AN eventful year ahead is expected for the Mackay Region with several projects due to start while others will be completed.
An array of events will be held, in entertainment and sport. Roads will be built, developments will be planned and communities will grow.
Rumours are swirling that council is bringing someone “bigger than Elton John” to Mackay this year. However, Cr Williamson was quick to set the record straight.
“We are always on the lookout to bring performers to the region,” he said.
“We are restricted to a crowd of about 15,000 people, so the performers we do reach out to have to be happy with that number of ticket sales.
“At this stage we don’t have anyone locked in, but our events team is continually talking to the entertainment industry and promoters to see what we can do.”
Cr Williamson confirmed events such as the wine and food festival, Chinese New Year, city heart street parties and the Festival of Arts would be held again this year.
He could not reveal if any new events were on the cards, but said the council was always open to suggestions.
After thousands attended the WBBL game at Harrup Park, Cr Williamson confirmed he was in discussions with Cricket Australia about holding a men’s BBL game in Mackay.
“Over the Christmas break I had a meeting with Cricket Australia and we are looking to up the ante” he said.
“We are hoping to bring a men’s game here, but I can’t confirm when that will happen.”
The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys will play a trial match against the Melbourne Storm in March. The same weekend, an AFL game between the Gold Coast Suns and the Western Bulldogs will take place.
Cr Williamson was excited about the huge weekend of sport.
“It will be a tremendous month of sport and it will benefit our economy and tourism industry,” he said.
The four-year partnership with the Gold Coast Suns women’s team will also start this year.
Mackay ARC (Aquatic Recreational Centre) will officially open before April.
“The track is complete, the clubhouse is finished, the pools are being filled and it looks absolutely outstanding,” Cr Williamson said.
“We have about 13 school carnivals and sporting bodies booked in to use the ARC already.”
Celebrity sport stars will attend the formal opening of the ARC, but Cr Williamson could not confirm who.
“Our team are working on bringing some sporting stars, particularly our home-grown ones,” he said.
“Wouldn’t it be a dream to have Cathy Freeman run on the track.”
Other shovel ready projects for 2019 include:
A Northern Beaches community hub is another major project the council will tackle this year. The growing area is lacking in “social infrastructure according to Cr Williamson.
“Our plan is to focus on community facilities in the Northern Beaches area,” he said.
“Examples of these facilities include a library, a pool, sporting fields, parks, childcare centres and meeting rooms.
“We are looking at land options for that development right now.”
Sourced: Mackay Regional Council