On Monday evening, February 14, Rural City of Murray Bridge elected members celebrated Valentine's Day by ... attending a council meeting.
Getting into the spirit of the day, several key matters were considered and supported, most significantly the second quarterly report of progress made against the annual business plan and budget.
The report highlights our progress in delivering the vision of our community plan and strategic plan over the second quarter of 2021-22 through our delivery of programs, projects and services implementing the Council's endorsed priorities and strategies.
The delivery of the 2021-22 Capital Program has seen good progress with works advanced on our Footpath Expansion Program, the Bridge Street gum tree and Diamond Park lighting, Street and Park Furniture Renewal Program, the bowling club car park sealing, the Sturt Reserve Recreation Precinct Project and the completion of the Flagstaff Road Reconstruction and Upgrade Project.
Year-to-date capital expenditure to the end of December 2021 totalled $7.7m.
Key projects such as the Community Infrastructure Model, Eastside Wastewater Feasibility Study and Murray River Study Hub Project have also progressed significantly.
Major events delivered during the quarter included the Murray Bridge Marathon, the Rural City of Murray Bridge Sports Awards, the Murray Bridge Riverfront Christmas Festival and our New Year's Eve Fireworks to launch the Murray River SPLASH Festival.
Year-to-date key projects expenditure to the end of December 2021 totalled $698,000.
During the quarter, Council received advice in relation to successful grant applications through the Federal Government Building Better Regions round five for our Murray Bridge Regional Sports Stadium and Sturt Reserve History and Tourism Precinct Projects totalling $3.482m.
These welcomed grant funds will contribute to Council projects totalling $6.963m over the next 12 months.
In June 2021, Council had considered an innovative program for the management of Little Corellas and approved funding towards a pilot program.
The aim of the program is to establish a target site to be protected by deterrent technology at Sturt Reserve and to establish a sanctuary area to attract Little Corellas away from that target site.
Four locations have now been identified as potentially suitable Little Corella sanctuary sites and Council last night approved a preferred site at Swanport Wetlands.
This will now form the basis of a community consultation process, prior to commencement of any Little Corella management program.
With the new Monarto Safari Park visitor centre scheduled for completion in late February, Council agreed to work with Zoos SA to provide a special offer to residents of the RCMB to become a Zoos SA member and visit the new visitor centre when it opens.
The offer includes receiving all of the benefits of a Zoos SA membership on an ongoing basis to encourage repeat visitation.
Our residents will now be able to become a Zoos SA member without having to pay the $25 joining fee.
Existing members will be able to bring a friend/guest with them for free the first time they visit Monarto Safari Park after they re-open.
Each member would be entitled to bring one guest, so a family of four could bring four people (all in the one visit or over separate visits).
Council noted that the opening of the visitor centre will be a significant event for the Murraylands region being a precursor to the opening of the Wild Africa accommodation and safari experience.
This promotional offer to the local community provides a further reward and incentive to help celebrate this exciting new project for the region. The cost of the program will be funded through the Quick Wins Program.
Council also received a report from the State Planning Commission relating to an Environment and Food Protection Boundary Review.
Council had recommended that the Commission amend 25 boundaries within our region however the Commission advised that these sites did to meet the relevant test of the EFPA Review and therefore the amendments were not supported by the Commission. Council will continue to work with the Commission on this matter.
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