now, here's Roana and Rayne to tell us about popular rides from across the region.
Roana O'Neill 5:49
Hi everyone, its Roana O'Neill, Coordinator Communication and Engagement speaking with Rayne Juster from Sport and Recreation about some of the region's most ten popular rides. Hi Rayne, how you going?
Rayne Juster 6:00
Good Ro, yourself?
Roana O'Neill 6:01
Rayne Juster 6:02
Thanks for having me here today.
Roana O'Neill 6:04
Tell us about some of the rides that families can get into over the school holidays.
Rayne Juster 6:09
All righty. Well, look, what I've got here today is a little brochure, which essentially is 10 popular rides in the Bundaberg region. The beauty of this little map here is it's about the size of a pack of cards slips in your pocket. But it's also got a huge range of our rides with information around the region, all on display, so you can fold it out, have a good look where you want to cycle around the region. And then slip it back in your pocket when you're riding. It's, it's nice and convenient.
Roana O'Neill 6:41
And how did the rides brochure come about?
Rayne Juster 6:44
All righty. So several years ago, Bundaberg Regional Council formulated a reference group and from that, the primary role of that reference group, which is made up of some local cycling groups such as the Mad Cycologist, Coral Isle Cyclists, Bargara Triathlon Club and the Mountain Bike Club is to implement aspects of the regional plans and strategies associated with cycling while also promoting cycle safety and education of all the road users and as a liaison group to relevant sport, recreation groups, associations, schools and individuals.
Roana O'Neill 7:23
And so with the school holidays coming up, and I know you have a young family yourself, can you talk to us about how accessible these rides are?
Rayne Juster 7:30
Yeah, hundred percent. So look number nine out of the 10 rides is probably my pick, as far as having young kids. It takes in the beautiful scenery from Burnett Heads through Mon Repos, Bargara foreshore. Look the ten rides. I guess they're a taste of what is available in the region. That particular ride is around at 12 – 13 ks which my young fella who's aged four, with his tiny little push bike went up and back, no problems. Whereas, you know, some of the other rides, you know, for the more, you know, cycling enthusiasts can cycle upto 50 k's around different areas of the region, and that they take in, you know, like views of like the Hummock, Botanic Gardens, all your coastal regions from Burnett Heads down to Coonarr Beach. Yeah, so some some lovely aspects of the region on display.
Roana O'Neill 8:22
Rayne can you tell us where about people can people pick the brochure up from?
Rayne Juster 8:25
Yeah, so we have the brochure available in our visitor centres and our information centres and also here at the North Depot and our front counter as well. So there's plenty available. So we're not planning on running out of them in the near future.
Roana O'Neill 8:38
And can people download this from the website?
Rayne Juster 8:40
They sure can. If you head to our main BRC website, type in sport and recreation. I think it's about the third tab down you'll see walk and cycle, click on that. And at the bottom of that page is our download button for the brochure which you can print out.
Roana O'Neill 8:56
So this is great. It sounds like there's quite a variety of levels so you don't have to worry if you're not that experienced. But if you are more experienced, this is also a brochure that would be good for you. And can you tell us about some of the work that's been happening to improve the pathways and cycling areas?
Rayne Juster 9:13
Yeah, sure. So funding for these types of things come under two state funding programmes such as the Works for Queensland state government, and also the cycle network and local government grant programme. And you'll notice around the region, the shoulder of the roads are looking a lot more friendly now for cycling. There's some green highlighted areas and stencil marking for push bikes, which it's all about that road safety. So making kids who are transitioning from a footpath environment onto the road, that road users in cars and bicycles sort of work together a little bit more harmoniously. And that's, that's what it's all about. We want to get people out using their bikes more.
Roana O'Neill 9:53
Great. Well, thank you, Rayne, for telling us everything we need to know about cycling.
Dana Maggacis 9:57
Thanks, guys. I'm joined by Brian Campbell from Council's Regulatory Services to chat about the work that his team does. So Brian, what is your role? And what does it involve?
Brian Campbell 10:09
So my role as it stands at the moment, it's currently evolving. Things are changing within the department. My current role at the moment is I supervise a team of 12. That includes the Parking department, who deal with regulated parking. I have one Local Laws officer, and she deals with things like overgrown and visual amenity, you know, accumulation of waste, all that kind of stuff. And then I have a team of eight staff in the Animal Management department and their role, well that sort of speaks for itself. So they deal with a lot of our day to day animal management complaints. It ranges from dog attacks through to barking through to unregistered dogs, enclosures, animal enclosures, wandering cats, wandering dogs, as well as guinea fowl, horses, cattle. So yeah, there's a lot going on in the department.
Dana Maggacis 11:03
Wow. So it sounds like regulatory services encompasses so many things. Do you find that people within the community have misconceptions about your role and what your team do?
Brian Campbell 11:14
Oh, absolutely. We come across it pretty much every day. Things like we were just discussing the cat thing. So people think that cats should just be allowed to roam. And the misconception there is, we can't deal with it. We can't touch it. But we do. We trap cats, whether they be feral cats or domestic cats, and we will impound them and there is a cost there involved for the owners. Other misconceptions is that the Council, just willy nilly go in and steal dogs out of yards. That's one of the oldest ones. Look, we've a lot of a lot of work to do. We've about 10,000 complaints a year. And yeah, we don't go out there creating work for ourself. So yeah.
Dana Maggacis 11:51
If you could tell listeners one thing about what you and your team do, what would it be?
