Monthly Archives: November 2012

Redlands wins national environmental innovation award


Redland City Council has won the Environmental Innovation and Protection category at the Australian Sustainable Cities Awards.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams accepted the Keep Australia Beautiful award for Environmental Innovation and Protection at an awards ceremony in Sydney yesterday.

“While Redland City Council has been judged Queensland’s Most Sustainable City, this is the first time we have won a national award,” Cr Williams said.

“The award is recognition of Council’s sustainability achievements and strong focus on working in partnership with the community.

“I want to thank the residents and community groups of the Redlands for their involvement in Council programs and their enthusiasm in protecting our environment.

“It is these partnerships that achieve great outcomes for our community, but the job is not done. We must not rest on our laurels and continue to work together.”

The awards celebrate local sustainability achievements of urban communities across Australia and recognise efforts.

Seven finalists from around the country were in attendance at the national awards after winning state categories in September.

Cr Williams said Council was committed to delivering positive environmental, social and economic outcomes for the Redlands community.

“It is all about balance. Council works with the community and local interest groups to deliver a number of innovative projects and it is great to see this hard work recognised,” she said.

“There are four Council programs – Land for Wildlife, Rural Support, Waterways Extension and Your Backyard Garden – that provide technical and financial support to 79 landholders in agreement and more than 300 more informally.

“In addition, we have 44 dedicated Bushcare groups with more than 300 participants across the city.

“Community and Council programs have resulted in over 20,000 native plants being planted around the Redlands in the last financial year.

“The real success of these programs is the participation of our residents who would not consider themselves to be ‘green’, but who do want to manage their land well and leave an appropriate legacy to those that follow.”

More information about the awards is available from Keep Australian Beautiful by visiting www.kab.org.au

mayor-KAB

Mayor Karen Williams accepting award from Keep Australia Beautiful
(Left to right: Mayor Karen Williams and Carol Lymbery, KABNA Board).

Council’s 2011-12 annual report shows strong position


Redland City Council has adopted its 2011-12 annual report, which is now available on Council’s website for viewing.

The annual report details the performance and financial activities of a diverse range of activities undertaken by Council during the 2011-12.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the 2011-12 financial year had been one of productivity and change for Council.

“Our financial position is strong and we have $85m in cash balances including $43m in reserves,” Cr Williams said.

“Throughout the financial year, savings were made to halve the projected deficit to $10m from the $20m previously forecast. This excluded hand over of caravan parks at North Stradbroke Island.

“Looking ahead Council aims to move from a deficit to a surplus in 2013-14.”

Total recurrent revenue for Council was $159m, while total recurrent expenses amounted to $169m excluding hand over of caravan parks’ operations and assets at North Stradbroke Island.

The value of total assets remained stable at $1.86b in 2011-12 compared to $1.85b in 2010-11 and in the coming year Council will undertake a revaluation of its water and wastewater assets following the return of Redland Water on 1 July 2012.

The return of Redland Water has improved financial forecasts for 2012-13.
Council celebrated a number of achievements in 2011-12, including:

  • abolishing gate fees at waste transfer stations
  • securing land at Toondah Harbour for future development to maximise tourism and economic development opportunities
  • planning and consultation on the Redlands housing strategy
  • significant improvement in Redlands waterways’ health

Council has also continued to advocate for a number of key projects to realise the vision of a progressive city, including the redevelopment of Toondah Harbour, planning for neighbourhood parkland and streamlining of housing applications.

This year, Council has adopted a digital distribution of the annual report to achieve a saving of almost $4,000 on printing expenses.

Residents can request a printed copy of the annual report by contacting Council on 3829 8999. To view the 2011-12 annual report, visit www.redland.qld.gov.au.

Council’s policy sets out response times


Redland City Council today approved a new Customer Contact Policy that will dramatically improve response times to residents’ inquiries.

Mayor Karen Williams said customers were the first priority of Council and it was critical to provide accurate and timely information and responses to them.

“In order to provide timely and efficient services to our community, Council has established timeframes for employees to follow when responding to different categories of customer contact,” Cr Williams said.

“Whether you are talking to a Council officer face-to-face, phoning, writing, emailing, commenting through social media or inquiring on-line, you can expect us to keep you informed on the status of your inquiry and respond within a given timeframe.

