Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

New developments.

April 8th, 2011

For those of you interested in Having Your Say via the public notification process for new impact assessable developments… there are 3 current applications undergoing the public notification process. Firstly is a development at Urangan for 3 storey multi residential units adjacent Moolyir Creek. Then there is a signboard up on the Pialba – Burrum Heads and Dundowran Rd intersection at Dundowran to advise of a proposed caravan park on land at that corner. Lastly the Hervey Bay Golf Club is asking to develop 32 housing blocks on part of the golf course. I believe the land is along the Tooth St boundary of the golf course. If you wish to be involved in the decision making process for these and other developments you can contact Council directly for further information and advice. Don’t forget you can read details online via PD Online which is available via the Council web site. Cheers, Sue

April 6 Council Meeting etc

April 5th, 2011

Tomorrow we decide about a petition asking for new kerb and channel at River Heads, Heritage Advisory and Gatakers Artspace Committee minutes and recommendations, attendance at LGMA National Congress, our Feb financial report, a lease for the Dept of Community Safety on behalf of the Brooweena Fire Brigade, the successful Community Grants scheme applicants and RADF applications for Round 2 as well as an update on the SEMP and the report on the Adopt A Road programme. The Deputy Mayor position is due for voting on and my response to a Question on Notice about the River Heads CEP programme on the Reserve is provided. In the confidential section of the meeting we discuss the local heritage Register and Wide Bay Building Consultants Certification Business.

Don’t forget the agenda is available via the web site.

I recently travelled to Bauple to view first hand the different sites and options available for overnight camping. I was able to speak to many residents and was provided with the opportunity to chat to community representatives as arranged kindly by Mr Marc Bromet. It does help to physically look at the sites and different areas in and around the township and also to listen to the community concerns and ideas. I am sure we can resolve this issue to best suit the township and reduce any potential conflicts between traffic and other users of public grounds. But Council is committed to more consultation and this will occur soon.

Lastly I have just discovered, courtesy of my local doctor, that I have a ruptured achilles. Limping around was getting very frustrating but after 8 weeks I am annoyed that this wasn’t discovered sooner. I may need surgery (very likely it seems) so feeling a bit grumpy. I have not had an operation since I was 5 years old and they took out my tonsils. Oh well it could be much, much worse so time to buckle up and get on with the fixing process. It will be lovely to be able to walk again properly!

Tree Policy etc

March 30th, 2011

Just a quick post to remind everyone that Council is asking for feedback on a Draft Tree Policy. The policy is designed to outline the Council intent in relation to managing trees on land it controls. Trees in parks and on road reserves are dealt with and I am glad to see a focus on developing a regional approach to all things (public) tree related. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Fraser Coast became as famous for its trees as it is for its whales etc? The tree policy is available via the web site so happy reading.

We are in the midst of budget discussions at this time of year and as always it is a matter of balancing needs. I notice that a group of concerned residents are advertising a rates forum for the 1st July at The Brolga. The timing is interesting as it will be too late to impact on this years budget I think. But it was reported that one of the organisers believes that the Fraser Coast has the highest minimum general rate in Queensland. This is simply not true. 

Lastly a thank you to everyone who took the time to submit to the proposed new Local Laws. The next stage of adopting new Local Laws will be happening soon. Also a reminder that when only a few submissions are received as a result of Council asking for input, the people who participate in the process are the ones who are listened to. Council has a link to the Have Your Say options via the web site and it is a good idea to check what is happening at least once a month or sign up to the Council enews.

I was as sad as everyone with the news that Molly was to be euthanised. It is always sad when animals misbehave or are killed on the roads due to inadequate confinement. My dear Sharna was a Houdini dog and even knocked our sliding windows off their tracks and on to the floor to escape through the fly wire when confined inside the house. She suffered separation anxiety and a fear of any sudden loud noise. I often worried that she would end up a roadside casualty due to her fondness for ‘getting out’. Once she escaped a totally enclosed verandah that was roofed and fenced with pool fencing panels. I think she must have squeezed through the bars somehow! So while I know it is a challenge sometimes to keep dogs contained it is the Law and it is essential that we keep our animals constrained to keep them safe and to keep other people and their pets and livestock safe also. Molly had already been declared a Dangerous Dog prior to this latest incident and this fact seems to have been missed in the media reports. I watch Ceaser the Dog Whisperer on Sunday nights and it is patently obvious that many dogs suffer due to humans inadequacy at caring properly for their physical and emotional needs! Take care, Sue

Going Nutty!

