Weekender: Congregation welcomes new citizen

Moore Park Beach facilities one step closer

Megan Dean

A home for a range of community groups and initiatives are part of the first stage of the Moore Park Beach masterplan, with a tender recently released for construction.

The concept designs released as part of the tender show a range of modern and nature-inspired buildings and storage options, interconnected through a network of pathways. 

Among the buildings will be:

-  Moore Park Beach Mens Shed, to be used for a variety of trade-based activities

-  Moore Park Beach Community Hub building which will be the base for Moore Park Beach Arts Inc and also available for hire by Moore Park Beach-based community organisations. It will provide a more robust activity space and increase opportunities for these organisations that are not able to function out of the existing timber floored community hall

-  Community storage sheds will be utilised by groups including Moore Park Beach Scouts, Moore Park Beach Men’s Shed and the Moore Park Beach Arts Inc.

-  Space will also be created for a second hand shop for the Moore Park Beach Community Association

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the new community facilities would foster collaboration and provide a dedicated space for a raft of activities from fundraising to social inclusion.

“We have been very pleased to be able to work on this concept with the support and input of a wide variety of community members and organisations to ensure we’re delivering the best outcome for all,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“The Moore Park Beach masterplan has been developed following significant community consultation and it is very pleasing to see it progressing.

“We have been proactively and progressively updating town centres throughout the region, including Gin Gin, Elliott Heads and Burnett Heads and now the spotlight is on Moore Park Beach.”

Moore Park Beach Community Association treasurer Jim Harrop said he had been impressed with the consultation process undertaken by Council to get the masterplan to this point.

“The Council has been very consultative,” Mr Harrop said.

“To be honest I’m quite impressed we’re actually getting to the stage where we can deliver on it so quickly, Local Government projects can sometimes take a bit longer.

“From the idea to execution - and it’s something which all the organisations are more than happy with - I think it’s been a fantastic achievement for the Council and association and the community groups.”

Mr Harrop is also Group Leader of Moore Park Beach Scouts and said the group was thrilled to secure a room and storage space.

The facility will allow them to grow the group without having to take any focus away from activities for the children by a need to fundraise for their own den.

“We’re definitely in a win-win position,” he said.

“You can imagine how much camping equipment we need to store as a scout group!”

Older scout members will also be given the opportunity to secure an independent space in the Moore Park Beach masterplan community facilities.

“We call it youth led, adult supported. From the start we’ve asked for their input.

“A lot of the ideas I put through to the committee came from the youth members.

“It’s been a good process for them and for me.”

Divisional representative Cr Jason Bartels said the section of the project currently out to tender involved finalising the design, undertaking the construction, commissioning, certification and hand over of the works.

“In addition to these fantastic community facilities, work will include surf club landscaping and car parking, an upgrade to the holiday park’s sewerage treatment system and external works including footpaths and driveways.

“Tenders will close shortly before Christmas and will be assessed and awarded in the New Year, so we anticipate work to begin on the ground around the middle of next year.

“I know how excited the entire Moore Park Beach community will be to know that work will soon be underway.”

This stage of the Moore Park Beach masterplan has been supported through the State Government 2022-24 Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program.

Local reverend becomes Australian Citizen

Georgia Neville

A crowd of more than 40 people recently gathered at Bundaberg Regional Council’s citizenship ceremony to support Reverend Stuart Bosch, who now proudly and officially calls the region home after moving from South Africa in 2017.

Mr Bosch was ordained in the Methodist Church of South Africa and ministered there for 20 years before joining the Uniting Church of Australia after arriving in Bundaberg

He said he and his family were extremely honoured to call themselves Australian Citizens after the initial goal of gaining permanent residency was not as straight forward as first thought.

“It meant probably more than I could ever express but it was something we had been working towards for about six years,” Mr Bosch said.

“The first goal was actually permanent residency, and we had an interesting time of it because we came across on a temporary visa.

“At the time, that was the only thing that was available to us to Australia, and it was a step of faith coming across and saying, ‘well, when we get there, we think that there's this pathway to residency’.

“We were only here for a short while and the pathway got closed because the visa we were looking at got cancelled, so we had to figure out a different way and we ran a dual process.”

Mr Bosch and his family received permanent residency a year ago, with the news for their recent citizenship status turning into a community celebration.

“It was a real celebration for us as a community because during those six years we tried to get involved as much in the community as possible, as we believe strongly that our role is to serve and to bring God's love in a practical way,” he said.

“We got involved with the community and got to know people in the community and so for us to get citizenship eventually was like a community celebration.”

