Weekender Molly

Bundaberg wheelchair users map footpaths

Georgia Neville

Local wheelchair users are helping to map the region's pathways, using innovative technology to collect data that can identify potential hazards.

Briometrix has partnered with Bundaberg Regional Council to deliver the project which will survey the current CBD streets for wheelchair suitability.

Since identifying the need for safer footpaths for the wheelchair community, Briometrix have attached sensors to local wheelchair pilots who use technology to indicate hazards or unsuitable footpath landscapes.

The sensors are used to sense the orientation and motion of the wheelchair, using the data to then interpret what is happening to the footpath in that area.

The different data includes how rough the surface is, what angle it is at and how steep the climb is which all play a part in the rating given by wheelchair users.

Local resident Stephen Richter, who is a wheelchair user, said he was happy to be providing his assistance with the program mapping.

“There’s a program on the tablet that we are using so we can quickly identify a hazard or an asset that’s on the street and we can rate it,” Mr Richter said.

“For example, a ramp is a really easy access angle, it gets a good or excellent, where as a ramp to get down onto the road or up off the street is very steep, it will get a lower score.

“I think it is excellent because we’re going to improve the streets, which will make it easier for everybody to use.”

Bundaberg Regional Council’s roads and drainage portfolio spokesperson Cr Bill Trevor said with a number of people using wheelchairs across the region, it was vital to ensure they had suitable access to facilities.

“We have a number of people within our community using wheelchairs and being able to access these footpaths is very important,” Cr Trevor said.

“By trialling this innovative technology, we’re trying to gather that data so that we can make changes more efficiently and effectively.”

Briometrix founder Eckhard Kemmerer said the company was thrilled to be providing assistance in improving the quality of the streetscape around Bundaberg, making it easier and more practical for those people to move around the CBD.

“We are working with some local wheelchair users and the Bundaberg Council to map the footpaths of the city,” he said.

“In particular, we are looking from the point of view of accessibility for wheelchair users and for people with mobility issues.”

Blue Lagoon Avocados a family affair

Georgia Neville

Courtice family siblings James, Thomas, Michael and Amie have a shared passion for local produce and work hard to grow delicious, plump fruit through their Blue Lagoon Avocados brand.

The group grows the fruit at Fresh Fields Farms in Littabella, which has been operated by the Courtice clan for the past 38 years.

Established by their father, the farm originally produced tomatoes before avocados were added to the menu, with the four siblings continuing to develop their brand.

James said while he, his brothers and sister had not always been part of the farm's operations, they were now all working together to help keep their family farming passion alive.

“We’ve grown up on the farm and spent school holidays here, we have all gone and done our own things but now we have all come back to the farm,” James said.

“We all get along well and enjoy working together and coming to work every day.

“Being outdoors and working with my family, a lot of people don’t get to do that.”

James said he and his family pride themselves on producing quality produce over quantity, with each avocado carefully picked and packed before being distributed.

“We are just a small grower in such a big industry, and we’re focused on doing the best job that we can to give the consumer the best possible product,” he said.

“It is our responsibility to make sure people get the best possible product and come back and buy again.”

James said the farm had seen demand increase since Blue Lagoon Avocados was given the tick of approval from the Heart Foundation.

“Since we received that heart tick, the consumption per head across Australia has grown tenfold,” he said.

“Years ago, avocados were an exotic fruit that people didn’t know what to do with.

“They are now something that people are really starting to enjoy.”

Blue Lagoon Avocados provide produce to markets all over Australia, shipping nationwide from their pack house in Bundaberg.

The family are proud to be one of the Bundaberg Region growers responsible for producing 25 per cent of Australia’s fresh fruit and vegetables.

“It is vital for people to see what is produced in this region as we have a fantastic climate that can grow a large variety of things,” he said.

“It is great when farmers get their chance to showcase their products to the local community.

“We are the food bowl, so it is good to be able to contribute to the economy as well.”

With a passion for keeping things local, the Fresh Fields Farms team often attend the Shalom Markets and most recently took part in the Taste Farmers Markets.

Keep up to date with Blue Lagoon Avocados here.

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Mark McCrindle will headline the event.

Mark McCrindle will headline the event.

John Mclean from Bundaberg Brewed Drinks. 

John Mclean from Bundaberg Brewed Drinks. 

Bundaberg Tourism CEO Katherine Reid.

Bundaberg Tourism CEO Katherine Reid.

HSG At The Gardens owner and chef Dion Taylor.

HSG At The Gardens owner and chef Dion Taylor.

