WELCOME CHANGE: President of Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry Damien Martoo believes the revitalisation of the Kingaroy CBD will have long term impacts on the region. Photo: Contributed
WELCOME CHANGE: President of Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry Damien Martoo believes the revitalisation of the Kingaroy CBD will have long term impacts on the region. Photo: Contributed

‘Game changer’: CBD upgrade the key to region’s future

THE Kingaroy Revitalisation Project has been called a ‘once in a generation’ type of transformation.

After already being knocked back twice, the South Burnett Regional Council will receive $4.7M from the federal government to contribute to their estimated $11.3M total cost for the project.

President of Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry Damien Martoo said it was a step forward for the whole region.

“We fully support it,” Mr Martoo said.

“We think it’s going to be a game changer for Kingaroy and the entire South Burnett community.

“When one area starts improving, it does create a ripple effect and filters out into the other towns,” he said.

“I believe it’s been Kingaroy’s turn.”

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Mr Martoo said there were a few key players who helped give this project some legs.

“Full credit has to go to former Mayor Keith Campbell, chief executive at council Mark Pitt, James Darcy and Aaron Meehan,” he said.

“Keith and Mark had a meeting down in Canberra with federal ministers to lobby for additional funding.

“We wouldn’t have secured the money if they hadn’t of made that contact and showed them what the South Burnett was all about.

“Before I was president, Rob Fitz-Herbet and the executive committee were also a real driving force behind the project.”

Former president Rob Fitz-Herbet said he also wanted to pay tribute to Mayor Keith Campbell for the way he thought about how to best fund the project.

“This was a big project and Keith wanted to get dollar-for-dollar funding from the federal government,” Mr Fitz-Herbet said,

“To Keith’s credit, he went against what people wanted in the short term because he could see the long term vision by not entirely using ratepayers money for the upgrades.”

South Burnett Regional Council chief executive Mark Pitt with the former Mayor Keith Campbell. Photo: Jessica McGrath
South Burnett Regional Council chief executive Mark Pitt with the former Mayor Keith Campbell. Photo: Jessica McGrath

“When the initial concept was drawn up and the KCCI wanted feedback, we had 101 members walk the streets and go into businesses with the proposal.

“They were informing people with what was happening and also asking them to come along to the consultation sessions.

“From there, multiple sessions were held for both businesses and residents to provide input and feedback.”

Mr Martoo said he looked forward to the day when he could walk down the street once the project was completed.

“In two years’ time we are going to have a CBD that is going to be so attractive and have the ability to future proof itself for new technology in the region,” he said.

“There was a lot of controversy over the initial plan, but council listened to those concerns.

“They didn’t have to, but they did, and collaboration with the business sector has gotten us to where we are now.

“If we get this right, it will go down in history and save the region.”