March 20th, 2011

Last week at Council was interesting with a very intense debate between Councillors and some strong input from the public also. While the issue of providing ‘free’ overnight camping at Bauple would not seem to be a divisive issue it has become just that because of the location selected. The Bauple recreation grounds are also the school ‘grounds’ in that the local school is adjacent the park and the students use the oval there. Nearly every public event at Bauple happens on these grounds and they are quite central to the comunity. A recently completed Mens Shed also is a new addition to the site. While everyone continues to speak of the benefits of having ‘grey nomads”and other young backpackers in their camper vans spending cost free time in the community, the cost is borne by the region. If Council supplies upgraded toilet facilities, dump points for sewerage and possibly hot water for showers, someone is paying for it. The someone is the ratepayer. While I agree that an economic return to the small business in town is a benefit I dont think the campers will swell school numbers or help keep the town sustainable. While some people are expressing concerns at the ability of Council to monitor the time that people can stay and the proximity of the site to the school children, there is no doubt that Tiaro enjoys the benefits from their ‘free’camping site. But the site at Tiaro is not adjacent the school. Hopefully a differnet site, as was suggested by Council officers, could be the solution. I am so sad that this issue is dividing the community and I hope that it will be resolved soon.  Oh and what if someone wants to open a caravan park in these places? What do we do then?

There was an advert in the paper this week to notify us of the proposal to place a 6X3 ádvertising device’ in Pialba on Boat Harbour Dve. This sign will be a billboard and if you want to make comment you can do so by emailing Council or ringing via 1300 794 929. Another development application in Urangan for multi units is generating much comment with Council receiving numerous letters by concerned citizens. This is what the public consultation phase of development applications is for and I am pleased that residents are taking an interest and ‘Having Their Say’.

Pier plans. I think it would be nice to have a small ‘building’ with seating on the Pier. Last two times I walked to the end of the Pier I vowed I wouldn’t be going back any time soon. It was dirty, dominated by fisher people (which is a good thing that fishing is successful there) and had dead and dying fish strewn over it (a bad thing for me). Having to witness fish dying just because they aren’t the desired species caught and are just left on the planks in the sun to die, is not for me. I am glad the Pier is a great place for fishing but the rubbish generated is also probably some of the stuff we pick up on our walks along our beach. Maybe a small establishment that could help manage the litter and provide a pleasant place to sit would make the Pier more attractive for visitors and residents alike. I envisage that the operators would assist the behaviour on the Pier and supply a much needed service to all and especially our more elderly folk, by having a space to sit quietly and enjoy the atmosphere and views. There could also be some infrormation and interpretive displays incorporated. Other places have popular piers with sympathetic commercial activities on them and if it means keeping more shore based cafes off the foreshore, I’m supportive of the concept. I hope that business operators who are worried about the competition that could result, are the ones putting their hands up and expressing interest!

Lastly Council is circulating a Tree Policy for public comment. The policy is about managing trees on Council controlled land eg parks and road verges. I recomment that you have a look at this policy and provide feedback. I will be pleased to see the policy adopted by Council so that we can move forward in terms of street trees etc. I would love the Fraser Coast to become as famous for tree lined streets as is Toowoomba!

Prejudice and this weeks Council Ord Meeting No 5

March 13th, 2011

I had a rotten day yesterday! Reading the Sat Chronicle was going well till I discovered someone taking a swipe at me via letters to the editor. A Mr Stuart Taylor, from Hervey Bay, believes I shouldn’t be allowed to express my opinion about my religous upbringing. He says my words are prejudiced and intolerant. Mr Taylor I believe you are badly mistaken. As a public official I thought I was supposed to fight for things I believe in. I thought public officials should use their heightened public profile to try and improve the world. I also believe that it is far, far easier to continue in public life if you have absolutely no publicly expressed opinion about anything at all. This is because having an opinion means someone will always disagree with that opinion. But what has my religous beliefs got to do with my role as a community representative? Have I failed you in some way? Have I not been open and communicative? Have I not represented you properly when making decisions in Council? Do you find me untruthful or dishonest? I find your accusations unfounded and somewhat defamatory. Please describe to me where you find my words (found under Meanderings and Musings on this web site) prejudiced and intolerant? My brother was molested by Christian Brothers when he was a very young and innocent child. The result of this total breach of trust has reverberated through my family for years and years and I will never know the man my brother might have been had he not experienced such pain during his childhood! This is my own experience and it is real. But what has it got to do with my role on Council? My private life is somewhat public these days but it is what has shaped me and made me the person I am. Maybe I should do like a lot of other politicians and simply keep quiet…?