Mr Bosch said Bundaberg was now their home, and he was looking forward to continuing to make the most of living in the region.

“We love the fact that when we landed here Bundaberg the community knew we had moved away from our family, and so they became our family,” he said.

“Bundaberg is home for us.

“We will continue to find ways that we can contribute and serve and feel like valued members of society, that's really what we want to do.”

Woodgate Beach project to protect coastline

Ashley Schipper

A $2 million investment has been announced to fund sand replenishment and extra rock protection on Woodgate Beach to provide an added layer of defence for homes and infrastructure close to the water.

The funds have been allocated as part of the Queensland Government’s North Queensland Natural Disaster Mitigation Program, with $10 million going towards 22 state-wide projects aiming to reduce disaster risk and lower insurance costs for residents, businesses and communities.

The $2 million granted to Bundaberg Regional Council will be used for the Woodgate Beach Sand Nourishment program, which includes the construction of a 240-metre seawall and a 20-metre-wide sand buffer (beach nourishment) along a stretch of 700 metres of coastline.

Council applied for the funding after data from the Woodgate Beach Shoreline Erosion Management Plan (SEMP) was released.

The project, completed in 2017, treated coastal erosion on the northern end of Woodgate Beach immediately surrounding the existing boat ramp.

Divisional representative Cr Bill Trevor said the SEMP had identified what areas along the coastal township needed to be prioritised.

“SEMP gave us data that outlined the shoreline most at risk over the next 20 years extends approximately 400 metres north of the existing boat ramp, and for about 300 metres south of the ramp,” he said.

“To mitigate further erosion in this area a plan has been adopted to provide a 20-metre-wide sand buffer and 250 metre seawall, which will reinstate the shoreline position of the mid-1980s.

“To achieve this, approximately 16,000 cubic metres of sand is required along the 700-metre-long at-risk shoreline.”

Cr Trevor said construction would begin mid-2023.

“The seawall will be built in the vicinity of the boat ramp, to be buried at the rear of the newly nourished beach,” he said.

“This will require the partial removal and re-establishment of existing coastal vegetation along the length of the structure.”

Cr Trevor said all elements of the project would add to the protections of homes and infrastructure along Woodgate Beach.

“The purpose of adding more sand to the area is to provide an erosion buffer capable of accommodating the effects of a one in 100-year weather event,” he said.

“The buried seawall will provide protection against more severe storms.”

Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was pleasing to see work getting closer for the important project which was part of Council’s commitment to protecting the environment, public facilities and homes.

“This project is a result of long-term strategic planning through Council’s Coastal Hazard Adaption Strategy (CHAS),” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Through consultation with local residents the CHAS helped us to identify the erosion and inundation risks across the entire Bundaberg Region coastline.

“We’re now in a strong position to undertake, and advocate for, these works which is evident through this successful grant application.”

The project is scheduled to start construction mid-2023 and will take four months to complete, weather permitting.

Childers couple take on Crawford Park food van

Megan Dean

Popular Childers café Insane Caffeine is hitting the road with its new food van to offer beachgoers refreshments from Crawford Park at Kellys Beach.

Owners Kevin and Tania Chapman were the successful applicants for a Permit to Occupy tender, which has historically been offered at three year intervals by Bundaberg Regional Council.

Kevin grew up in Bargara and Tania grew up in Bundaberg and said they both had fond memories of the Kellys Beach food van which has become a fixture at the popular location.

That, alongside their passion for good coffee, motivated the long-term locals to apply for the Crawford Park food van tender.

“It was the nostalgia and where Tania and I grew up,” Kevin said.

“We met at Krystals – say no more (true locals)!

“We always went to Bargara, we always saw the van there.”

Opening their Childers café just before the Covid pandemic reached Australia, Kevin and Tania had the food van built as an “insurance policy” against the health mandates impacting the hospitality industry at the time.

But with the café in full swing attracting locals and travellers alike, the food van is now offering the Chapmans an opportunity to expand their business and share their passion.

“We love our coffee, we love the feedback and we love the excitement people get when they actually find a good coffee.

“For 20 to 25 years we’ve been doing coffee.”

 The food options for the Crawford Park food van will be what Kevin described as “new school”.

“Brownies, lemon ricotta, carrot cake - our best seller!

“We’re now even baking a vegan carrot cake too, the smoothies, with fresh fruit, smoothies locally sourced and grown - and some even in-house grown.

“Look out for the ice creams on the horizon too.”

A selection of the best sourdough and croissants will be among the items featured on the menu for hungry beachgoers.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said Council had gone through a formal assessment process as part of the tender for the Permit to Occupy.

