Four strategic focus areas have been identified as the key to sustainable economic development in Gordonvale and Babinda.
Cairns Regional Council commissioned Economic Development Plans for the two towns late last year.
Mayor Bob Manning said the objective of the plans was to encourage business investment and employment while improving liveability within the townships.
“The plans will be used to guide Council in determining what actions should be taken in strengthening and diversifying the economies of Gordonvale and Babinda,” Cr Manning said.
“We want these two very important towns to achieve long-term economic sustainability. We intend to do this through carefully considered strategies that promote growth and enhance lifestyle.”
A series of recommended strategies and actions are described within the two plans and relate to four key areas:
- Tourism development and promotion;
- Business and industry development;
- Improved connectivity; and
- Cooperation between all levels of Government in the delivery of services
Division 1 Councillor Brett Moller said both townships had unique identities that needed to be protected.
“Gordonvale and Babinda each have a great deal of history behind them and they have maintained a special uniqueness as the Cairns region has developed,” Cr Moller said.
“They don’t fit into a typical economic box. It’s absolutely vital that we consider the character of these townships in any sustainable planning process.”
Recommendations for Gordonvale included boosting the area’s tourism product through establishment of walking tracks and developing an RV park; building on the presence of the existing sugar mill with complementary industries; and increased emphasis on current and new festivals and events.
In Babinda, increased marketing of existing tourist attractions; developing new and improving existing walking trails; diversified agricultural activities; and encouraging manufacturing operations to make us of available industrial land are suggested.
“There is also acknowledgement that Bellenden Ker holds fantastic tourism potential if a walking track to the peak can be established, or possibly commercial development of the existing privately owned cableway infrastructure,” Cr Moller said.
There is also a proposal to develop an identifiable name and tag line for the areas south of Cairns, on which to build the region’s profile; and a review of current and future town planning for these two towns.
All of the recommendations contained within the plans will be explored further with relevant stakeholders.
Cr Manning said the completion of the economic plans did not signal the end of the consultative process.
“We received some wonderful input from the Gordonvale and Babinda communities and we hope that will be ongoing,” Cr Manning said.
“We will continue to welcome feedback on how these recommendations might be implemented or any other genuine suggestions to grow the Gordonvale and Babinda economies.”
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