A snapshot of service standards adopted:

  • Wherever possible, face to face enquiries at Council’s Customer Service Centres and libraries will be dealt with on the spot, but where an answer cannot be provided immediately, a formal response will be provided within 10 business days.
  • Council will strive to answer phone calls within 20 seconds 90 per cent of the time, and to resolve phone enquiries at the first point of contact 75 per cent of the time.
  • Council will strive to respond to written enquiries within 10 business days, with the customer being advised of the estimated timeframe for more complex enquiries.
  • Emails to the corporate inbox will be acknowledged immediately and responded to within 10 working days.
  • Enquiries to Council’s social media sites will be responded to within two working days.
  • For more complex enquiries, Council will contact the customer and give an approximate timeframe for the finalisation of their enquiry.

Cr Williams said adopting these service standards was another significant step in further developing a customer first culture throughout Council.

“Last month I announced the establishment of a one-stop Council Contact Centre, to be phased in over three years, starting from July 2013.

“With the new service standards, you can be sure we are putting our community first. This was the message sent loudly and clearly to us during, and since, the election.

“I make no apology for setting the benchmarks high. Our residents deserve no less.

“The guidelines have been set high as we have to ensure the community is well served
by Council.

“It also provides the opportunity for Councillors to serve their communities better.”

These service standards can be viewed on Council’s website www.redland.qld.gov.au.

Dam management rethink needed to stop the floods


Redland City Mayor Karen Williams wants changes to the Leslie Harrison Dam management plan to prevent wet season flooding of Capalaba sporting facilities.

Councillor Williams fears for the future of the Capalaba Greyhound Club if the discharge policy for the dam does not change.

“The club has been flooded seven times in the past three years and now cannot get flood insurance,” she said.

”This club is a Redlands sporting icon. It is steeped in history but is battling for survival. Going under on a regular basis doesn’t help and I fear that unless things change the club is doomed.

“During wet weather we have flooding not only of this club but of adjoining sports fields and clubhouses. It is no coincidence that this flooding occurs after releases from the dam.

“We believe a proactive approach to dam management can overcome the problem but are having trouble convincing Seqwater.

“The catastrophic SEQ floods of 2011 were a wake-up call for us all and I would hope that strong partnerships, and sensible water storage management policies, are a result.”

Councillor Williams has enlisted the support of Capalaba MP Steve Davies, asking the MP to lobby Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle for change.

“When Council ran the dam we adopted, a ‘trickle’ release policy once the level reached around 90 per cent. There was no flooding under this policy,” she said.

“But Seqwater has a policy of no releases unless the dam is at 100 per cent. Rather than being proactive, they are being reactive – and unnecessarily risking our sports clubs and fields being flooded.”

Councillor Williams said Leslie Harrison was different to other major water supply dams in South East Queensland.

“Leslie Harrison is full at 100 per cent. Wivenhoe and Somerset can go well beyond. In fact, when Wivenhoe was released during the 2010-11 floods it was at 171 per cent,” she said.

“It is not a one size fits all!

“Council believes it prudent that Seqwater reduces the dam level from its present 90-plus per cent. As it is a shallow dam, it fills easily, and can quickly rise to capacity with heavy rainfall, necessitating a release of water.

“There is at least a perception that silting of Tingalpa Creek contributes to flooding and
the government currently does not dredge the creek.

“We are also concerned that Seqwater may be taking a higher percentage of bulk water
from North Stradbroke Island, because of the cost advantage of doing so in comparison
with Leslie Harrison Dam. We believe the appropriate percentage would be 60 per cent
from NSI and 40 per cent from the dam.

“If this was Seqwater policy, the dam levels would be reduced through use rather than
wasteful discharge.”

Local Talent Rocking Christmas by Starlight Concert


The Redland Showgrounds will be transformed into a musical wonderland when home-grown Redlands performers take to the stage on Saturday for a night to remember.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said residents should get ready to tap their feet, move to the grooves and sing-along to twilight carols at Christmas by Starlight 2012.

“A children’s show by performers Christmas in Wonderland will warm up the crowd from 5:15pm before the hand-picked 100 per cent local cast takes to the stage for the main event from 5:45pm,” Cr Williams said.

“World-class soprano Mirusia is home in the Redlands to headline the show, fresh from her tour with Andre Rieu.