Yesterday I also attended the Reptile Workshop put on by Fraser Coast Wildlife and assisted by BMRG and other enviro groups. There was a big crowd and we squashed tightly into the Aldershot Hall to see a 2 hour slide show of the hugely varied and numerous reptiles in and around our region. I honestly didn’t realise there were so many beautiful lizards of so many colours and sizes in our natural and urbanised areas. But afterwards I came under fire from a passionate bird watcher, for the apparently unkempt appearance of the Arkarra Lagoons and Tea Gardens. In defending Council, as is  my nature, I was then personally accused of not doing my job properly. Maybe I should simply smile pleasantly and agree with everyone all the time? Maybe I’m just too opinionated and driven? You see I want Council to be seen in a positive light. I truthfully believe that Council achieves much good and is using its resources to the best of its ability. I believe that Council can do better however and I continually try to ensure we improve. I nag our CEO and Mayor if customer service isn’t delivering good communication back to residents. I want to ensure our roads are well constructed and maintained, our parks kept attractive and our cities and towns cared for. I want our social services to provide opportunities for the young and the not so old. I want our finances to be managed fairly and responsibly and I certainly don’t want any of your money wasted. These are the things I continue to strive for. I’m sorry if at times I sound strident, self righteous or am simply wrong! I’m sure many people will find fault with me and disagree with me but I believe I work hard and will always try to effect positive change. I will also always try to represent this community in a fair and honest manner. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail! But I do keep trying.

So to this week at Council. The agenda contains 2 items relating to boundary changes between our Council and Gympie Council. This process is simply endeavouring to introduce common sense into the line on the map that divides the two regions and should provide better outcomes for the affected residents.  Council also is notifying the review of position of the Deputy Mayor which we do every year. Council will decide on the Deputy Mayor role at the April Council meeting. There is an item to call for expressions of interest to fill Environment Advisory committee vacancies and a report on the review of Parks and Reserves in relation to overnight camping. This is a contentious issue for some communities but Council does need to ensure we have consistent guidelines to oversee this type of use on public land. We have an item on Public Disclosure Management and one on the development of local community plans. Lastly there is a lease agreement for the Bauple Rec Grounds and an application to reconfigure one lot into two and one lot into 117 lots for Doolong South Rd, Wondunna. The agenda should be available for your perusal tomorrow afternoon.

Take care and fingers crossed that we receive some more sunshine soon… Sue

Council Planning and Development Committee March 9 (Maryborough)

March 8th, 2011

Tomorrow Council has three development decisions to make. Firstly Council will be deciding on a multi unit development on land located between Hillyard St and The Esplanade, Pialba. The height of the tallest building is 5 storeys. This land is one of the few places along the Esplanade in Hervey Bay, that some high buildings are suited I believe, as it is not a residential precinct and commercial development located behind this site.  Next we have an application to approve residential development on a block abutting Turrum St, Scarness and lastly we decide on the application for the proposed St Stephens hospital and medical centre in Nissen St, Urraween.

The latest Council enews edition has been emailed out so please remember to sign up if you haven’t already as it is a quick and pain free method to keep up to date with Council happenings. On a personal note I’m still limping after tearing my calf muscle in my first game of netball for a few years. Not a nice thing to have happen and then I tripped last week and aggravated the tear yet again just when I was nearly walking normally again. It is quite humbling to suddenly not be able to walk efficiently and hobbling around isn’t much fun at all. Missing out on beach walking is awful also. Maybe this is a message that I shouldn’t place my ageing body at risk of injury via a fun recreational activity like netball. Maybe it is time to take up lawn bowls or some other more sedate competitive game? But it is a very clear message to me that health and fitness is so very, very important and treating ones body with respect is something I need to concentrate on a bit harder. So I wish you all good health and a trip and fall free future!

Divided or not the deadline looms

February 15th, 2011

Tomorrow is the last day to let Council know whether you would prefer our region to be represented via ‘divisions’. Would you prefer the ten Councillors to have a specific geographical area to represent, as well as representing the entire region as a whole, or not? I’m happy to try divisions as many residents still tell me that they want ‘their very own’ Councillor. Though they know that currently they can ring up or write to any of the ten Councillors they would rather ‘ get to know’ a specific Councillor who they have selected to represent them. Of course if we do end up with divisions the community can still contact any Councillor on any issue and should definitely still communicate their wishes to all Councillors. Without divisions all Councillors are driving around the entire region and trying to attend meetings throughout a very large region toget to know all the local issues, while at the same time keeping their sights firmly on our regional issues. It also means that each Councillor is potentially competing against each Councillor for your vote at the next election. This can, in my opinion, lead to disunity. Under divisional representation some say the danger is that a Councillor will concentrate on just their own division rather than the region as a whole, but but this would be a breach of their duties under the Local government Act. I know that the community would be less likely to vote for me in a future election if I didn’t make sensible decisions on things likes our foreshore, sporting facilities and roads etc that were not all within ‘my division’.