“It’s wonderful to see a local family who has strong connections to the region and to the tradition of the Crawford Park food van be awarded this tender,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing food van operators who catered to the community in this spot for many years.”

The Insane Caffeine Crawford Park food van will begin operating by early December.

Beachgoers will be able to order refreshments from the food van in person or online at insanecaffeine.com and Kevin encouraged residents to keep an eye on the Facebook page for regular updates.

Giant Bundaberg set to open its doors

Emma Turnbull

One of the biggest bicycle manufacturers in the world, Giant, is set to open its doors in Bundaberg.

The open spaces and flat terrain of the Bundaberg Region provide an ideal location for bike riding enthusiasts and Giant Bundaberg owners Adam and Katie Hawkins said they were excited to open the new business.

Adam said, as bike riding increased in popularity across all age groups, E Bikes had also continued to grow as a transport method in general.

“Bundaberg has a very rich history in cycling and has huge depth in triathlon as well,” Adam said. 

“Cyclists are becoming more knowledgeable when it comes to purchasing bikes for transport as well.

“E bikes have become a massive part of our customer base and with Giant being one of the biggest EV producers in the world, we certainly have the backing to make sure we are at the front of the technology.”

Adam and Katie are also the owners of Giant Hervey Bay, and the pair said it made sense to branch out and open in the Bundaberg Region.

“We have had a lot of interest from Bundaberg residents at our store in Hervey Bay,” Adam said.

“So, we were keen to make it easier for those customers to get access to the Giant range of products and services. 

“We [are] also enjoying coming up from the bay to ride and race with the local clubs and at the velodrome and crit track in town.”

Adam said Giant Bundaberg would have a range of Giant bikes and gear at the store, available to see in the flesh rather than just online. 

“We will also have a fully stocked workshop for repairs, as well as access to 3D bike fit technology at the shop,” he said.

“Giant is currently the biggest [manufacturer] of bicycles in the world, having recently celebrated 50 years of building bikes. 

“The range of Giant bikes starts at your first 12-inch pre-push bike through to the latest technology in road bikes used by Team BikeExchange on the World Tour. 

“We will be stocking everything from kids’ bikes, entry, and top-level E bikes, road and MTB bikes.”

Giant Bundaberg will open its doors at 2, 23 Targo Street on 1 December.

Poppy to light up Christmas tree

Emma Turnbull

Christmas has always been special for Poppy and mum Fiona, and this year will be even more so as the eight-year-old flicks the switch on the region's community Christmas tree.

The Gin Gin State School student has undergone a number of medical procedures in her short life and has spent more time in hospital than most would in a lifetime.

Poppy has a number of medical conditions including ulcerative colitis, which requires her to have ongoing treatment.

But she is a determined fighter, who wants to live life to the fullest, and she doesn’t let anything hold her back.

On Thursday 1 December Poppy and Fiona will join Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey and the community in turning on the lights of the beautiful Christmas tree in Buss Park during the Twinkle Town event.

“Poppy is absolutely beside herself – she’s so excited about it,” Fiona said.

“We’ve actually never had the chance to see the Christmas tree lit up before, so this really makes it extra special for Poppy.”

Fiona said Poppy’s medical condition was a unique case and wasn’t normally diagnosed until teenage years, but Poppy had already undergone years of treatment much earlier than expected.

“Last week during a telehealth with her specialist Poppy actually spoke up for the first time,” she said.

“Poppy told them all how excited she was to have been chosen to turn on the Christmas tree lights.”

Poppy's medical condition is treatable but not curable and means many trips to the doctors and hospital.

While her condition takes a toll on her emotions and her physical abilities, the health experts at the Bundaberg Hospital and in the Children's Ward have made it much easier through their care and attention.

“It’s been knocking her around a bit lately, but I can tell you the Bundaberg Hospital and the team in the Children’s Ward are fantastic – they treat us like family,” Fiona said.

“Dr Matt Wakely is the Head of Paediatrics and Poppy has been his patient right back from before she was diagnosed. 

“They are the ones who nominated Poppy to switch on the Christmas tree lights and we are so grateful for it and really can’t wait.”

The community is invited to come together in Buss Park as Poppy joins Council to officially switch on the Christmas lights in the Bundaberg, Childers and Gin Gin CBDs during the Twinkle Town event, including the large community Christmas tree in Buss Park.

Recycled Christmas trees soon on display

Ashley Schipper

The Bundaberg Civic Centre will soon transform into a recycled Christmas wonderland when the All Abilities Christmas Tree Project goes on display.

The project, which has been supported by Bundaberg Regional Council, brings together disability services and their participants to create a Christmas tree with recycled products and materials.

