Thursday, May 16, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

New Whitsunday Mayor Attends Bowen Chamber Event

By Paul Gellatly

Bowen’s harbour and foreshore area, and Abbot Point, will be priority areas in master planning for the region by the new Whitsunday Regional Council.

Mayor Ry Collins, a month after being sworn in, was addressing Bowen Chamber of Commerce's May meeting to describe his vision for the Whitsunday region in his first term.

The new mayor is planning to bring his considerable experience in agriculture, construction, the public sector and industry to bear on his new role and says he has identified opportunities in the Whitsunday region.

He also says there is considerable scope to increase the level of co-operation between the council with industry, government and business for the benefit of the entire region.

"This region is not a collection of towns but a vibrant community," he said.

Mr Collins said the new strategy for the region was being readied in the lead-up to the state election later this year, with a focus on economic development. He said there was an "appetite for partnerships" in new projects.

"We want to see development opportunities progress," he said, with Bowen Harbour being one of the major priorities.

Also of concern for the strategy was Abbot Point, where the Gilmour Space rocket base and a hydrogen production facility were located.

Chamber Chairman Bruce Hedditch had complained that Gilmour Space's Eris rocket launch from the spaceport "is being held up by paperwork."

"Bowen is becoming frustrated and is looking to the new council to support projects," Mr Hedditch said.

Mr Collins said there "is continuing opportunity around our harbour and foreshore area, and around Abbot Point," while Mr Hedditch noted that "Bowen Harbour businesses are yet to get an extension of their leases to 2033 as part of the new mayor's town plan strategy, which currently is being formulated. It is heading in the right direction."

Mr Collins said the relationship with the State Government would be a major priority of his new council. He also said he would head to Canberra in July in an effort to step up engagement with the Federal Government.

He would travel to Brisbane in early June to meet with the Transport Minister and the Premier to discuss issues including the Bowen jetty project, presently being considered by jetty leaseholder North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP), which is leading the plan to redevelop the jetty as NQBP prepares to open a new tug base closer to Abbot Point. Mr Hedditch said the chamber is concerned about the direction that the project is going. "We wanted to keep what we have and rebuild it," and he appealed to the new council for any  help.

New Whitsunday Mayor Ry Collins visits Bowen. Photo credit: Paul Gellatly

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