Budget protects and enhances our great lifestyle
  • Thursday 16 June 2016

Protecting and enhancing our great lifestyle to ensure Sunshine Coast continues to be one of the best places to live is at the heart of the council’s 2016/17 $717 million budget.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said $19 million would be spent on libraries this financial year, including $13 million for library hubs, $1.4 million for library resources and $1.5 million for education and literacy programs.

Another $300,000 will go towards a staged renovation at Coolum Library and a further $200,000 to refurbish Caloundra Library as part of an ongoing library refurbishment program.

“Libraries offer a diverse range of activities, events and learning opportunities for everyone from toddlers to seniors,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The online eLibrary will continue to grow giving people access to free online resources such as eBooks, music, movies and audiobooks.

Our libraries continue to grow in popularity, with 4680 people visiting one of Sunshine Coast Council’s eight branches and two mobile libraries every day.

“More than 2.3 million items are loaned out each year so our investment continues to benefit many people in our community.”

Mayor Jamieson said $7.5 million would be invested in events and grants in 2016/17 including $1.3 million on the community grants program to helps organisations help themselves and others.

“Our community events program which includes the Sunshine Coast Australia Day awards and flag raising, Christmas and New Year’s Eve Mooloolaba events as well as citizenship ceremonies will receive $835,000 to ensure our community continues to come together to celebrate these important events,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Council will also invest $730,000 in community partnerships including safety organisations such as Careflight and the Coast Guard, plus regional museums and community halls and neighbourhood centres.”

Mayor Jamieson said thanks to our wonderful climate, our community enjoyed an active lifestyle and council’s ongoing commitment to providing and upgrading council and community sporting facilities would continue.

“The sportsfield maintenance program helps sporting clubs produce the best fields possible and council will invest $575,000 in that program this year,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The council-owned Kawana Sports Precinct will undergo a significant upgrade with $1.6 million to add extra seating at Sunshine Coast Stadium, $200,000 to replace the electronic scoreboard and $200,000 to renew the front façade.

 “This is an investment in our economy as these facilities continue to attract large-scale competitions – and their competitors and supporters who need accommodation, food, and sporting supplies.

“Some stay after their competition and many return for a holiday after experiencing what a great place the Sunshine Coast is. The flow on effect to our economy cannot be underestimated.”

This year council will spend $1.24 million to expand the Buderim Basketball Stadium; $670,000 to upgrade change rooms and the carpark/road to Maroochy Junior Rugby League Facility; $650,000 to implement the Reserve 1000 Sports Complex Master Plan at Golden Beach; $350,000 to replace the 25 metre pool surface at Coolum Aquatic Centre;  $200,000 to upgrade netball courts at Maroochy Multisports; $150,000 for the Nambour/Woombye District sportsground and $140,000 to replace blocks and tiles at the 25 metre Buderim Aquatic Centre.

Arts Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski said heritage, art and culture continued to play an important role in society.

“Council is investing $650,000 in the Caloundra Regional Gallery so it can continue to provide exciting exhibitions and programming as the regional hub of the Sunshine Coast arts scene,” Cr Baberowski said.

“This includes $50,000 for the prestigious Sunshine Coast Art Prize which has attracted a record 625 entries from across Australia this year, up from 340 last year, thanks to its growing reputation, increase in prize money and high profile sponsors.

“More than $1.7 million will be spent on researching, preserving and interpreting cultural heritage and $280,000 on our very successful Regional Arts Development Fund.

“The Heritage Levy will allow council to establish a Heritage Futures Fund which will put in place a long term saving plan to fund bigger projects the region may require in the future, such as a regional storage and interpretation space.

“The Heritage Levy promotes awareness of the region’s heritage through developing interpretive heritage trails, supporting museums, offering grants programs and signature community events.

“The development of a revised list of heritage places in the Sunshine Coast will also be funded through the Heritage Levy.”

Council will again be holding the acclaimed Caloundra Music Festival which celebrates its 10th year in October.

Mayor Jamieson said last year the Festival attracted a record attendance of 31,800 visitors, who lapped up four days of blue skies, awesome music and outstanding entertainment across the long weekend.

The event is estimated to have injected $8 million into the local economy and this year’s early-bird ticket sales are already breaking records.

“And 2017 – the year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the naming of the Sunshine Coast – is set to be just as exciting,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Council is in the early planning stages so I say, ‘watch this space’ to find out how you can be involved in celebrating this important milestone.”