COMMUNITY: A $22.3 million dollar investment will see a range of community facilities revitalised and deliver new community programs. Pic: Alex Coppel
COMMUNITY: A $22.3 million dollar investment will see a range of community facilities revitalised and deliver new community programs. Pic: Alex Coppel

Western Downs facilities set for multi-million makeovers

A MULTI-MILLION dollar funding boost is set to improve community liveability right across the Western Downs, as council announced a $22.3 million investment to revitalise a range of community facilities and deliver vibrant community programs.

The funding is a part of the Western Downs Regional Council’s COVID-19 Recovery Package which was adopted to stimulate jobs and spending in the region.

Council Spokesman for Strategic Communications and Facilities Councillor Megan James said the commitment to community facilities across the region played an essential part in providing great liveability for locals and to attract visitors.

“Highlights for facilities in the budget and COVID-19 recovery package include upgrades to showgrounds facilities in Tara including sewage and electrical upgrades, and a new secretary’s building and canteen for Dalby Showgrounds, a new building for the Bell Golf Club and a new storage shed for Miles SES,” Cr James said.

“The budget includes important improvements and remediation works at all pool facilities across the region, including the development of a masterplan for the Tara aquatic centre precinct aimed at creating an updated modern multimillion-dollar fitness and lifestyle facility over the next few years.”

Cr James said council would be refreshing tired public toilet facilities in Bell and Dalby and doing significant upgrades at Chinchilla Lion’s Park, Miles Sports Oval, Condamine Sports Ground in line with the regional public toilet strategy.

“Civic centres and community halls also feature, with improvements including updating the bar area at the Miles Civic Centre, improvements at both Wandoan and Chinchilla Cultural Centres, and roofing upgrades for the Jandowae Community Hall, the Miles Senior Citizens’ building and the Leichardt Centre,” she said.

“We’re also looking forward to seeing our much-loved community halls receive a makeover in our region wide painting program, which is included in the Accelerated Infrastructure Program, creating local jobs for local people.”

Cr James said the quieter program in terms of events planned due to COVID-19 restrictions, presented a good opportunity to do some important upgrades to vital community assets ready for when region fully opens again.

“It will be exciting to see the positive results of these facility upgrades along with the big picture masterplan projects, plans for parks, gardens and cemeteries and community and tourism initiatives,” she said.

Extra support for community groups

COMMUNITY groups are the lifeblood of the region and play an integral role in the fabric life on the Western Downs, and soon they will be able to access a suite of grant programs to support their important work.

Investment in the region’s much-loved not-for-profit and sporting groups across the Western Downs is a significant feature of the 2020/21 Council Budget, which announced $1 million for the Community Infrastructure Grants Program, and $300,000. for the Community Hardship and Assistance Grants Program.

Council Spokeswoman for Community and Cultural Development Councillor Kaye Maguire said the region was built on a strong sense of community pride, and local groups played a significant role in this long-established connectedness.

“Our community and sporting groups are the lifeblood of our wonderful region so it’s important Council shows its support for their continued service by investing heavily in funding programs to support these groups,” Cr Maguire said.

“We have faced a time like no other, and now it is vitally important to do all we can to ensure our community groups can continue operating and contributing to the region’s vibrant liveability.

“This year our grants and funding program will continue, which encompasses several initiatives including the Community Projects Program, Community Activation Program, Individual Excellence Program, Local Events Program, Regional Art Development Fund, and Reimbursement Fund.

“On top of our annual grants and funding offerings, Council is also delivering two new funding programs to support our groups through what is arguably their toughest yet.

“The Community Hardship and Assistance Grants Program provides ‘quick response’ cash grants aimed at helping sporting and not-for-profit groups through financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

“This Program is on offer for 12 months, and already we are seeing a significant uptake in applications which shows we are helping those who need it most.

“The Community Infrastructure Program offers funding as part of a 50/50 split with Council to help groups construct new and improved facilities.

“This Program is open until the end of September and requires successful applicants to complete their project by the end of 2021, which helps to support local jobs and keep our economy moving.”

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