Annual report offers snapshot of an unprecedented year

It's an annual report like no other that highlights an unprecedented year.

Council’s 2019-2020 annual report was adopted at today’s ordinary meeting and is built around the theme of “tackling new challenges together”.

The report details how council teams evolved, adapted and diversified to overcome challenges that arose with social distancing and lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, the Sport and Recreation team helped 75 local clubs “return to play” when restrictions eased, the Anzac Day service in Jubilee Park was streamed online to

19,000 viewers and Libraries delivered online educational programs viewed 173,000 times.

The report has also been designed in a landscape orientation, rather than the traditional portrait-style.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the report was an indicator of regional growth, with 416 development applications received by council’s Planning department.

“It also details progress on several exciting projects that will have far-reaching impacts on our region,” Mayor Williamson said.

“We’ve secured land for the Pioneer Valley Mountain Bike Trails and the Northern Beaches Community Hub,” he said.

“Both the Resources Centre of Excellence and the North Mackay Rotary Lookout were well under way by the end of this reporting year and the Waterfront Priority Development Area planning was starting to take shape.

“With the revamped Queens Park – the first Waterfront PDA precinct to be developed – being unveiled in September, and an EOI process embarked on for the six council-owned freehold sites in the area, the report shows how much progress has been made in a relatively short time.”

Mayor Williamson said the report also gave an insight into just how extensive the business of council was.

“In 2019-2020 we maintained 2944km of roads, disposed of 83,854 tonnes of waste and secured the second-best tasting water in the world title,” he said.

“It hasn’t been all been smooth sailing though – there have been challenges brought on by COVID-19, including a reduction in visitation at our facilities due to closures and the cancellation of many community events.

“We even had to remove a three-tonne ragburg from our sewerage network due to people flushing wet wipes during the toilet paper shortage.”

Despite those setbacks, records were broken in 2019-2020:

  • There were 403,434 visitors at our six aquatic facilities – up from 342,496
  • The 2019 Festival of Arts attracted 57,434 attendees – up from 50,500
  • Upwards of 8000 people attended the 2020 Optus Sports Expo – up from 7500
  • Libraries set a record for borrowed items, with 1,356,000 items borrowed, including 561,000 digital loans – up by 550,000 items despite a reduction in visitation
  • Council processed 15,795 tonnes of recyclables at our Materials Recovery Facility – up six per cent.

Mayor Williamson encouraged residents to have a read through the annual report.

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Cover photo credit: 2019 Mackay Through The Lens photo competition entry by Steve Taylor of Andergrove