Updates as at June 2019
Tasman Highway 'Sideling' Upgrade
An election commitment has secured $40 million in Federal Government funding which, matched with State Government funding, will provide $50 million towards a significant upgrading of the Tasman Highway between Minstone Road and St Patricks River.
The objective of the project is to upgrade approximately 24km of the Tasman Highway including the notorious “Sideling” to allow for heavy vehicle usage, transforming the Tasman Highway into the preferred freight route to Launceston. The upgrade will see the straightening of the existing alignment, widening of the road pavement, and the addition of passing lanes and slow vehicle turn out points.
In addition to the obvious benefits to residents of the North East through improved road infrastructure, this project will be the most significant inter-generational investment in the region to date unlocking the potential of the North East, leveraging off the significant investment in irrigation schemes in the region. The project will also provide significant benefit to the City of Launceston by taking the North East freight off the northern outlet and out of Bathurst and Patterson streets and will provide an improved access route through to the east coast via the Dorset municipality.
Waste Management in Dorset
Waste Management in the Dorset region is changing. The new service delivery model will see local job creation as Council expand domestic kerbside waste and recycling collection services to include the townships of Gladstone and Tomahawk, and the Port Hills area. As a Council we have listened to the feedback provided by residents over the years and this, combined with the changing environment of waste and recycling, has enabled us to establish a best fit service model for the Dorset community as a whole.
Council wants to improve several key areas: Rates of recycling; reduction of recycling contamination levels and; minimisation of waste (especially organics) from going into landfill. A recent external audit of our kerbside recycling stream showed we have low recycling bin weights and the highest rates of contamination of all 7 northern Councils. Plastic bags were identified as the highest contaminant. This, we aim to address with our new compactor trucks, which will be rolling out from July 1st, and are fitted with camera technology to assist drivers and customer service staff to easily identify and address issues. Our service model and practices will undergo continuous reviews to ensure smooth, efficient processes and quality service delivery for the Dorset community.
Scottsdale Swimming Pool Redevelopment – On Track
Council recently completed a community consultation process which incorporated a community information session and invited feedback from community members. Council received feedback from 160 respondents and whilst there was some degree of support for an all year round facility and some respondents mentioned a Hydrotherapy Pool, the support was not broad based enough to warrant the significant cost burden both options would place on the community. By way of example, rates would have to be increased by an additional 8% to fund the annual operating costs of an all year round indoor facility.
Council is therefore commencing detailed design of a significantly revamped outdoor aquatic facility including a 6 lane 25 metre pool, Learn to Swim pool and wet play area incorporating a range of play equipment, shading, toddler beach and landscaping works.
The redevelopment is estimated to cost in the vicinity of $5 million, made possible through a $3 million grant from the State Government with the balance made up from Council’s cash reserves. It is anticipated that the project will take 18 months to deliver from inception, with the design and procurement phase completed by mid-2019 and anticipated opening in late 2020. Council is exploring options regarding the construction phase to see if it is possible to construct the new facility without closing for the 2019/2020 season.
The redevelopment will deliver a state of the art outdoor aquatic facility, which will be free of charge and not only enhance the liveability of the community but will also serve as an attraction in its own right to increase visitation to Scottsdale. This is particularly relevant in the context of the anticipated 50,000 plus annual visitors to Derby, as it provides a further product offering to these visitors thereby spreading the economic benefit of this world class mountain bike product.
North East Rail Trail
At the November 2018 Council Meeting, Council resolved to confirm its commitment to the construction of the North East Rail Trail. Council also publicly stated its support of the eminently sensible compromise position of the State Government which would see the Rail Trail commence in Lilydale and join up with the existing 17km Rail Trail in Scottsdale. This compromise position provides the heritage rail advocates with the opportunity to realise their vision of a heritage rail which would operate between Lilydale and Launceston (or Coldwater Creek).
Whilst Council remains ready to commence the construction of the project, pending the unnecessary delays being caused by the Legislative Council, the heritage rail advocates have not publicly indicated when the heritage rail will become operational. This is despite their persistent assertions that the rail infrastructure is in excellent condition and that there are no financial or regulatory impediments preventing the operation of a heritage rail.
Bridport MultiFunction Centre
The transformation of the Bridport Recreation Ground clubroom into a two-storey multifunction centre is coming to a close. The clubrooms are now open and are being used with installation of a lift and viewing deck yet to come as well as improvements to the umpire change rooms. Once completed the official opening will be conducted by Minister Peter Gutwein.
Bridport Football Club and everyone who has seen the new facility are highly impressed with one official stating that the facility has set the standard for the Northern Tasmania Football Association.
Western Access Road - Bridport
The Bridport Western Access Road opened in April 2019 with over 7,000 vehicles using it in the first 4 weeks since opening. The road has been left unsealed at present with the intent to use the vehicle traffic over winter to assist with compaction and to identify any inconsistencies in the surface prior to sealing before Christmas (weather permitting).
This project has been talked about in the Bridport community for well over 30 years. While there is nothing unusual about local government being involved in the construction of roads, what is unique about this project is that a small council such as Dorset has taken full responsibility for the design and construction of the project. The Bridport Western Access Road comprises 2.65km of new road including a substantial bridge, typically a project of this magnitude would be fully outsourced to private sector.
In addition to Dorset Council keeping the project management in-house, Dorset Council has constructed the majority of the new road using Council’s in-house construction crew and small local contractors. Conventional sector wisdom would suggest that small councils such as Dorset do not have the in-house capacity or expertise to design and construct a project of this scale. Feedback from senior Federal Government representatives and Tasmanian civil contracting veterans, has confirmed that the project has been delivered at considerably less cost and at a significantly higher standard than had the project been fully outsourced as is the sector norm.
Bridport Marine Zone Master Plan
A working group has been formed to discuss and review the concept design options and costings which were devised out of community consultation meetings in late 2018.
Branxholm-Derby Link Trail
The alignment is currently being finalised on the new 8km link trail connecting Branxholm to Derby. The trail is being funded through a grant from the Federal Governments Building Better Regions Fund with works commencing in winter. The trail will start at the Branxholm Recreation Ground and meander through native vegetation along the old road, incorporating Valley Pond, a 5ha lake and wetlands area. From there it will cross the Tasman Highway before winding through the native vegetation alongside the Ringarooma River and finally linking in with the Derby Footpath network at the entrance to the town.
The success of the Derby trails is now having flow on benefits to Branxholm which is being evidenced by the arrival of new residents and an increase in property sales and prices over the past 3 years. Total sales have risen from 13 in 2015 to a total of 21 in 2018. The average sales price has also risen significantly from $91,885 (2015) to $148,529 (2018). With 5 sales already recorded in the first 4 months and approximately 8 properties currently on the market (2 already under contract) 2019 is shaping up to be another good year for the Branxholm property market.
The completion of the new link trail connecting Branxholm with Derby will further attract new residents and support local business.
Street Upgrades - Bridport
Bentley Street reconstruction is nearing completion with the project on track to be completed by mid winter. Reconstruction of Elizabeth Street is substantially complete and scheduled for completion by the end of June