Series highlights Innovation Through Adversity in July

Ashley Schipper

The 2021 Hinkler Innovation Series is set to kick off in July, with keynote speakers from the region and beyond coming together to drive discussion around regional innovation.

The theme of the upcoming bi-annual event is Innovation Through Adversity, which Mayor Jack Dempsey said acknowledged how society was able to adapt, innovate and overcome through times of hardship and complication.

“This is such a relevant topic given what the region and the world has been going through with COVID and the serious impacts felt by many businesses during this uncertain time,” he said.

“Participants of the Hinkler Innovation Series will get to hear from local and national entrepreneurs about their own experiences and how they have adapted to continue to make contributions to innovation.”

Hinkler Innovation is a Bundaberg community-led collaboration to support, recognise, and foster Australian entrepreneurs.

The July series will feature a range of speakers recognised in their respective fields including John McLean, CEO of Bundaberg Brewed Drinks and Katherine Reid, CEO of Bundaberg Tourism.

Local entrepreneurs in the spotlight at Hinkler Innovation

Bundaberg Brewed Drinks has gone through an extraordinary transformation under John's leadership, with the local brews now available in over 60 countries.

He heads the Bundaberg-based, fourth-generation family business which has been home to the household favourite, Bundaberg Ginger Beer, for over 50 years.

The business employs over 230 people across Australia, New Zealand, America and the United Kingdom.

Katherine is the second local face to speak at the Hinkler Innovation Series and brings her wealth of knowledge of the tourism industry.

The CEO of Bundaberg Tourism has been in the role for the past six years and has an in-depth knowledge of the needs of tourism businesses and the broader economic impacts tourism can have on a community.

HSG at the Gardens owner Dion Taylor will also feature at the event as a panellist.

Dion is a trade qualified chef and has a diverse background within the food, property and personal development industries.

Keynote speaker Mark McCrindle, who is the Founder and Principal of McCrindle Research, will headline the event.

Mark is a social researcher with an international following and is recognised as a leader in tracking emerging issues and researching social trends.

A best selling-author and TEDx speaker, Mark leads his advisory, communications and research business which supports more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and leading international brands.

The Hinkler Innovation Series will be held at the Bundaberg Multiplex, 1 Civic Avenue, on Thursday, 15 July from 6.45am to 9am.

Tickets include breakfast and can be purchased here.

Robot joins leading Bundaberg pharmacy team

Bundaberg Discount Drug Store on Bourbong Street has leaped into the future and welcomed their newest team member – an automated pharmacy dispensary robot.

The first of its kind in Bundaberg, the BD Rowa robotic system stores and dispenses items on request—saving valuable time for busy patients, and allowing pharmacists to be out from behind the counter and speaking with patients.

Bundaberg Discount Drug Store owners and pharmacists, Tanya and Patrick Bowden, said they were excited to be the first community pharmacy in Bundaberg to welcome a dispensary robot.

“Our new dispensary robot ensures a more accurate and efficient service for our patients but importantly, it gives our pharmacists more time to spend out on the pharmacy floor,” Mrs Bowden said.

“Pharmacists are the most valuable source of knowledge and care for patients but they often get stuck behind the counter with a long line of medication to dispense.

“Patients at Bundaberg Discount Drug Store will be better served by pharmacists that will now have more time to provide tailored health advice.”

The fully automated and tailored robotic system can store 15,000 packets of medication and stands at 3.5 meters tall, requiring some renovations before it could be installed at Bundaberg Discount Drug Store.

The locally-owned, independent pharmacy is inviting youngsters to help name the robot through a colouring competition.

Visit the store for details, where patients can see the robot in action through a large viewing pane.

Husband and wife team, Tanya and Patrick Bowden, have proudly owned Bundaberg Discount Drug Store for 25 years.

Dedicated to providing the very best customer service and care, in 2020 their store won the National Discount Drug Store Group Pharmacy of the Year.

Bargara heats up with Gill'z Indian Cuisine

Emma Reid

Tender lamb rogan josh and melt in your mouth korma are two of the popular dishes being served up at Bargara’s newest restaurant Gill’z Indian Cuisine.

Opening the doors less than a month ago Sunny Gill and his family have had an overwhelming response from the local community, with word of mouth ensuring there isn’t an empty seat in the house each night.

Gill’z Indian Cuisine’s chef, and Sunny’s brother, Charanjeet Singh said it was a holiday in the Bundaberg Region that tempted them to leave their Brisbane lives and open a new restaurant by the coast.

Finding a large vacant shop on Whalley Street, Bargara for sale sparked the family to enquire about leasing it to share their passion for traditional Indian food with the rest of the community.

