Archive for the 'Comments and questions' Category

Culture under threat in Hervey Bay

April 11th, 2012

I cannot ignore a recent comment made by my competitor Mr Jim MacKellar who is also running for Council in Div 5. He says, in response to a comment that I made… and I quote,
“‘Are tou (sic) suggesting that Hervey Bay does without an Art Gallery?’ A publicly funded one – absolutely. One regional gallery in Maryborough is enough. The present Council gallery is, according to people who have approached me, competing very unfairly with the private galleries that already exist in the Bay. They cannot run at a continuous loss, as does the Council’s, and thus they are unable to attract exhibitions at the prices used by their publically funded competitor. Governments have no place in art.”
Apart from my numerous typo’s courtesy of my ipad and my laziness in checking my comments prior to posting them, I cannot believe Mr MacKellar wants to take Hervey Bay back to the past. Talk about winding back the clock!
Our Regional Gallery is a valuable and well used facility. I do not want to live in a city that does not embrace cultural pusuits.
So yes we need our Gallery just as we need our Libraries, sporting grounds, swimmimg pools and parks etc.

Eli Waters Structure Plan. Campaigning truths rather than rumours.

April 7th, 2012

Council has finally, at our last meeting, adopted the structure plan for the urban zoned land between Eli Waters and Dundowran Beach situated Northnof the Burrum Heads Pialba Rd. This has taken a while to finalise but I am supportive of the finished product. While I agree with many people that this land is so low lying that it should not be developed, that battle has been well and truly lost. The land has always been included in the Hervey Bay Planning Schemes as future development and the State Government included the land in the Regional Plan. The structure plan is a good way forward however. It provides a blueprint to guide development into small nodes or zones and has allowed for an increase in density. The road network and pedestrian access ways are laid out and there is a good buffer along the beach and alongside the existing development to the West of Anson’s Rd. But most importantly the wetlands are largely protected. I really hope that developers accept this plan and work with Council to develop the land in the most environmentally friendly manner possible.
RUMOURS.. Nasty and hurtful.
Apparently some Div 5 residents have been told some misleading information about me!
My Age. Firstly I don’t believe I am too old to serve another 4 years on Council. I will turn 57 years old on April 27th, the day before the election and I hope nobody, in this day and age, believes our age is an important issue in relation to capacity to work or ability to do so.
Drainage in my Street. I live in Vine Forest Dve. While my street does not flood my property does as does several of my neighbours. We have had a nice lake in our backyard last summer and more recently, BUT I have not asked Council to do any drainage works in my street yet! Council is prioritising areas where roads and houses are inundated or in danger of being inundated. I have asked that Palmwood Dve be investigated and a solution for this road, which fills with water after every rainfall, should be included in the upcoming budget. Then Eagle Beach Pde is a problem as are areas in Craignish, Toogoom, Burrum Heads and Howard etc. I will support Council systematically working to improve drainage in these areas. I hope Vine Forest Dve drainage can be improved but my neighbours drainage issues will be dealt with in time and in turn and not sooner than anyone who has a greater need.
Mind Games was not sold. Graham and I did own Mind Games a retail shop that Graham ran for the last 7 years. We did not sell it! We closed it because it was slowly but surely going broke! We wish we had sold it years ago when it was trading profitably but alas we did not!
Now can we please cease the nasty rumours please? Thanks, Sue

Litigation gone mad, Tiaro and whales, and Big History.

June 26th, 2011

I can’t believe some of the decisions our legal system makes. Yesterday on the front page of the Courier Mail we read about a woman succeeding in having Telstra pay her medical and legal bills. At first glance I thought… just another story until I read that the woman fell down the stairs at her home, not once but twice, and that because she was ‘working from home’ Telstra is somehow responsible. Inside the newspaper I read of a similar case in the US of A! What is the world coming to? Does it mean that from now on if I am working from home, which I do a lot, Council will have to come to my home and check that it is safe? Honestly I just can’t believe this story and am hoping I wake up and find it was all a dream..

Recently I tripped up inside the Council Chamber and aggravated my ruptured achilles tendon prior to it being correctly diagnosed. While I briefly thought of claiming workers compensation once I realised I would need surgery and a considerable time of rehab I just as promptly dismissed the idea. Yes the electrical power lead should not have been laying across the floor but I should have been taking better care of where I was walking. Also the injury was already done via netball some weeks prior. I decided just to get on with my life and have done so, but now apparently if I trip over at home I could place a claim. I just find it all ridiculous. Surely it is up to us to ensure we live in safe houses and up to our private home and/or personal insurance if we injure ourselves at home?

Yesterday was a  busy day with the morning spent at Tiaro speaking to people about the introduction or not, of Council divisions. We all have till the end of tomorrow being Monday to Have Our Say on this important issue. Most people at Tiaro seemed to think a return to divisions would be beneficial. The day was superb. Good weather and wonderful stalls and great organisation by hard working volunteers. A credit to Tiaro. Then it was off to the Paddle Out For Whales event at Torquay. Another beautiful afternoon and a sensational event again put on with some hard working caring ‘volunteers’. Thanks to Vicki and Amanda for your dedication. Bob Irwin was inspirational and truthful and hard hitting. I squirmed when Bob described how turtles and dugongs are left to die slow deaths by way of ritual slaughter under Native entitlements. I wish all cultural groups would just simply reassess some of their habits and traditional practices. The slaughter of any animal should be done as quickly and humanely as possible. There is simply no excuse in my mind, why anyone would do anything different once one realises that animals suffer pain and have emotions similar to ours!

