2019: A big year for major Gympie developments
BILLIONS of dollars in work is slated to break ground or wrap up next year, continuing the region's promising positive swing.
The projects come on the heels of the Gympie region's 3.6 per cent GDP growth in 2018 that outstripped that of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.
From infrastructure to property development, education upgrades and sports facilities, there promises to be something for everyone next year.
It is not all about the big projects, either.
Several smaller multi-million dollar works on the cards promise to deliver big opportunities for the region's satellite towns and hundreds of potential jobs in the long term.
So what is on the horizon?
1. $1 billion Section D bypass of Gympie
THIS is the region's "big one", the project that will completely change the face of the city.
Announced in April, work on the project is expected to start next year in the hope of having the road open in three years.
The 26km four-lane bypass of Gympie will complete the final link in the 62km upgrade of the Bruce Highway.
It will eliminate eight sets of traffic lights on the main road between Maryborough and Cooroy, ease traffic congestion in Gympie, improve access to the Cooloola Coast, better connect Wide Bay to Brisbane and beyond, and ensure this section of highway remains open when the Mary River floods.
2. $2.4 million Equestrian Centre
IN A decision which is simply good horse sense, the $2.4 million Equestrian Centre is a state-of-the-art multipurpose undercover venue.
It includes biosecurity infrastructure and camping sites and will inject the region with an estimated 19 full-time equivalent jobs.
The centre must be completed by June to comply with the funding requirements.
3. $2 billion Lower Wonga solar farm
THIS potentially 1000 megawatt renewable energy monster should finally break ground next year at Lower Wonga, bringing 450 construction jobs, 12 permanent operational positions and major business opportunities for the region.
Developers SolarQ said in June they were committed to employing locals for as much of the work as possible, and with four stages to complete, it should last for a while.
4. Upper Mary St upgrades
THE controversial $3million project is scheduled to start in February and features extensive upgrades to walkways, powerlines and pedestrian crossings.
New bike tracks, trees, outdoor dining spaces and garden beds are also on the list.
Funding is split 50/50 with the Federal Government.
5. Coondoo Creek Bridge upgrade
THIS long-awaited project is expected to start next year, with State Transport Minister Mark Bailey flagging in September that ground-breaking on the bridge would happen "between April and December".
Pre-work vegetation clearing has been done at the site, although detailed designs for the bridge do not appear to have surfaced yet.
6. $4.9m James Nash Learning Centre
WORK started this year on the two-storey development at James Nash State High School and should be ready to go by mid-year.
The centre includes four general learning areas, two science laboratories, staff rooms and department offices, as well as a collaborative learning space.
It will also be key in helping the school cater for continued growth over the next few years.
7. Albert Park facelift
GYMPIE'S iconic sports park is getting a major renewal and will become home solely to the region's touch football and athletics facilities, and a premier bowls complex.
Not all of the work is being delivered immediately, but once finished, touch fans are getting an extra field, bringing the total to six, athletics is gaining two discus cages, two shot put circles and double-ended long and triple jump pits with a synthetic runway.
Parking and traffic flow is also to be improved, and spectators should be able to take advantage of another raised area.
8. Curra mega-estate rolls on
STAGE two of the St Andrew's Park Estate development at Curra opens next month, with 22 lots 6000-17,500sq m available to prospective buyers.
And it is still a small fraction of what is left - 55 were released in stage one, and including stage two there are still 108 properties to go on offer.
SQP Projects Group developer Ian Partington said investors would not be tied to any specific companies. "We're not going to tie them into any particular builder," he said.
9. Gympie RV Park
WITH the Rattler back on the tracks, the next major step nearby is an RV Park at the Old Gympie Station on Tozer St.
The $1.1million project is proposed to be a 24-hour overnight stay intended to capitalise on one of Australia's fastest growing industries.
Work is expected to start next year, with council and the State splitting the cost.
10. River to Rail Trail stage two
CONSTRUCTION has started on this $1 million State funded project from the Sands to Kidgell St past the aquatic centre and to the Rattler station.
Car park extensions and picnic seating are being added.
It is to be completed by the middle of the year.
11. Imbil town centre renovation
THE Mary Valley's business centre is getting a refresh as part of council's Our Towns projects.
Five priority improvements have been flagged: streetscaping of the main road; landscaping the Yabba Creek Parklands; improving parking on William St for cars and RVs; a pedestrian crossing at Bert Smith Memorial Park; and a skate park at Bert Smith Memorial Park.
12. One Mile ovals revamp
ONE Mile ovals is soon to be home to cricket, baseball, football and BMX, and it all starts with the first stages of a major renovation.
Footy and cricket are going to be the big winners, with new cricket fields, a reshuffle of football fields, new spectator facilities and walking area near Deep Creek.
13. Youth precinct
THE space next to the old Memorial Pool is earmarked for a youth precinct with facilities to draw in skaters, BMXers and scooter riders.
Small outdoor stage areas and seating and viewing areas are also part of the plan, which may incorporate the existing Memorial Pool building.
14. Bruce Highway safety overhaul
EXPECTED to start next year, if they were not underway by now, the time these $12million upgrades are expected to be complete is in the ether. Tenders were called in July for the 4.7km stretch - to dramatically improve safety at a number of intersections..
15. New waste transfer station
THERE is an outside chance work on the $3 million waste transfer station proposed for Laurenceson Rd could start by the end of next year, with the Bonnick Rd dump expected to close in about three years.
It is to act as a central collection point for the region's household and commercial rubbish, recycling, scrap metal and green waste.
It is not known where the rubbish will end up though, with council considering possible outside sites or even the long-debated Toolara Super Dump.
16. $10 million Nolan Meats upgrade
ANOTHER project that could pop into next year is the $10million upgrade at Nolan Meats.
Expected to create at least 200 jobs, it was supported by a $4.97 million Federal grant in March.
Nolan's Terry Nolan said it is still in the design stage.