“It’s going pretty well, and the response was tremendous – we didn’t expect that,” Charanjeet said.

“We had been working in a kitchen for the last four-to-five years in Brisbane, and we had a friend who said there was no Indian restaurant in Bargara, so we looked into it and decided to move.”

Overwhelming response at Gill'z Indian Cuisine

Initial plans were to open the doors for both lunch and dinner but after such a positive response from the community, Charanjeet said to keep up with the demand as they were run off their feet with dinner service, they would operate from 4-9pm seven days a week.

“Most popular is the lamb, all the curries with the lamb including lamb korma and rogan josh,” he said.

“It depends, one day you will sell only korma and butter chicken – it’s like that, people talk to each other and then they all ask for that.”

Charanjeet said moving to the Bundaberg Region and opening a small family business was ideal and they all looked forward to meeting, and feeding, the local community.

“When we first came to Bundaberg, it was quiet and not much traffic – so peaceful. We were living in Brisbane for the last 10 or so years, and with peak traffic you can get stuck, but here it is so peaceful,” he said.

“The response here is really nice, and people are praising the food, so it is a nice community to belong to.”

To find out more about Bargara’s newest restaurant check out Gill’z Indian Cuisine on Facebook.

Shorter winter closure for popular heated pool

Ashley Schipper

The Isis War Memorial swimming pool is set to close for winter maintenance in July but swimmers will only have to wait a short time before being able to make a splash once again.

Divisional representative Cr Bill Trevor said due to the pool being heated and covered, the facility could remain open for most of the year.

“This very popular pool was completely refurbished in 2019 to include the installation of heat pumps, a PV solar system to offset electricity costs and a roof structure over the swimming pool,” he said.

“With less exposure to the harsh UV rays of the sun and other weather elements, the facility only needs a small closure window for maintenance so residents and visitors can enjoy the pool almost all year round.

“The complex will close for winter maintenance from 6pm on Friday, 9 July and will reopen again for swim season on Monday, 2 August.”

Cr Trevor said the facility would introduce an all-new accessibility lift once reopened.

“With the increased use of the pool and the fact that the current lift is so well utilised, Council has opted to replace it with one that has a heavier weight rating,” he said.

“The new lift will be able to hold 181kg as opposed to the existing lift which had a weight rating of 137kg.”

Isis War Memorial Pool operator Shelley Whitaker said residents of all ages and abilities had been thoroughly enjoying the pool services this year, with a range of classes on offer for the whole community.

“Pool numbers have been great and we have had increased patronage from the disability sector,” she said.

“We offer learn to swim classes for children from four months old onwards to adults who either wish to learn or improve their skills in the pool.

“We also have five aqua fitness classes a week, including aqua Zumba, and coming into August we are offering a Turbo Team Learn to Swim program and we also have a lifesaving workshop.”

Shelley said the Isis War Memorial Pool was popular with locals and visitors alike.

“We get a lot of feedback on how lovely, clean and nice and warm the pool is to visit,” she said.

“Many patrons who are visiting the area come back several times during their stay.”

The Isis War Memorial Pool will be closed from Friday, 9 July and will open again on Monday, 2 August.

Council’s other pools in the Bundaberg CBD  and Gin Gin close from April to September and will reopen on the first day of the September school holidays.

Norville Pool is scheduled to reopen on 1 September, pending works.

Beres awarded Australian Red Cross honour

Georgia Neville

Local Bundaberg resident Beres Mooney started volunteering with Australian Red Cross at just eight years old and hasn't looked back since.

At the recent Australian Red Cross AGM, Beres was presented with an Honorary Life Membership of the Australian Red Cross, the highest honour awarded by the organisation.

Beres has been volunteering at the Australian Red Cross Bundaberg branch for over 20 years, having held the President position for 13 years and more recently, as Vice-President and patron.

Humbled to receive the honour, Beres said she had always loved volunteering with Red Cross and started in Cairns when she was just eight years old.

“I started at school and I did that for a couple of years and then broke away from it until I moved here,” Ms Mooney said.

“After breaking my leg, I went in to hire medical equipment from the Red Cross and they said to me when you get everything organised, come and join us.

“So, after 18 months I went back and have been there ever since.”

Beres credited her longevity with the organisation to the fantastic friendships she had made and her desire to continue to keep active.

“I have made a lot of great friends and enjoy being active,” Ms Mooney said.

“I have been Secretary of the Diabetic Support Group and President of the social group here, so I have done lots of things,” Ms Mooney said.

