THE CHANCE FOR CHANGE: Killarney residents have plenty of ideas as to how council could improve their home.
THE CHANCE FOR CHANGE: Killarney residents have plenty of ideas as to how council could improve their home.

Killarney marked for future council development

THE picturesque town of Killarney has been selected to benefit from the next round of Southern Downs Regional Council Urban Design Frameworks, a program that uses community feedback to inform future development.

The UDF process has already begun to reap rewards for towns such as Maryvale, where the railway reserve was removed from the Environmental Management Register and features such as new walkways and entertainment areas have been planned. 

Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi identified Killarney and Ballandean as targets for the 2021/22 UDFs during a portfolio meeting held at council late last month, prompting residents to put on their thinking caps.

 

 

The road leading out of Killarney, towards New South Wales.
The road leading out of Killarney, towards New South Wales.

 

 

Chairman of the Killarney Cooperative Andrew Peterson was involved in the development of Killarney's 30-year plan some time ago, and said there was one big project that had yet to see the light of day.

"The number one thing is to get the road finished near the border. When it's in better repair it will help tourism," Mr Peterson said.

"We also may need to look at a heavy vehicle relief road, because there's a lot more trucks set to go over the borders, up the road from Legume to Woodenbong.

"We don't want to see as many going down the main street, if the number increases."

Tourism remains a key focus for the area, which uses events such as the Killarney Bonfire Night to boost the economy and provide funding to the Killarney Memorial Aged Care services.

"There was a country music festival for a few years, and it had some pretty big crowds," Mr Peterson said.

"But the drum fires have taken over, and that's an easier event for a small population to run.

"There's probably other things you could do like that, you just need the right people with the right ideas."

 

 

There is a footpath in front of the Scouts building in Killarney that leads into the main street.
There is a footpath in front of the Scouts building in Killarney that leads into the main street.

 

 

Chairman of KMAC Lyndall McCormack discussed the prospect with a small, diverse group of residents, who agreed tourism could be helped, even if just with additional signage.

"There's a big opportunity there, we have some fantastic drives up to Mt Colliery and around Queen Mary Falls, but it's very easy for people to get lost on country roads," Ms McCormack said.

"Our little Progress Association has been working to improve the signage, but there hasn't been a lot of action on that yet.

"Better signage could encourage local people to discover their own area, and tourists to go on a scenic drive."

 

 

The hills and valleys of Killarney are known for their beauty.
The hills and valleys of Killarney are known for their beauty.

 

 

The group also put forward the idea of heating the outdoor pool, one of the few remaining on the Southern Downs.

"It is a lovely pool, with a great garden around it, but it doesn't get as much use as it could because it can be quite cold," Ms McCormack said.

"Heating the pool would be expensive but in terms of improving liveability it would be great, especially for things like physio classes."

Killarney photographer and delivery man John Towells said something as simple as additional street lights could make a major difference to the community.

"There's no lights in the main street and it's dark as down there," Mr Towells said.

"I go out early of a morning and when I drop stuff off I have to leave the truck running with the light on, so I can see.

"You don't see too many people walking around then, and that might be why."

In addition to lights, a nicer walkway, such as the one along the Condamine River in Warwick, could prove beneficial.

"We don't really have a park where you can walk around," Mr Towells said.

"If walkers had a place they could go it would be good, especially for older people."

Residents have plenty of time to think on it, as the council has yet to schedule any community consultations.