27 March 2020

Playgrounds close and council services cut in response to coronavirus

| Michael Weaver
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A number of parks in the Queanbeyan-Palerang and Goulburn Mulwaree shires remain open but play equipment must no longer be used. Photo: Alex Rea.

Councils in the Queanbeyan and Goulburn regions have closed a number of non-essential facilities such as pools and community centres to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Essential council services such as waste collection, water and sewage works, roadworks, call centre and service requests, processing of developments and other applications will continue as usual.

In the Queanbeyan-Palerang Shire, the bushfire recovery assistance point in Braidwood remains open. It will continue to provide assistance sessions by adhering to appropriate social distancing regulations. Bushfire recovery support will also be provided via telephone, email and other forms of outreach and online methods.

Council will also liaise with BlazeAid in Braidwood to determine a method of operation which could allow their valuable work to continue at the Braidwood Showground and Nerriga Recreation Area.

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Mayor Tim Overall described the measures as drastic, “but we are in a very drastic situation and need to ensure the health and safety of our customers and staff”, he said.

“Council has a number of online contact methods available for customers and I would encourage customers to use these, or call us, to discuss Council-related matters.

“Staff employed in the closed facilities will be temporarily redeployed, where possible, to other roles within the Council,” Cr Overall said.

Council will also consider financial assistance and hardship measures to assist businesses, ratepayers and lessees of council property at its next meeting.

QPRC CEO Peter Tegart said the council will continue to work with the NSW Government to rapidly progress infrastructure and other projects that can keep local businesses in work.

“We’re in a rapidly changing environment and we expect further changes in pandemic measures and we will act in line with Federal and State Government advice,” Mr Tegart said.

“We will keep the community informed about the impact of the pandemic on Council services via local media, social media and our website.”

The Goulburn Mulwaree Council said it is continuing to prioritise essential services, but has closed all playgrounds.

“Open spaces will continue to be accessible, but play equipment must no longer be used and gathering areas such as the adventure playground, skate park, rage cage and outdoor gyms can no longer be used,” Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Bob Kirk said.

Cr Kirk said their priority was to continue essential services such as water, wastewater, waste collection, cemeteries and environmental health along with on-call services.

“Customer service remains open for the time being, but the Council is asking community members to pay rates and undertake Council business online or on the phone wherever possible,” he said.

“We are also encouraging the use of credit cards for payments and we will no longer be hosting meetings with customers in our foyer.”

Queanbeyan-Palerang closures:

  • Council customer service centres at Queanbeyan, Braidwood and Bungendore
  • Queanbeyan depot customer service area
  • Queanbeyan Animal Management Facility
  • Buy-Back facilities at Waste Transfer Stations
  • Libraries
  • The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre
  • Museums
  • Visitor information centres
  • Community centres
  • AXIS Youth Centre
  • Galleries
  • Queanbeyan Indoor Sports Centre
  • Aquatic facilities and pools.

Council will also implement:

  • Online meetings and development panels
  • Expanding online, home and ‘click and collect’ library services
  • Live chat function and autobots via Council’s website to enable self-inquiry and lodgements, along with regular telephone customer service
  • Online youth services and food hub
  • Online development applications and meetings; and bushfire recovery meetings and outreach
  • Duty planning service from Queanbeyan office only
  • Applications and payments will be required to be lodged online
  • Online DA and planning with the NSW Government.

Customers are encouraged to call Council between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm on 1300 735 025, email [email protected] or use the live chat function on its website between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. Further information is on the QPRC website.

Goulburn Mulwaree closures:

  • Goulburn Mulwaree Library (including the mobile library)
  • Goulburn Aquatic and Leisure Centre
  • Goulburn Regional Art Gallery
  • Rocky Hill War Memorial Museum
  • Goulburn Community Centre
  • Goulburn Historic Waterworks Museum
  • Visitor Information Centre.

The Goulburn Mulwaree Animal Shelter will not be operating as normal but will respond to requests as usual. Pick up of animals can be done by appointment only. Further information is on the Goulburn Mulwaree Council website.

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