Without divisions it is expensive to campaign and also very expensive to run an election if a by-election is ever needed. The last term of the Hervey Bay City Council saw two by-elections and two very expensive bills for our community to pay. Please either email or ring Council by Close of Business tomorrow (Wed 16th Feb) to Have Your Say. There are links and more information on the Council web site  Just look to the right side of the home page. There is an online form that will work for one vote from one computer but you can email directly if you share a computer. The restriction is to help us ensure that voting is valid and honest. Take care, Sue

New Local Laws on the menu

January 23rd, 2011

Now is the time to get into some reading and peruse our draft Local Laws. Council needs to turn all the “old’ Local Laws into a streamlined version for the Fraser Coast. Yesterday over 80 people met at Aldershot to consider the impact on the draft proposed Animal Management Local Law”and Subordinate Law in relation to bird keeping. The discussion was very sensible and I learned more about bird keeping than I did prior to the meeting.

If you would like changes to the times and/or places we can take our dogs for a walk, now is the time for action. If you want to see how Council proposes to control car parking and signage and a myriad of other issues now is the time to attend a public meeting and learn more. The aim of the Laws as far as I am concerned is to ensure we have a fair system of dealing with issues. Not forgetting that Laws need to be enforceable and as straight forward as possible.

Information meetings are scheduled throughout the district and all the information that you need to know regarding making submissions etc is available via the Council web site. While many of us think we have too many Laws already the approach being taken by the State Government is to reduce the overall number of Local Laws and to try and bring some uniformity to the Laws across the State. We can tweak ours to suit us locally but we need your help to ensure we tweak them correctly.

Take care, Sue

Not so high but still dry!

December 29th, 2010

I trust that you all enjoyed a Merry Christmas and are, like me, hoping we don’t get anymore rain before New Years Eve. Preferably not before Feb would do me….

I just had Mr Peter Chapman, the Chronicle editor, visiting. He will be writing a story about the capability of Dundowran to cope with the flooding rains I expect. One of my neighbours has hired a pump to try and pump out the water from their backyard. Another neighbour has a pump going also and we are just glad that our big shed stayed dry. We had about 1inch to go and the floor would have been wet. Our little shed didn’t fare as well and I am scared to turn on our pool pump as it received a bit of a soaking.

But all in all I reckon our region, including Dundowran,  has fared well. While there are some very waterlogged gardens only a very, very small number of homes received flood damage and when we compare ourselves to other towns and cities, so far we are doing OK.

A big thank you to SES volunteers and emergency services staff who have all pitched in to help in what should be a week off work! Take a bow and I am sure I speak on behalf of our entire community in thanking you for your dedication and expertise.

Just a reminder that it might be a good time to read that Council disaster booklet that you all received recently. I certainly am as while I really don’t want to ever have to evacuate our home I need to know what to do in case the worse happens. But in case evacuation isn’t an option, and with flooded roads it may not be, I want to know what necessities I should have packed and ready in case we have no power or water or transport for a few days.

Do take care, think of your neighbours and all those who have lost their houses to the rising waters, and drive ever so carefully so that we can all enjoy a happy New Year. Let’s hope it’s a drier one!

PS Graham measured 175ml in our rain gauge this morning since some time Monday.

Doll House blues!

December 19th, 2010

Letter I sent to the editor re the Doll Museum issue.

I would like to respond to Mr MacKellar who accuses Council, and therefore myself, of being greedy, and Rebecca and Carl (FCC 18/12/2010) who also believe Council is neglecting certain small business owners. I can understand your comments as on reading the reports in the Fraser Coast Chronicle in reference to the Doll Museum etc. I would also believe Council is being insensitive at best.

But this is my take on the issue. Council has an obligation to ensure that residents comply with Council ‘rules’ so at times it carries out inspections. After amalgamation Council has had to re classify for rating purposes etc, four regions into one. This is a challenging and ongoing process so rules that were in place by one Council 10 years ago are quite probably different to the rules we have now.

As your Councillor I am always trying to ensure that Council imposes fair charges equitably throughout the region. But sometimes one size does not fit all! When our Acting CEO, Ms Lisa Desmond, first became aware of the classification issues in relation to the Doll and other home run businesses, she immediately notified Councillors and contacted the owners of the effected businesses. Ms Desmond did not ‘make a mistake’ at any time but apparently information passed on to the business owners via the media did not accurately reflect the Council issued statement. This caused some confusion to the business owners involved as you can imagine.

Council does not change rating categories mid year but we can waive fees and charges in specific instances. As soon as Council learned of the financial impost that the correct categories would mean for these particular businesses it did two things. Firstly Council made a commitment to review these categories and charges for the next financial year and secondly decided not to back date charges. So these businesses can continue as usual and Council will review the fees and charges to better ensure that small businesses, such as these, can continue to operate while contributing fairly to the public purse.

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