Applications down but confidence up
THE third marine killed when a US military aircraft went down in waters off the central Queensland coast has been identified as 19- year- old Ruben Velasco from California.
A GoFundMe page has been started by Mr Velasco’s family to fund his funeral arrangements.
His father Ray Calzada shared a tribute on Facebook saying the family was in disbelief and couldn’t “fathom the loss of our son”.
“My heart is broken for our families’ loss,” he wrote.
“Ruben is loved so very deeply and he will be missed by everyone who had the honour of knowing him.”
Osprey crew chief Corporal Nathan Ordway, 21, of Kansas, and Lieutenant Benjamin Robert Cross, 26, of Maine, have been identified as the other marines who were killed in the crash.
Head of expeditionary force Colonel Tye Wallace said the loss was felt across the entire Marine Corps family.
“To the families of the brave marines we lost – there is no way for us to understand what you are going through,” said the colonel.
“What we do know is that your marines left a lasting impression on the 31st MEU, the Marine Corps, and the world. … You will always be a part of the Marine Corps family, and will remain in our prayers.”
One marine remains in a Brisbane hospital after being flown from Rockhampton after the crash. TOWNSVILLE has recorded one of its lowest building application approval levels in a decade but city leaders are confident this financial year will end the downward trend.
The latest building application statistics from the Townsville City Council reveal the total value of new dwelling/ unit complex applications approved during the 2016- 17 financial year was $ 196 million.
This is the lowest number recorded in years.
However community leaders are tipping housing projects such as masterplanned community Haven Townsville and satellite city Elliot Springs will help approvals.
In 2015- 16 the total value of new dwelling/ unit complex applications approved stood at $ 239.4 million, and the year before that the figure was $ 344.7 million, and in 2013- 14 there was $ 357.4 million and the year before that the figure was $ 353.3 million.
The council’s Planning and Development Committee chair, Cr Les Walker, said the region had taken a hit from the mining downturn but that developments in education, health, sport, the airport and mining were building growth and confidence.
“The downward trend on building approvals is indicative of all regional areas in the state,” he said. “The value to boost building ( of building approvals) has been trending down as the mining sector came off the boil, but things are turning around. I expect the figures for this financial year will improve.”
Townsville builder and Master Builders board member Adrian Gabrielli said the building industry had experienced a pretty tough few years.
“Confidence is slowing coming back. There are projects that are going ahead from the stadium to the port to the solar farm to Sun Metals.”
Mr Gabrielli said major projects under way this financial year would provide significant flow- on effects.
“Even though we’d like to fix this downward trend tomorrow, what we need is a solid base that continues,” he said. “The platform of the solid base has been building for the past year or two, but from a low, low.
“It is recovering and the major projects happening now will give some backbone to this.”
Master Builders North Queensland regional manager Melissa Coulter said building approvals had seen a reprieve in the latter stages of the 2016- 17 financial year.
“I see that we’re trading out of the dip,” she said. “Towards the end of the financial year approvals have started to increase.
“In April this year there were 60 approvals and in May, 108 building approvals. That’s a substantial increase. I see better times ahead.”