The Bundaberg Region’s rich heritage and character is evident in the facades of its main street buildings and soon their owners look set to have added support to maintain and preserve them.
The upcoming Bundaberg Regional Council budget for the 2023-24 year, which will be formally adopted on 27 June, includes a proposal to support owners of local heritage places and main street character areas.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said the annual $100,000 fund would see Council share the cost burden of maintaining the region’s heritage.
“You only have to look to the rooflines in our beautiful CBDs across the region to find the heritage charm for which we are well-known,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“By maintaining these buildings we’re preserving our community’s unique history and spirit, but it can also come with an added cost burden.
“Council is committed to partnering with property owners to support the upkeep of these beautiful buildings and streetscapes which are much-loved by residents and much-admired by visitors.”
Following the adoption of the 2023-24 budget he said Council’s planning team would further develop the concept to determine the details of which properties would be eligible for the fund and how it would be applied.
One of the possibilities to be investigated is the establishment of a co-contribution grant which owners of identified buildings could apply to.
Mayor Dempsey said it is a concept which Council had been working towards and had recently had discussions with key stakeholders including the Childers Chamber of Commerce.
Childers Chamber of Commerce President Margaret Smith said the Chamber was ecstatic that Council was supporting an initiative that would assist in maintaining heritage buildings that define the iconic character of Childers.
“It is to everyone’s advantage to assist in the upkeep of buildings that have attained heritage or similar status and which currently must be maintained in accordance with strict protocols and at the owner’s expense,” Ms Smith said.
“Given the significant numbers of Childers heritage listed buildings it is our hope the new policy is rapidly available so property owners who may benefit from this support can quickly submit applications.”
Ms Smith said the Chamber was thrilled that the policy would have significant outcomes for Childers but also acknowledged its region-wide benefits.
Details of the heritage support fund will be developed by Council over coming months should the proposal be accepted as part of the adoption of its 2023-24 budget on 27 June.