Gold Coast releases $920 million 2011-12 budget
Gold Coast City Counciil has handed down a $920 million budget, which Lord Mayor Ron Clarke has described as a 'responsible budget that is a reflection of the times'.
Key features of the budget include:
A new Planning Scheme will be produced in 2012, following the end of a $5 million, four-year comprehensive review of the 2003 scheme.
The scheme sets out development patterns including the preferred land use of every Gold Coast property and identifies what natural areas should be protected and where shops, industry and public spaces should be located.
It will guide the growth and development of the Gold Coast for the next 10 years, reflecting community views and aspirations identified through the recent Bold Future project, in which 11,000 residents shared their views on what they wanted for the city.
Council will also continue to fund programs which assist the development and construction sector to deliver quality residential, commercial and industrial projects as well as jobs across the city.
Council expects to bid for up to $15 million in infrastructure funding under the Building Better Regional Cities program to support affordable housing, subject to a Commonwealth announcement of program details.
Revitalisation projects funded this year as part of the $5.3 million CIP budget include:
- Davenport Street, Southport $642,000 (second stage of a $1.2 million project budget)
- Thomas Drive, Chevron Island $134,820 (the final funds towards a $1.8 million project, expected to commence in September 2011)
- Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach (Markeri Street to Alfred Street) (part of $900,000 already allocated last year) $67,410.
Council has allocated $40 million to the light rail system in 2011-12 as part of its $120 million commitment to the $1 billion project, in partnership with Commonwealth and State governments.
A total of $44.3 million will be invested in major roadworks this year.
- finalisation of the two lane upgrade of Bonogin Road from Somerset Drive to Warra Court Mudgeeraba ($9 million)
- finalisation of the four lane upgrade of Gilston Road from River Springs Country Club to Windareen Court and to McLaren Road ($13.1 million)
- Sickle Ave South Bridge, Hope Island ($6.2 million)
- four lane upgrade of Stanmore Road from Darlington Drive to Peachy Road, Yatala ($2.7 million)
- four lane upgrade of Laver Drive from Investigator Drive to Robina Parkway, Robina ($2 million)
$44.6 million has been allocated to road maintenance programs. This includes $18.8 million for road rehabilitation and resealing, $1.4 million for kerb and channel replacements and $13.2 million for general road maintenance.
Council will contribute $8.2 million to fund public transport initiatives including existing TransLink bus routes, key service trials and funding of services in low-population density areas.
In addition to this funding, Council will also fund a demand-based public transport trial and be encouraging TransLink to match this commitment. Council will contribute $400,000 to community transport including an expansion of Council Cabs, a service for seniors and people with a disability including the successful oncology patient transport service, and $600,000 for a trial ferry service between Broadwater Parklands and The Spit as well as an active school travel program.
Community Health and Safety
$27.4 million has allocated to protect the city from flooding. This includes the provision of city wide flood data, damage surveys, bicycle friendly drainage grates, hydraulic modelling and capital works.
Major drainage upgrade works include:
- Markeri St Mermaid Beach Stage 2 ($2.3 million)
- Flat Rock Ck Detention ($1.3 million)
- Djerral Ave Southport ($1.6 million)
- Luzon Parade and Lagoona Ave, Palm Beach ($1.3 million)
Keeping the community healthy is the role of Council's Public and Environmental Health unit, delivering services such as immunisation, food safety training, pest management planning, environmental health advice for new developments, and responses to illegal waste dumping, air, noise and water pollution. Council's investment in this program is $14.4 million in 2011-12.
Conservation and Environment
The Open Space Preservation Levy will fund increases in land acquisitions, with $10 million provided and $5 million in management programs, including weed and bushfire management and delivery of community infrastructure.
Almost $11 million will be directed towards the management and improvement of the region’s beaches in the coming year. This includes $825,000 for sand dredging for flood mitigation at creek mouths; $742,000 for the Shoreline Management Plan; $304,000 for improvement of the seawall at Miami; and $650,000 for a section of the Oceanway at Surfers Paradise south.
The budget has allocated $8.3 million to maintain and clean lakes, canals and waterways including tidal swimming enclosures, boating facilities, revetment walls, tidal channels and freshwater lakes.
Council's Catchment Management program provides comprehensive water quality monitoring programs and facilitation of community-based catchment management groups to protect and enhance the ecological health of the city's waterways. The $5.4 million directed to this program will include $365,000 for replacement of a pond in Highland Park and $139,000 for work on the Pacific Pines Central Park ponds.
Recognising that a solid tourism industry is paramount to the Gold Coast economy, Council has pledged support to major tourism and economic development associations to help increase visitor numbers and expenditure.
Funds allocated this year include:
- Gold Coast Tourism $13.9 million
- Surfers Paradise Alliance $3 million
- Broadbeach Alliance $1.7 million
- Connecting Southern Gold Coast $639,600
Parks, recreation and culture
- $10 million ($20.3 million over two years) for construction of the Upper Coomera Community Centre, which will include a community centre, library and pool, surrounded by recreational parkland
- $1.1 million for the design and tender phase of the Ormeau Community and Youth Centre
- $2.4 million for the Robina Space project, a complementary building for the existing Robina Community Centre
This year, a budget of $32.6 million for capital works includes:
- $9.5 million for construction of a new waste transfer station at Reedy Creek
- $8.1 million for engineered liners at Reedy Creek and Stapylton landfills to protect the environment from contaminants.
- $1.5 million to increase capacity at Merrimac waste facility
- $1.4 million for environmental management works at the former Suntown landfill (now closed).
Other waste management expenditure includes:
- $13.7 million for city's cleaning services such as road and bikeway sweeping, litter collection and cleaning of CBD precincts
- $6 million for recycling collection and recovery services, as well as community education programs on waste minimisation and recycling