“Renowned beat-boxer and local resident Matt Gibbs will bring the beat to the party with his phenomenal talent.

“Younger members of the cast, Chloe Makiol and Alayna McAulay, will delight you with the brilliance of their performances.

“Local school student Kiara Rodrigues will join the concert line-up. Her voice oozes quality and maturity that belies her age.”

The full cast includes Mirusia, Matt Gibbs, Chloe Makiol, Kiara Rodrigues, Inah Moe, Oliver Samson, Courtney Heaton, Alyana McAulay, Dakota Striplin, Breanna Fielding, Craig Martin, Katie Green, Redland Rhapsody and Strictly Dance.

“The artists will come together to perform a grand musical finale encouraging us all to join the chorus with ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas’ and signal the launch of the fireworks display,” Cr Williams said.

“I invite the community to sing-along with the talented cast during the community Christmas carols throughout the program.” A carol lyric guide is available from Redland City Council’s website.
Christmas by Starlight Concert gates open from 3pm with a stellar program of family fun and activities on offer.

For more information about Christmas by Starlight, including the full program and free bus timetable, visit the Redland City Council website at www.redland.qld.gov.au/christmasbystarlight or call 3829 8580.

When: Saturday 1 December 2012
Time: 3 pm – 8pm
Where: Norm Price Park – Redland Showgrounds, Long Street, Cleveland

Christmas by Starlight is proudly presented by Redland City Council, with the generous support of sponsors: Bayside Bulletin, Gold Cats Stradbroke Flyer, J.J. Richards, Koala Graphix, SkyBoard Australasia, Stockland Cleveland and Veolia Transport.

Tourism gong for Council


Redland City Council’s support for the local tourism industry was recognised on Friday night, with Council winning the inaugural Local Government Award for Tourism at the Queensland Tourism Awards.

While the awards have been running for more than 25 years, this is the first year a local government category has been included.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the city was on the eve of even greater prospects for tourism.

“We have stunning natural attractions and a range of excellent tourism products here in the Redlands,” Cr Williams said.

“A thriving tourism sector will have dynamic flow-on effects for our local economy and our community.

“This award is a great opportunity for us to say even louder and prouder ‘come to the Redlands for  you holidays and day trips’. We are open for business.”

The new category was open to all local government authorities in Queensland and recognises excellence in tourism planning, the provision of tourism facilities and services, marketing, event development and management, and the overall contribution made both locally and to Queensland’s tourism industry.

Council’s tourism focus has been to deliver the vision in its tourism strategy for the Redlands to be ‘the most accessible, diverse and protected nature playground within Brisbane’s Moreton Bay and islands’.

In pursuing this, Council has worked to key performance indicators based on sound research and contemporary industry development and marketing principles, actively encouraging industry growth, and partnerships and networks across the entire region.

The Queensland Tourism Awards ceremony was held at the Brisbane Convention Centre, with the local government award being accepted by Mayor Williams and Council’s Senior Adviser Tourism Development, Paula Rathgeber.

The Redlands was well represented, with other local award submissions from IndigiScapes, Big Red Cat, Stradbroke Island Events, Fishes on the Point (Point Lookout).

Cr Williams congratulated tourism operators in the Redlands for their partnership approach to building the local tourism sector.

The awards are run by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council and recognise outstanding achievement across the state. They are judged by submission.

Images are available from www.queenslandtourismawards.com.au

tourism

Redland City Council accepting Tourism Award
(from left to right: Lucy Dyball, Monique Whitewood, Paula Rathgeber and Mayor Karen Williams)

Mt Cotton Biomass Questions and Answers


The Planning and Environment Court is currently managing an appeal and application by Cleveland Power for a Biomass Power Plant and Waste Incinerator in Mt Cotton.

Council has prepared the following Biomass Question and Answer responses to assist with community interest and inquiries on this issue. The document provides a general history of the application and response to frequently raised questions on the proposal.

Family Festival Fun at Christmas by Starlight


The Redlands annual Christmas by Starlight Concert will be a festival of fun for families.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said this year’s event offered an outstanding program of family-focused activities and entertainment.

“From 3pm, children will be delighted with free face-painting, an animal zoo, jumping castles, a giant inflatable slide and an inflatable obstacle tunnel,” Cr Williams said.

“Santa will make a special stop, with parents encouraged to bring their own cameras for photos.

