Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting.
Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting. Alistair Brightman

LIVE UPDATES: Green light for Mary to Bay Rail Trail


THE council will investigate options to fund the Mary to Bay Rail Trail after endorsing the cycling track at today's meeting.

Councillors unanimously approved the plan.

Stages of the project have already been approved, with the construction of a 13.5km track from Urangan Pier to Nikenbah and another 3.5km section from Piggford Ln to Stockyard Creek.

UNDER DEVELOPMENT: A proposed map of one of the sections of the Mary to Bay Rail Trail. The development phase was approved by councillors at Wednesday's meeting.
A proposed map of one of the rail trail sections. Contributed

Cr Lewis said the trail was a great opportunity for the region's cycling community and there was plenty of tourist potential in the track.

It comes after Bundaberg Regional Council approved their own rail trail further north - a fact Cr Everard joked that council had "stolen the thunder on" prior to their motion.

EARLIER (11.40AM):

NINE parks across the Fraser Coast will be included in a 12-month public trial to allow closed-casket funerals to be held in parks and gardens.

Councillors voted 6-4 to approve the motion following a tense discussion across the chamber.

Councillors Denis Chapman, Stuart Taylor, Zane O'Keefe and James Hansen voted against the motion.

Some of the parks include the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens, Queens Park and the Elizabeth Park Rose Gardens in Maryborough and Eckert Road Park in Boonooroo.

The controversial policy has been subjected to much scrutiny since the motion was first proposed to the council a year ago.

As part of today's motion, a ceremonial booking charge of $200 will be applied for funerals during the trial period.

Voicing his opposition to the motion, Cr Chapman said no-one from the community had come to him asking for permission to host a funeral in a park.

"I look at these reports and wonder how much money is going into this policy... when I don't feel there's a need for them," he said.

"I feel I cannot support it, because I respect our community and our children out there."

Cr Truscott defended his motion, saying the issue had reached national attention and the current list of parks were secluded enough compared to previous locations that had been proposed.

EARLIER (10.25AM):

DARREN Everard will continue his role as deputy mayor after a ballot in the council chambers.

Councillors voted in a "secret ballot" to decide on the deputy mayor. The number of votes has not been revealed.

Cr Everard and fellow councillor Denis Chapman nominated for the position.

Speaking to councillors about his nomination, Cr Everard said the council had come "leaps and bounds" under George Seymour's leadership.

Cr Chapman said he was "ready" for the role and was committed to helping the community.

EARLIER (10:05AM):

A MOTION to host funerals in public parks and the approval of the Mary to Bay Rail Trail are some of the high-agenda items up for discussion in today's council meeting.

Fraser Coast councillors are hosting their meeting at the Hervey Bay chambers today.

Today's meeting comes after a community development panel handed down their report on the future of the Hervey Bay Esplanade after two months of meeting and deliberations.

While that item is not in today's agenda, the council is expected to appoint a councillor to Deputy Mayor.

Other items of note include the endorsement of the Fraser Coast Economic Roadmap, the Rural Residential Strategy and a discussion on the region's animal management services.

More to come.