Council facilities to close in wake of coronavirus
Fraser Coast Regional Council will close libraries, WetSide Water Park and some cultural venues as a precautionary measure to help minimise the potential spread of the coronavirus.
CEO Ken Diehm said Council was actively monitoring and responding to the rapidly evolving situation.
“The health and safety of the community and our workers is our highest priority. Council’s focus is on maintaining essential services – water supply, the sewerage systems and rubbish collection,” he said.
“As a precautionary measure, we will close a range of Council facilities and change the way in which we deliver some services.
“These decisions have not been made lightly. We want to do everything we can to minimise the spread of the virus throughout the community and to minimise the impact on our workers.
“Council will continue to review our business operations and service delivery as the situation evolves and as we receive updated advice from the Federal and State Governments.”
Council facilities that will close include:
- The Brolga Theatre will be closed for performances from today;
- WetSide Water Park, the Orchid House, the Community Nursery and the Halcro Street Community Centre will close from today;
- All library branches will close from 12pm on Saturday 21 March. Public programs and events are closed from today and toy lending has ceased;
- Customs House will close early for maintenance from today. The Hervey Bay Regional Gallery and Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere are already closed for maintenance;
- Maryborough Walking Tours will cease as of today.
Council facilities that will remain open at this stage include:
- The Maryborough and Hervey Bay Aquatic Centres;
- The Story Bank and Bond Store;
- The Fraser Coast Adoption Centre and the Maryborough and Hervey Bay Pounds;
- Gatakers Artspace will remain open to the public but exhibition openings, the next Gatakers By Night and 10 year celebrations planned for later this month have been cancelled;
- The Maryborough Showgrounds and Equestrian Park will remain open for normal activities but not mass gatherings.
Council will increase its online resources and programs at the libraries in coming weeks, and will double borrowing limits to 60 items so residents can stock up before branches close on Saturday.
Council’s Customer Service Centres will remain open at this stage, but residents are encouraged to pay bills over the phone or online if possible, and to pay by card rather than cash if paying in person.
Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said he had asked the CEO to call a special meeting this Friday to consider a Council coronavirus financial assistance package.
“The Australian Government and Queensland Government have announced a range of assistance measures for individuals and businesses, but we want to see what we can do as a Council to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus on our community,” he said.
“The next six months are going to be challenging times but we will get through it if we stick together and work together. I encourage everyone to stay calm, stay kind and stay informed.”
Local Disaster Management Group chair Rolf Light said the Local Disaster Management Group had moved to alert status.
“Council and the LDMG is committed to supporting Queensland Health as the lead agency responding to novel coronavirus (COVID-19),” he said.
“The LDMG is extremely conscious of the severity of this crisis and as a group will do everything we can to provide the community with an appropriate disaster management response at the local level.
“This is an unprecedented situation, and I ask everyone in the community to act in the Australian spirit to assist their neighbours, their families and their friends through this challenging period.”
Anyone seeking more information and the latest advice about the coronavirus is encouraged to visit www.health.gov.au and www.health.qld.gov.au/coronavirus or call the Federal Government hotline on 1800 020 080.