It aims to foster social engagement and build skills while spreading a recycling message during the festive season.

From next week, organisations who have participated in the All Abilities Alliance initiative will showcase their recycled Christmas tree craft to the public.

Participants from the Endeavour Foundation have been busy sanding, hammering, gluing and glittering their display.

Team leader Petrina Pashley said plenty of work and creativity had gone into the project.

“Our participants have sourced pallets and hessian bags from NDVR Business Solutions and have stripped down the pallets into smaller, workable pieces, removed nails, sanded and drilled holes, all to make our 170 cm tall tree,” she said.

“We have also had our woodworkers make up a fireplace mantle, which the craft group have then gone wild making assorted decorations for both the tree and mantle.”

Petrina said there were 25 Endeavour Foundation members who were part of the group project and were enjoying every minute of the work.

“They are getting creative and loving it,” she said.

“The woodwork group has mastered sanding and cutting, and craft groups have had fun making all sorts of decorations.

“There has been plenty of skill-building including fine motor skills development with the gluing, painting, and card making as well as group participation with the sharing of tools and working towards [achieving] a common goal.”

The recycled Christmas trees will be on display to the public at the Bundaberg Civic Centre on Thursday 1 December from noon until 6 pm and then again, all day Friday 9 am to 4 pm and Saturday 9 am to noon.

Participants include Endeavour Foundation, Impact Community Services, NDSP, Rhino Support Coordination and Carinbundi.

Community Services portfolio spokesperson Cr Tracey McPhee said the craft project was about engaging disability service providers and bringing people together.

“The All Abilities Christmas Tree initiative is a way for people to come together to celebrate the festive season while building on social skills in a creative space,” she said.

“Our wonderful participants have been hard at work creating these fantastic displays and I encourage the community to pop down to the Civic Centre from Thursday 1 December to celebrate!”

What's on

Zoo plants good for turtles and environment

Roana O'Neill

An Alexandra Park Zoo trainee is growing plants on site to maintain a steady food supply for the facility's white throated snapping turtles while reducing its carbon footprint.

The critically endangered white throated snapping turtles (Elseya albagula) have a healthy appetite and a penchant for thin vallisneria and pennywort.

Alexandra Park Zoo trainee Connor Latter initiated a plant grow set up to tackle this, and explained that while the grow was still in its early stages, the zoo had big plans for the project.

“The weekly plant delivery to the zoo by our nearest suitable supplier involves an approximate 780km round trip, which comes to an estimated 38,480 km travelled annually,” he said.

“Once our plants are established the zoo will be able to cease all fossil fuels generated by these deliveries.

“In addition the plants will improve the filtration of the turtle’s ponds, reduce nitrate and phosphate levels and ensure the zoo has a secure food supply if countrywide shortages of these plant species were to occur.

“There is also the added benefit of the turtles consuming micro-organisms attracted to the plants, which don’t often survive the packing and transportation process.”

This project is of particular significance as the zoo begins its journey towards eco-certification and commitment to re-designing operations and practices in support of environmental sustainability.

Alexandra Park Zoo Group Supervisor Kate Beskeen said the zoo team was highly supportive of Connor’s efforts, particularly as it represented the first of many projects the zoo hoped to achieve in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Energy related carbon dioxide emissions increased last year to the highest levels ever recorded, these types of projects not only target tangible ways our zoo can help reduce emissions but present conversations we can have with our zoo visitors about the direction we are taking,” she said.

Alexandra Park Zoo is home to two white throated snapping turtles, Elsey and Alby.

This critically endangered species is only found in the Burnett, Fitzroy, and Mary River systems of Central Queensland.   

Find out more about Alexandra Pak Zoo here.

Got You Covered library column

Christmas school holiday fun for all

Georgia Neville

Bundaberg Regional Council’s Christmas school holiday guide is packed with free and fun activities for all ages.

Whether you're looking for indoor or outdoor activities, the guide has everything from movies at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre to arts and crafts at the region’s libraries or recommendations on local parks to visit.

The entire family can get out into the great outdoors with two Bundaberg Botanic Gardens activity sheets available to entertain, including an I Spy activity sheet that can be played at the gardens, in the car or at home.

Council’s Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said the Christmas school holiday guide provided some fantastic ideas for keeping the kids busy.

“I encourage everyone to get out and explore the Bundaberg Region, with a range of activities to be held at local facilities including Alexandra Park Zoo and Botanic Gardens,” Cr Learmonth said.

“Many of these activities in the guide are free, making for a fun family day out!”

You can find the full Christmas school holiday guide here.