PLANNING for a new recreation and camping area at Callide Dam could commence before the end of the year.
Banana Shire Council and SunWater are close to finalising an agreement that would see the council take ownership of the existing recreation area at Callide Dam and a stretch of land in front of the dam wall, which includes disused SunWater offices and workshop.
The council's Michael Ball said it had a "handshake agreement" with SunWater on several aspects of the proposal, with a few small issues still to be resolved.
"They have put a couple of deeds in front of us; we have had negotiation after negotiation with them and we are getting close to coming to a final agreement," Mr Ball said.
"The lawyers are now going back to put the deeds together into one document and iron out the kinks."
Banana Shire CEO Ray Geraghty said he was confident the agreement would be finalised before the end of the year.
The agreement included ownership of 12 hectares of land, maintenance of the land (including the existing recreation area and toilet blocks) and maintenance of the boat ramp.
Mr Ball said once the agreement was finalised, a decision would be made on what would happen with the land. He said the council would establish a working group (including selected members of the public) and develop a plan.
He said there had been suggestions about developing part of the land into a caravan/camping ground and appointing a caretaker, to live in the old SunWater administration centre and maintain the area.
"But that will be something that the working group would have to think over," Mr Ball said.
He said the group would have to take into the account the impact this could have on residents already living in the Callide Dam Village.
"As part of the agreement with SunWater, we have $150,000 in funding but after the plan has been completed, we will then need to set about accessing additional funding to make it come to fruition,"
He said the council was working on upgrading the road through the Callide Dam Village and installing a new school bus turn-around area.