Several infrastructure projects will breath new life into Charters Towers and its surrounding districts if given the go ahead according to Charters Towers Regional Council (CTRC) mayor Liz Schmidt.
Cr Schmidt said council is currently in negotiations with State Government regarding the development of the Big Rocks Weir.
She said the project is of high importance for the local community as it would enhance the capability of creating irrigated agriculture opportunities in the region.
The current weir which diverts from the Burdekin River has a capacity of 5,200 megalitres, while the Big Rocks Weir can hold 10,000 megalitres.
“We want to pond the weir not stop the flow, and no land will be taken up as it would backfeed from the existing river bed,” Cr Schmidt said.
“By doing this we’d bank up a large enough water supply to initiate urban expansion and provide the opportunity for agricultural diversification and growth of high quality arable land,” she said.
“We had Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visit the town recently and I made it clear that the red tape needs to be removed so that we can forge ahead.”
CTRC Chief Executive Officer Mark Crawley said council would likely find investors to partner-up with straight away for the project if the appropriate changes were made to the legislation.
The proposal for the meat processing plant in Charters Towers has also been completed and is now ready for private investor backing.
“The meatworks would provide employment for 100-200 locals which would provide a huge boost for the local economy,” Cr Schmidt.
“There is also a proposal out for a stockfeed/fertiliser plant which would be built in the Cunningham Industrial Estate on the eastern outskirts of Charters Towers.”
The plant would produce two animal feed ingredients: Dicalcium Phosphate (DCP) and Monocalcium Phosphate (MCP) and the by-product also produces fertiliser for use in the agriculture and farming sectors.
A project that has moved ahead is the solar farm proposal that council started investigating in 2011 to address the need for reliable locally generated power in the region.
“We needed to come up with a solution to address our current dependency on southern generators.
“The Charters Towers region has an abundance of solar radiation as a natural resource and sufficient supply of marginal land suitable for construction of solar farms without impacting on good agricultural land and other viable income returning land.
“We progressed this initiative recently after signing off on a contract with DP Energy to construct a 42 hectare solar farm which will be built at sites on Wheeler Road and Bluff Road which are both located in close proximity to Ergon Energy substations.”
Construction has already commenced on the project which is expected to be completed in the next six to eight months.
“In conjunction with the solar farm we have also put forth a proposal for a data management and storage centre project.
The project will address the lack of data management capacity in northern Australia, and would be built adjacent to the solar farm which will power the data centre through a private connection.
“Charters Towers offers ideal conditions for a dedicated project like this as all new economic activity will be underpinned by the need for reliable data management and storage.
“We also expect to have full NBN coverage in the next 12 to 18 months which should make the proposal even more attractive for investors.”
Cr Schmidt said a big focus of the current council is to base all decisions on the majority view of the community through frequent consultation and collaboration.
“My goal is for the community to bring forward ideas for what they think are the important issues that need to be addressed in the region, and then have council communicate with them every step of the way until we come up with solutions and implement them where possible.
“The current council team is apolitical, we’ll work alongside any political party or government body that is going to create opportunities that provide the best possible results for the those living in the region.”