Friday, March 1, 2024

Charters Towers council wins $10,000 bursary for innovation

Charters Towers Regional Council will receive a $10,000 bursary from Peak Services as the winner of this year’s Butch Lenton Memorial Bush Council Innovation Award.

The award, announced last night at the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) annual conference gala dinner in Gladstone, recognises the Council for its community masterplan which focusses on economic outcomes and liveable communities for the future.

Council says the project was initiated after community feedback was received about the future planning for Ravenswood and Greenvale towns, which are set to see significant change over the next decade due to potential mining company exit and increased military training.

Council responded to feedback and approached James Cook University’s Tropical Urbanism and Design Lab (TUDLab) and its industry partners to collaborate and develop the masterplans.

”The masterplan allowed students from JCU  the opportunity for real life learnings across planning and stakeholder engagement and to make a positive difference to these regional communities,” said Charters Towers Mayor, Frank Beveridge.

The unique and innovative process focused on the potential of ‘townscapes’ with achievable visions to define the towns’ economic development including:

  • attracting tourists and new residents to ageing agricultural towns,
  • improving liveability for current residents, and
  • keeping local youth engaged and participating in civic life.

”The success of this model and the response of the community to the students through community engagement has ensured a strong and inclusive vision was captured for Ravenswood and Greenvale. The next logical step is to undertake the same engagement with the Pentland and Hervey Range community,” said Mayor Beveridge.

A panel of judges from across Queensland Local Government were impressed to see an application responding to community feedback and addressing the need to create liveable communities.

“Council have captured the essence of supporting small regional communities early in the planning process to establish what is important for individual towns. The inclusive nature of the engagement for the masterplan achieved input from young school students as well as the community with input from Council staff helping to achieve a vision and plan for the future health, economically and socially, for these communities,” said Longreach Regional Council Mayor, Tony Rayner.

2022 Butch Lenton Award winners, Balonne Shire Council, were impressed to see Council working collaboratively with the community to plan the region’s future.

“This project demonstrates that working at a grassroots level to achieve a shared vision with the completion of a Masterplan, is a collaborative way of planning a community’s future to ensure community buy-in,” said Balonne Mayor, Samantha O’Toole.

Peak Services CEO and Managing Director, Brent Reeman applauded Council for engaging external experts with vast knowledge to drive the planning process.

“The use of external parties, particularly JCU, to enhance Council’s planning process and the ability to continue the project in other communities with the support of the award bursary are all positive aspects of this masterplan project,” Mr Reeman said.

Council says it will use the $10,000 award bursary to commence the same masterplan process for two more communities in the region, Pentland and Hervey Range.

About the award

The Butch Lenton Award recognises innovation in Queensland’s bush councils and celebrates the contribution the late Mayor of Winton Shire, Graham ‘Butch’ Lenton, made to his beloved community of Winton and the local government in Queensland. 

Previous winners include Balonne Shire Council, Goondiwindi Regional Council, Burke Shire Council, South Burnett Regional Council and Barcaldine Regional Council.

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