“We’re working hard to see our apprentices qualified and keep them in the community, where eventually we hope they might have their own little business. The Indigenous Working Program is helping us get our young people qualified, and Council is making every endeavour to keep our building services ‘inhouse’ to give our community members opportunity for employment.”Regis EdmondBuilding Services Manager
Council’s Building Services Department is responsible for all building undertakings in the Lockhart River community, including new building projects and major refurbishments, maintenance and renovations.
Building Services looks after all the Council’s buildings, staff housing, commercial premises, community housing, the workshop and store shed.
Recently work commenced on construction of the new 100 square metre, 40 seat airport terminal, which will provide a blank canvas to furnish the community’s qualified apprentices with hands on experience. There is provision for extension of the terminal based on future requirements.
Working collaboratively with Council’s Workshop and Parks and Gardens Department to complete building and renovation projects around the community, the Department undertakes such activities as tidying up yards in the course of a renovation, trimming trees and carrying out various hard landscaping projects such as driveways and pathways.
The Building Services Manager acts in a project management role, overseeing all aspects of building from initial concept and blueprint stage to final delivery and evaluation. His role is to ensure all resources, human and material, are sourced, appropriate and in place prior to commencement of building works. This is especially challenging given the limitations to transport and logistics imposed by the summer Monsoon.
Exceptional organisational skill is required, as even a box of screws can take a week to get here, so planning ahead is essential. Planning commences as soon as the Wet Season finishes; before that, Lockhart River Shire Council’s building services, and in fact any construction activity in the community, is currently governed by the rivers. The cost of barging supplies is also very expensive and some items are oversize for transport by barge.
Then there’s the issue of finding the right tradespeople. Once the right tradespeople are located though, Council looks after them, with good accommodation and living conditions. But moving into the future, and with the Lockhart River community’s sustainability in mind, the aim is to train up community members to undertake all aspects of construction.
Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council aims to keep all works within the community as far as possible, taking every opportunity to win building contracts to enable community members to achieve training and employment. Building Services currently has five apprentices under its wing, four carpenters and one plumber and is creating work to help them achieve their qualifications. With further funding sought, Building Services plans to support an electrical apprentice.
At present, the community welcomes the assistance of longstanding and reliable external tradesmen, who are in the throes of training Lockhart’s young apprentices and who have mentored these young people from the beginning of their pursuit of a career in building. For this the community expresses its gratitude.
Queensland Government’s Building and Asset Services visit the community to ascertain what work is needed, and subsequently put the work out to tender. The Building Services Manager calculates a price for the work required and places a tender on behalf of Council. Once the tender is won, he then coordinates all aspects of the project.
Council is striving to build more houses in the community, get more apprentices, and more people trained in all areas of building, with a particular focus on helping the many kids who want to stay in our lovely community.
The coming year will see many renovations under way, completion of carports and driveways, as well as roof replacements. As we older houses are renovated, cyclone proofing is a priority.
Reggie Edmond is in his job for the long run. His passion to see the community take on its own building works is tangible and he is nothing short of dedicated to task.
“It’s a full on job, but I love my work. Every day presents challenges, but half the fun is solving the problems and gradually building our own capacity.”Regis EdmondBuilding Services Manager
Phone: 07 4031 0155
Fax: 07 4031 5720
Address: 7 Anderson St , Manunda QLD 4870