Chairman’s Report 2021
3rd December 2021
Re: Chairman Report for AGM December 2021
Yet another year has passed and this is now my 5th Chairman’s report after agreeing to the chairman’s role over for a 2-year period.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all BCE members for your input and a special thanks to Stephen Darwen for undertaking the role of secretary. Also to John Finlay as role of Treasure and Kyle stepping into the role of vice chair. Also, a big thanks to Ashley Darwen for assisting with our BCE Breakfasts.
I would also like to thank the Whitsunday Regional Council for their ongoing support and assisting with funding to cover our expenses for the year. I also acknowledge our strong support from our Mayor Andrew Willock and councillor Michelle Wright who always find time to attend our BCE meetings and are active supporters of BCE.
On a local front BCE have been working on the following projects.
Urannah Water Scheme
The Urannah Water Scheme has continued to move forward. Bowen River Utilities are the lead project managers and it is great to see the progress they have made during the year.
A full presentation has been sent to all members from BRU, however the highlights of what has been achieved is as per below.
- Strategic Business Case, Completed Preliminary Business Case (PBC) and Detailed Business Case (DBC) completed by PWC and BDO; submitted to Government in March 2021
- Each part of SBC, PBC and DBC all needed additional information
- EIS underway with GHD, draft EIS to be submitted May 2022
- Informal community consultation ongoing with official consultation to commence when draft EIS is released
- Broad ranging support from local community
- Opened project office in Bowen
- Almost 70 team members including consultants
- Capital raising underway
- All land access secured for EIS
- Constructive relationship with UPA and Traditional Owner groups
- Listed on Infrastructure Australia priority list
- Support from all levels of Government, both major political parties and minor parties
- Partnership agreement with major water infrastructure company including commitment for capital
The federal Government have also committed a further $12.65 M to complete EIS and geotechnical work which is underway now. The project should be ready to put a shovel in the ground in 2023.
BCE have continued to work with the WRC and TMR to focus on improvements in the Bowen Harbour. To ensure we are all on the same page, BCE have developed a 2 page summary after consultation with all stakeholders. It is broken into priorities now and future opportunities.
- Wave Action – resulting from previous work by TMR.
Further wave action study and stakeholder engagement
to understand the issues and identify a solution.
$20,000 to complete study
$400,000 to implement a solution
- Piles – impacts of removal and lack of maintenance.
Commitment from TMR to repair or replace pile
moorings with a vision to ensure there is always
sufficient available to entice boat owners to
moor their vessels permanently in Bowen, cater
for the seasonal prawn trawler and line fishing
fleets for their unloading and layovers, and the
cruising sailing and motor yachts that frequent
the Whitsunday region.
- Lease Arrangements – short term leases causing
Review leases on their individual business
needs without following a blanket model
which potentially restricts development, sales,
community opportunities, and the confidence for
operators to expand.
- Land Links – creating an attractive area that
links to the CBD and encourages interaction
$520,000 to complete cleaning and greening work
and path connection to join the harbour to the CBD.
- Lack of vision and promotion
TMR to engage with stakeholder’s including
Tourism Whitsundays, Bowen Tourism and BCE
to develop a vision and implement a marketing
plan to attract and increase visitation numbers.
Planning now for growth to capture new commercial and tourism marine
sector opportunity and ensure sustainability for existing industry based
in the Bowen Harbour. Two key areas for focus have been identified for
support and investigation.
- Tugs to Stay – the current wharf has a 5-year life span and the retention
of the Tug Service in Bowen is considered crucial. Tugs are currently
operating from Bowen, but without the necessary infrastructure the town is
at risk of losing this service offer to other ports.
- Bowen Harbour Service & Maintenance Centre – a project under
investigation by Whitsunday Regional Council identified as the “Bowen
Marine Centre of Excellence” with the vision to develop capacity to
service vessels including the Superyacht sector. The scope includes
the establishment of a world class marina and shipyard, state-of-heart
common and single user infrastructure, facilities for servicing and
maintaining boats from the smallest to the largest vessels and a sector
specific training component.
Bowen CBD Subcommittee
BCE Set up a small sub-committee to discuss opportunities for Bowen CBD to advance. While no major projects were undertaken from this subcommittee, the discussion and ideas generated kept the CBD in front of mind and since the concept, the CBD seems to be busier with less vacant shops. We will continue to monitor and support where we can.
Bowen Child Care Issues
Our state member asked us to coordinate a meeting with child care stakeholder as there is a real issue with lack of child care in Bowen. We were able to connect providers with TAFE and discussed options of getting fast tracking training to increase the number of accredited staff in the region.
BCE have organised and run three breakfast forums this year with a range of presenters. These are still being well supported and we will continue to run next year with the first breakfast to be held in late February or early March.
Thanks again to all our members and I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy new year
Bowen Collinsville Enterprise