“Young aspiring cricket players can test their skills at the cricket bowling nets where a speed gun will record their fast arm bowls.

“Roving entertainment including dancers, ukulele players, gymnasts, belly-dancers, drummers and a pipe band will create a festive buzz.

“A special children’s concert featuring entertainers Christmas in Wonderland starts from 5:15pm on the main stage.

“Christmas in Wonderland brings to life favourite Alice in Wonderland characters. The performance is sure to captivate Redland youngsters.

“Twilight carols begin at 5.45pm, featuring local performers who will make singing along fun for all ages.

“Headline act Mirusia, who is coming home to Redlands to perform after her worldwide tour with André Rieu, will keep mum and dad entertained.

“The concert is an open-air event that will provide a fabulous atmosphere to celebrate the joy of Christmas under the stars.

“Glo-sticks will be available for sale with proceeds supporting the Cancer Council to add to the festive atmosphere.

“The fireworks display at 8pm will provide a grand finale to an evening of community spirit and Christmas cheer.

“Families attending will not be disappointed with provisions made to ensure the concert goes ahead rain or shine.

“Christmas can be an expensive time of the year for families and Council is proud to be able to provide a free event for community members to enjoy,” Cr Williams said.

Families are encouraged to bring along fold-up chairs and picnic blankets. Free buses, courtesy of sponsor Veolia Transport, are provided to make travel to and from the event easier.

This year the free bus service has been expanded to include pick up and drop off from the Redland Bay Marina as well as Toondah Harbour for island residents.

Parking will also be available at the venue for a gold coin donation.

Christmas by Starlight is proudly presented by Redland City Council, with the generous support of sponsors: Bayside Bulletin, Gold Cats Stradbroke Flyer, J.J. Richards, Koala Graphix, SkyBoard Australasia, Stockland Cleveland and Veolia Transport.

For more information about Christmas by Starlight, including the program and free bus timetable, visit the Redland City Council website at www.redland.qld.gov.au/christmasbystarlight or call 3829 8580.

When: Saturday 1 December 2012 Time: 3 pm – 8pm

Where: Norm Price Park – Redland Showgrounds, Long Street, Cleveland

Christmas by Starlight is an alcohol-free event.

“Seven local projects axed”


The Bayside Bulletin story “Council axes seven local projects” 20 November (page 4) states that “A car for southern bay island service providers…” was among the projects axed by Council.

The article incorrectly states that the project cancelled a car.

At no stage was this project about Council providing a car for the island service providers and neither was it ever agreed that a car for island service providers was an option.

The publicly available project report tabled at Council meeting, clearly stated that the project was to ‘Investigate a pilot program’ proposing a vehicle for use by service providers on the Southern Moreton Bay Islands.

This project was investigated by officers and was determined to be unviable. A recommendation on this basis was provided to the service providers network on the island.

Local buy made easier for Council after change to Act


Redland City Mayor Karen Williams has congratulated the Queensland Government for making it easier for Councils to choose local suppliers when competing for Council projects.

“This is great news for Redland businesses and is what I have been pushing for,” Cr Williams said.

“Redlands will be a place to do business for even more local organisations as a result of this change.”

Changes to the Local Government Act in Parliament last week mean Council can give extra weight to local businesses when selecting suppliers.

Cr Williams said that with the changes to the Act, Council could provide greater support to local businesses.

“I am committed to helping our own businesses and earlier this year called on Council to review its own purchasing policy to strengthen support for local businesses,” she said.

“This change to the Act means greater flexibility for Council, the city‟s largest purchaser of goods and services, to buy local.

“While Council must continue to balance the five ‘sound contracting principles’ of value for money, open and effective competition, development of local business and industry, environmental protection and ethical behaviour in making its purchasing decisions, a new clause in the Act confirms that Council does not have to give equal weighting to each of the five principles.”

Cr Williams congratulated the Newman Government on this important clarification that provides certainty for Council in dealing with local business.

“We value all five of the principles, and will continue to strive for best value for money whilst ensuring that we support our local economy, local business and local jobs.

“The message to local companies is that Council is open for business and if you can meet the basic principles of the Local Government Act requirements, please consider us as a possible client.”

Cr Williams said Council also recently amended its policy on payment terms to ensure payment to suppliers was quicker than it had been previously.