So­lar part of $4m bonus

Coun­cil to get funds for pub­lic works

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Peter Car­ruthers Peter.Car­ruthers@news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

ACT­ING Pre­mier of Queens­land Jackie Trad was the bearer of good news for the Whit­sun­days when she vis­ited Up River on Tues­day morn­ing.

Across Whit­sun­day, Mackay and Isaac, coun­cils will re­ceive $16.68 mil­lion over two years; specif­i­cally the Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil will get $4.07 mil­lion in the sec­ond round of Works for Queens­land.

Ms Trad toured the water treat­ment plant in Up River be­fore an­nounc­ing the ex­pen­di­ture.

Construction of the Whit­sun­days’ first large-scale so­lar project at the water treat­ment fa­cil­ity is al­ready un­der way and is one of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment projects fi­nanced by the State Gov­ern­ment scheme.

Ms Trad said 12 jobs would be cre­ated by the project and coun­cil would have a third of their pump­ing costs sup­ple­mented by so­lar power.

The plant sources sub­ter­ranean water from the bed of the Proser­pine River be­fore it is pumped to Bowen.

Man­ager of as­sets and plan­ning Yestin Hughes said the project was ex­pected to be com­plete by the end of the year and save the Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil $15,000 a year in elec­tric­ity costs.

The so­lar project is ex­pected to re­sult in a small rate re­duc­tion for the peo­ple of the Whit­su­days.

It would also mean that dur­ing a se­vere weather event, Bowen would still re­ceive water af­ter the grid had shut down.

Cr Mike Brunker said the new so­lar project was de­signed to mit­i­gate against water loss dur­ing a cy­clone.

“This will give us the abil­ity to keep tick­ing over, at a re­duced rate, but cer­tainly giv­ing us some water up in the Bowen and Proser­pine ar­eas,” he said.

Ms Trad said the clean en­ergy project would pro­duce sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings from the first year of op­er­a­tion and the ben­e­fits would be spread across the whole Whit­sun­day re­gion.

“We know that th­ese projects are hav­ing an enor­mously pos­i­tive im­pact on the com­mu­nity and I’m ex­cited to see this con­tinue,” she said.

When it came to the is­sue of Shute Har­bour Rd flood­ing at Hamil­ton Plains, Ms Trad said the Min­is­ter for Main Roads needed to com­mu­ni­cate with coun­cil and “come back to gov­ern­ment with some ad­vice on that”.

“Min­is­ter Mark Bai­ley in con­sul­ta­tion with the coun­cil needs to look at some op­tions,” she said.

Cr Mike Brunker said the stretch of road, which had al­ready been in­un­dated with water twice this year, was raised in a com­mu­nity cabi­net ses­sion in Septem­ber last year.

PHOTO: PETER CAR­RUTHERS

NEW WORK: Cr Mike Brunker, Whit­sun­day La­bor can­di­date Bron­wyn Taha, Act­ing Queens­land Pre­mier Jackie Trad and Cr John Collins lis­ten to coun­cil's man­ager of as­sets and plan­ning Yestin Hughes at the Bowen water treat­ment fa­cil­ity near Proser­pine dur­ing an an­nounce­ment of a so­lar project at the site.

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