Beres has volunteered across a number of Red Cross initiatives, being part of the meet and greet desk at the Bundaberg Hospital, the Friendlies Hospital Library Trolley services, the Mobility Equipment Hire Service and an on-call volunteer for afterhours emergency MEH service, to name a few.

Throughout her years of service, she has been instrumental in leading the branch including developing and enhancing the financial sustainability of branch activities.

She did this by obtaining many grants and significant donations used to purchase equipment for Mobility Equipment Hire and the Branch.

Her commitment to the community was recognised when Beres was awarded the Bundaberg Regional Council Senior Citizen of the Year Award in 2017.

AGM celebrates dedicated volunteers

The recent 82nd Australian Red Cross Bundaberg Annual General Meeting was one of celebration, with a number of volunteers acknowledged and awarded for their hard work.

In addition to recognising Beres, the branch also presented two National Service Awards to Edith Snaith and Donnie Bartholomew.

Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey attended the meeting and congratulated the Red Cross and its members for providing a range of beneficial services in the region.

“The Australian Red Cross is such an integral service within our community, providing support to those who need it most,” he said.

“After an uncertain 18 months it's great to see Red Cross' services and support present throughout our region.

“Congratulations also to the award recipients and thank you for your continued efforts.”

President of the Bundaberg Australian Red Cross Branch Carol Delnevo said that while the organisation had its challenges over the past year, the services provided wouldn’t have been possible without their volunteers.

“As always, our volunteers are prepared and give great support not only to those in need but also to the Branch,” Ms Delnevo said.

“Our members have done us proud, by filling in the gaps when required and often working long hours without complaint.”

The Bundaberg Red Cross branch provide a range of services to the community including their mobility equipment hire service, trauma teddy’s and a Meet ‘n’ Greet service at the Bundaberg Hospital.

The AGM included the handing down of the financial and convenor’s reports as well as a acknowledging recipients of honorary life memberships of the Australian Red Cross and hearing from guest speaker Kay McDuff.

Meet the manager: Paul joins Moncrieff team

Maria McMahon

His resume reads actor, musician, director, composer and producer but Paul Dellit’s latest gig sees him add Moncrieff Entertainment Centre manager to the impressive list.

A graduate of QUT, Paul Dellit OAM has worked in a range of roles for companies such as Queensland Theatre Company, La Boite Theatre Company, Opera Queensland and more.

In 2003, he was awarded a Centenary Medal for his services to the arts, and in June 2017 was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his outstanding service and contribution to the performing arts in Queensland.

Paul’s presence at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre is not totally new.

The former actor has graced the local stage in shows presented by Queensland Theatre and the Queensland Arts Council.

His motivation to apply for the Moncrieff role came from a desire to manage a venue again.

“I was responsible for setting up and managing the QUT Gardens Theatre in 1999 and when I heard about this role at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre, I thought it would be a good opportunity to do a similar role again,” Paul said.

“I was always aware of the great work Rod Ainsworth did here championing for Council to change the programming from cinema to more live shows and to support the recent renovations.

“It’s great to know we have a Council that’s committed to investing in the Arts here in Bundaberg.”

Paul said his aim was to build on the work of former manager Rod Ainsworth and create signature events for Bundaberg.

“Destination events that bring people to Bundaberg to see a show, film festivals that involve Australian artists and more First Nations activities are some of the plans I have,” he said.

“Introducing a musical theatre summer school is something else I’d like to do and hope to offer that in January 2022.

“My passion is musical theatre and I’d like to bring in the cream of Australian talent to work with the students.

“I also have plans for the 130th birthday of Gladys Moncrieff in April 2022 and will bring to Bundaberg the show I performed in for her 100th birthday, which will include local talent.”

Noticing how Bundaberg has grown since he was last in the region has impressed Paul and he is particularly pleased to see more restaurants and cafes that complement the dining and show experience.

“Bundaberg also has a lot to offer with tourism,” Paul said.

“If you want to spend a day on the reef, see the turtles or visit the famous Bundaberg Rum Distillery, that could be combined with seeing a show.”

Having previously worked with Broadway entertainers Paul said he looked forward to bringing a high standard of performances to the region.

Paul said he was also keen to meet with more community groups in the region to discuss their options for venue hire at the Moncrieff.

Flourish Family Fun Day gallery

There was plenty of action at Boreham Park on Thursday with more than 3,000 people celebrating the Flourish Family Fun Day and Welcome Baby Ceremony.

Arianna and Jate Juster

Arianna and Jate Juster

Erin Harvey.

Erin Harvey.

Lucinda Taber

Lucinda Taber

Lucas Yee and family.

Lucas Yee and family.