Jun 16, 2016

Western Downs plugs in to solar for council facilities

Western Downs Regional Council is set to invest $810,000 in solar technology to power some of its high-energy facilities across the region.

Mayor Paul McVeigh said investing in solar energy made a lot of sense for council operations and would assist to reduce operational costs over the medium term.

“As we can see solar technology is moving ahead at a cracking pace, which is evident from the number of large-scale renewable energy projects being proposed across the region at the moment,” he said.

“The third wave of energy development is here with renewable energy following in the footsteps of coal and coal seam gas.”

Council facilities spokesman Ray Brown said it was a logical step for council to take advantage of the new technology to reduce its long-term energy costs.

“It’s a simple decision for us. The Western Downs region has enormous solar potential and council is well placed to make a strategic investment now in order to reap the long-term benefits that switching to solar delivers,” he said.

The council facilities highlighted in the 2016-17 capital program to go green include:

  • Customer contact centres in Dalby, Chinchilla, Tara and Miles
  • Tara Memorial Hall and Miles Leichhardt Centre
  • Dalby and Chinchilla aquatic centres
  • Miles and Tara aged care centres

The Western Downs Regional Council tightened its spending belt by reducing expenses by $20.3 million in the 2016-17 Budget in the face of a $18.2 million fall in revenue linked to contraction in the resources sector and anticipated decreased government funding.

“We are up to the challenge of keeping our expenses under control and I’m proud of how our council and staff have risen to the challenge by delivering some innovative solutions,” Cr McVeigh said.

He said the council had continued to invest in road and bridge maintenance and upgrades across the region, with $61.6 million budgeted for such work in 2016-17.

“There’s also our signature investment in open spaces like developing a master plan for the new Chinchilla Botanical Gardens, the upgrade of Myall Creek Parkland in Dalby and Anzac Park in Miles, to make our towns more attractive and enjoyable for tourists and local residents alike,” Cr McVeigh said.

“It’s all about getting the balance right, and I believe we have with this Budget.”