Brian Campbell 11:56
The team as a whole, we like to think that we're there to educate the public on the keeping – or the responsible keeping of domestic animals, that range from cats, dogs, horses, cows, they're all classed as domestic animals. And it's really important that Council have these local laws, and it's there for public safety. They're there for the animal safety. We don't want to go in there and wield a big stick, so to speak, but now and again, we have some serious dog attacks. They're they're not the prettiest thing when you go in to attend. And these are the kind of things that you try and prevent. So hopefully, by educating the public, our preferred option is we'll go in there, we'll work with them. We'll discuss it, we'll see what solutions we can help with, you know, we can assist them give them some tips and ideas and how they address, ie the barking compliance, what needs to be done to fix the enclosure to stop the dog from escaping. Things like the cats, you know, building outside enclosures for cats, but still having them come and go in and out the house, that kind of thing. So, you know, we do a lot of educational stuff. We don't just go in there and start issuing fines. There's a whole lot involved there. But it's all it's all revolves around education, educating the public. We want you to have a great relationship with your animal. And for you to do that it's really important that you, you abide by the local laws. And they're there, as I say, I've always said they're there for the animal safety and for public safety as well.
Dana Maggacis 13:25
And finally, what is your favourite thing about your job?
Brian Campbell 13:28
My favourite thing, I think is is getting the results at the end of the day. I think it's a challenging role. We get a lot of threats, we get a lot of abuse. But at the end of the day, if we for barking dogs example, if we get that result and the end of the day when the owner has taken on board, the advice we've given them and it's reduced that barking then that is a result. That's the most rewarding thing I think is getting that and the guys can come into the office and you know, they get really excited because of they've got a result. Yeah, they've really done something and they will feel really proud about it. So that's good.
Dana Maggacis 14:04
Thank you for joining me, Brian, and for educating us about what your team does. To finish today. I'll hand over to Paul Donaldson to chat about the Cochrane artificial reef.
Paul Donaldson 14:14
Hi, I'm Paul Donaldson. And we're here talking to Alan and Brenda Cochrane who spearheaded the Cochrane Artificial Reef. It started back in 1987. Brenda, Alan, thanks for joining us. Tell us a bit about the artificial reef. What prompted it and talk us through the beginning of the reef itself.
Alan Cochrane 14:35
The beginning ironically enough happened on one of our wedding anniversaries and we didn't particularly want the jobs but my I ended up chairman, my wife ended up secretary at a public meeting, at a public meeting were elected. The old joke with Brenda is we were the Treasury too because we didn't have any money. So it took five years for Brenda here to do the paperwork and get a permit.
Brenda Cochrane 15:06
Well, the reason why it was started was because there was a lot of talk around around the town that stocks, supplies along the coast were diminishing. And people kept talking about we should be doing something about it. And so hence this public meeting was called and was recreational fishers, and professionals and divers. And it all started there. So that was in, as Alan said, on our anniversary in 1987. And then it took five years and once we got the one permit, we were ecstatic but then found out that we didn't only need a federal permit, we then needed a state permit and they had just declared a marine park at the park that the area that we had designated. And so then we had to there was more paperwork, more lobbying. And through all of this we had to liaise with the commercial fishermen because they didn't want us interupting…
Alan Cochrane 16:03
Encroaching mainly on their trawl areas.
Brenda Cochrane 16:06
So we came to this compromise and after five long years, we then got the permit. The fee was waived, but we were under a lot of restriction by a lot of government departments. And so a mammoth task
Alan Cochrane 16:19
And we had to abide by the London Dumping Accord, which in and of itself is a fair sort of a stretch, isn't it. Plus, we had to apply to send maps to the Navy done by a qualified surveyor to Queensland Parks and Wildlife, various federal bodies, etc. So I got a lot of the praise because I did a lot of the diving and retrieved unexploded ordnance, but this lady here, it was a seven day a week, starting at 3.30 in the morning sometimes and ending at the same the next morning. Wasn't it Brenda?
Brenda Cochrane 17:01
Once the ball started, and we kept saying when we're trying to get the permit, we kept saying, this is taking too long, and people would come to meetings and then leave disheartened. But we got to the stage where we couldn't give it up because we'd put too much time and effort into it. And then we then once we did get the permit, then we started getting inquiries from round Australia. Other people wanted to know how did we get the permit, because they want to do the same thing. But as Alan said, then we started to look for material to deploy. And then once we had a deployment, we had to write to all these government departments, notifying them that it was going to take place, well, then we'd be up at three o'clock in the morning, the weather forecast would be, yeah it's great. We'd get down to the coast. And we'd have to pull the pin because the weather wasn't favourable. And then I'd have to notify all these departments again, that it didn't take place and say it was just a mammoth paperwork task. But you know, once once we've got these things done, it was an absolute jubilation, everybody was so ecstatic it was great.
Alan Cochrane 18:02
And Bundaberg people have been absolutely fantastic and they welcome divers and fishermen, etc. Seeing the results of I've seen a girl become a marine biologist because we took her out at a deployment. Another girl was working locally in the dive shop, got her instructors rating. Whoopee, beautiful stuff.
Paul Donaldson 18:25
Thanks Alan and Brenda. It's really interesting to hear about the background behind the artificial reef. Next week, we're going to continue and dive further into the reef and talk about the items that are down there that create the artificial reef.
Dana Maggacis 18:39
That's all we have for today. We hope you enjoyed the programme. Join us next week for more news and stories from the wonderful Bundaberg region. Bye for now.