Mayor Mick Curran at the Sands which sits at one end of the Mary River's rail trail section.
Mayor Mick Curran at the Sands which sits at one end of the Mary River's rail trail section. Renee Albrecht

UNDER REVIEW: Five things the council did well in 2017

UPS and downs are part of any year and 2017 delivered as expected for Gympie Regional Council.

Over the next two days, The Gympie Times is taking a look at the council's five most successful and most controversial projects and decisions from the past year.

And to start 2018 on a good note, these were the ones which council should be credited for making a positive mark on the region.

1. The epic 150th celebrations

 

Jimmy Barnes brings the noise at Albert Park.
Jimmy Barnes brings the noise at Albert Park. LEEROY TODD

RARE is the council decision that garners unanimous approval, but the Albert park G150 came as close as humanly possible.

Dubbed our biggest event ever, more than 12,000 people partied into the night as Australian music Jimmy Barnes and The Black Sorrows dazzled alongside talents like Reece Mastin and Thirsty Merc, while MCs Frank Woodley and John Fleming kept the crowd in stitches.

Even the weather seemed to want to wait and see what was going to happen, with the heavens ceasing an earlier downpour for the night and only unleashing it again once Barnesy's final note cut through the air.

What do you think Gympie Regional Council did best in 2017?

This poll ended on 09 January 2018.

Current Results

Celebrations at Albert Park G150 concert

9%

New aquatic centre opens

36%

River to Rail Trail opens

15%

Jobs from the Lower Wonga Solar Farm

27%

Hockey tournament takes off

12%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Gympie's 150th birthday always had an expectation it it can be very difficult to live up to hype, and this night managed to do so with room to spare.

The only question now is how do they top this when Gympie turns 200?

2. Diving into the new aquatic centre

 

The new aquatic centre has been a place for fun.
The new aquatic centre has been a place for fun. Renee Albrecht

IT MAY not have two of every animal but Gympie's new ARC has drawn hundreds, if not thousands, of happy people.

The $22.5 million centre has not only proven to be quite popular with residents looking to beat the heat, but in winter too thanks to a heating system which was not part of the old Memorial Pool.

READ MORE: Five things that went wrong for the council in 2017

It has also claimed a Queensland Master Builders award, and the only major hiccup to the pool has been a draconican photo policy which was not within the council's control.

There is also an added bonus in that it has opened the door for a project which is shaping up to make a "best of" list in the future: the redevelopment of the Memorial Pool site into a youth precinct.

3. Blazing a new River to Rail Trail

 

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THE Mary River is central to Gympie's identity, and in 2017 the council made a dedicated effort to opening it up for residents and tourists to enjoy.

Free and open to the public the 1.8km trail offers a fantastic recreational experience for families to enjoy an oft-hidden part of the region.

While some concerns linger in the community about it being built on a floodplain (something which plagued the constructing and opening of the project), as other major tourist destinations have shown this is an entirely manageable risk which pays off for the other 95% of the year when the river as it normal levels.

4. Solar Farm gets go-ahead

 

Scott Armstrong at Lower Wonga Sub Station near Gympie.
Scott Armstrong at Lower Wonga Sub Station near Gympie. Renee Albrecht

FEDERAL and State Governments are always eager to trot out their job-creation efforts in the Wide Bay, so securing a continued 450 jobs for a four year period is not something to be sneezed at.

Submitted for development in April, the $2 billion renewable project at Lower Wonga had not only given the green light by November but talks about it increasing in scale are already well underway.

SolarQ's managing director Scott Armstrong said there was a significant commitment to using local businesses to build the project, which is expected to break ground in July.

"We've spoken to a lot, from some Widgee engineering companies right through to some fairly substantial electrical engineering companies based out of Gympie as well," Mr Armstrong said in December.

At its completion the Gympie Energy Hub will generate 1000 megawatts of renewable energy, making the region a permanent player in Queensland electricity industry.

5. Hockey tournament a goal

 

Action from the Queensland Women's Masters Hockey Championships.
Action from the Queensland Women's Masters Hockey Championships. Leeroy Todd

CATERING to more than 750 players and thousands of guests, Gympie Regional Council scored a goal when they hosted the 2017 Queensland Women's Masters Hockey Championship in July.

Much like the the G150 concert those who were involved in the event were eager to offer their praise for the event.

"The fields were absolutely magnificent, we received top quality catering, we really got everything we could have wished for," Queensland Masters Hockey chairwoman Linda Hunter said after the event.

"The council (Gympie Regional Council) along with the association (Gympie District Hockey Association) solved a lot of logistical problems."

The Gympie Times will be bringing you the council's five most controversial decisions for the year tomorrow.

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