The million dollar mission to make over Miles

The Miles community is celebrating the release of its five-year Community Investment Plan and looking forward to "getting stuck in" and realising its potential.
The Miles community is celebrating the release of its five-year Community Investment Plan and looking forward to "getting stuck in" and realising its potential. Emma Heron

MILES District Chamber of Commerce announced its $100,000 Community Investment Plan this week but president John Hoffmann said the "real work" was yet to begin.

After 18 months of planning and community consultation in partnership with consultancy firm Urbis, the plan outlined at least $1million in "legacy projects" for the town over five years.

Now the chamber has to find the funds to put the plan into action.

The local community was already $50,000 out of pocket in having the investment plan published, a figure matched by Western Downs Regional Council.

Among the plans for a more "liveable, innovative and engaged" Miles is:

  • Refurbishment of Anzac Park
  • An online information hub
  • Greater opportunities for youth through an incubator fund
  • More youth-friendly places
  • A Dogwood tourism strategy.

Mr Hoffmann said the ultimate aim of the project was to pull the Miles community together.

"Since council amalgamation, there are a lot of people who feel like we don't own our town any more," he said.

"The Community Investment Plan is designed to give us that ownership back and make the most of the changes brought about by the CSG industry."

Miles Citizen of the Year and district Chamber of Commerce member Kylie Bourne said she refused to idly watch her town and lifestyle suffer through change.

"If we continue to sit back and be passive, we won't benefit from the change and we won't maximise the benefits it can have for Miles," she said.

"We have to stand up and have a voice and help to shape our future."

The plan outlined a new Community Investment Plan project officer role.

Mrs Bourne hoped a passionate community member would step into this position to help kick-start the legacy projects proposed.

She said she hoped to start seeing aspects of the plan being realised by October this year, in particular the introduction of pop-up stores at Anzac Park.


MAYOR: COMMUNITY commerce groups across the Western Downs will watch with interest as Miles' five-year Community Investment Plan unfolds but they may struggle to find funding to follow suit.

Western Downs Regional Council contributed $50,000 to the $100,000 Miles plan but Mayor Ray Brown said there was currently no funding on offer for programs in neighbouring towns.

"It's extremely rewarding and good to see the Miles community come together and actively create this plan," he said.

Now everyone will be watching to see if they can put runs on the board and actually make it work.

"That will be the true test of value for money."

Cr Brown said it would be vital for the Miles Chamber of Commerce to "take ownership and drive the program themselves".

"There's no good going to local, state or federal governments and having them tell you what to do," he said.

"They have identified where they need to go and where they want to go and council will stay open to suggestions in how we can help them to get there.

"There is no budget allocation for other programs like this but that doesn't stop council from looking at other towns' proposals."

Topics:  chamber of commerce miles ray brown western downs regional council

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