Lastly the weekend papers did also provide some good news. A seemingly totally sensible new approach to teaching subject matter is being launched at a couple of schools. The programme is called “Big History’which is a strange name I think but the content of this course is universally sensible. The aim is to teach the evolution of our planet and the human species in a thoroughly objective manner. It weaves science, history and geography etc into the content and aims to provide a much broader and hopefully bias free, method of educating students. Bill Gates is promoting the project and from the small amount of research I have done so far it seems very worthwhile. Imagine a course taught to all children across the world. A course that aims to unite all of us humans rather than divide us. I am encouraged by where this type of education could take us. Do have a look and see what you think

In closing just a reminder that Council is asking for feedback about divisions, about the Maryborough CBD and the Fraser Coast Airports Master Plans. If you don’t take the time to have a quick look and a quick say then it is difficult to complain after the plans are adopted. It is concerning to me to have to make decisions for this region when only 1-2% of you have responded to any given issue. I know we live in very busy times but……. please try and have your say. Take care and have fun, Sue

PS I have started a facebook page as Councillor Sue Brooks which I can update quickly and simply so feel free to join me there also..!/pages/Councillor-Sue-Brooks/171469812905823 or just do a search which works easily…

Footpath woes

June 20th, 2011

I am saddened that given the opportunity to ensure that a developer builds footpaths, Council continues to not mandate footpaths. Many of us grew up being pushed in our pushers to the local shops along concrete footpaths. We rode our tricycles, furiously pushed and peddled our peddle cars and wobbled our way uncertainly onto two wheels when learning to ride a bicycle. We gained the odd scabbed knee but we didn’t have to contend with cars.

My elderly father still takes a walk with his trusty canine companion, safely down the very same footpath that I grew up using. This pathway has required but one upgrade in the 50 years or so since it was built!

Why is it that in our ever faster and busier residential neighbourhoods no child will get to safely experience playing on a smooth footpath separated from the cars? Surely we should be incorporating footpaths into every new development on the Fraser Coast.

Recently I voted against the new Development Control Manual because it does not require developers to include footpaths in new developments. I tried to amend this manual but failed. I also asked Council to include footpaths in the recently approved final stages of the ‘”On The Beach’’ development at Burrum Heads to no avail.

I don’t want to walk on a road where cars and trucks whizz past. I don’t want to drive home and have to dodge young children ‘playing’ on my road. They have to use the road as there are no footpaths where I live.

So if you agree with me and want footpaths to be included in new developments now is the time to tell Council. It is never too late to ensure we build safer communities for the children of the future and for ourselves also. After all one day we will all be more frail and less inclined to want to play dodgem with the traffic!

AMENDMENT ( Brooks / – )

                   That Condition A-51 of the motion be amended as follows:

                    A – Condition 51

 Construct a minimum 1.5m wide concrete footpath and associated pram crossings be provided on one side of each internal road within the development site and Volute Way to link with the existing footpath infrastructure within Barramundi Drive.

                                                                     LAPSED FOR WANT OF A SECONDER

                                                                                                 Ord 11/669/06/11

Foreshore Poll ends

November 15th, 2010

Council is about to review the Foreshore Plans actions and I hope that Council does decide to better focus on weed control along the foreshore and in other ‘natural’ areas than has been our experience in the past. I also want sensible designs in relations to gardens and picnic facilities and car parking not like the problematic design we have now at  The Gables.
The Council CEP programme is the ideal tool to use and has a new and proactive and very keen Council officer, by way of Marc Russell, to oversee it. Yes there is some red tape involved but in these days of litigation this is a necessary evil. Some groups haven’t continued on with CEP in the past after initial enthusiasm and maybe this is because they believe they will be allowed to carry out clearing and other works to increase views? When they realise this cannot be achieved in many places (Dundowran/Toogoom for example)under the current Foreshore Plan, they stop participating.

The Fraser Coast foreshore is a very large piece of public land and a huge cost to Council to maintain. To spend more funds on the foreshore impacts on rates and no one wants to see rates rise. So yes if we want to better service the foreshore and better care for it lets all roll up our collective sleeves and help Council in its endeavours.
The Chronicle campaign is timely as it has focussed attention on the foreshore but lets not get too excited about a campaign that has a broad generalised question that is not well defined, relating to an area of foreshore that isn’t defined and is only representative of Chronicle readers not the wider community. Under 700 votes is less than half a percent of the regions population so I won’t be jumping up and down reacting to this result. But it would be nice to know the breakdown of numbers versus suburbs?

One could easily say that the deafening sounds of silence from the greater community means they are basically content with things the way they are! I was expecting a much bigger response seeing as global emails were flying round the electronic world faster than the speed of…!

But a survey of actual Foreshore users now that would be interesting wouldn’t it?

PS The All Abilities Playground adjacent to the Seafront Oval will open soon. Another public facility right on the foreshore. I look forward to receiving your opinions on that in the very near future.

Foreshore Front Page – and the Chronicle poll!

November 7th, 2010

The Esplanade and Foreshore made the font page yesterday with yours truly and the Chronicle Editor featured on the front page. We were both trying to keep the rain out of our eyes at the time that this photo was taken Friday morning (directly opposite Delfinos just up from Denman Camp Rd). I didn’t expect Peter to front up so that was a surprise.

The story goes on to argue that some areas of our foreshore need a good clean up and the weeds and dead branches etc need removing. I agree about the weeds but some dead wood and natural undergrowth should be left alone depending on where it is located.

Inside The Chronicle I am portrayed as wanting the Foreshore ‘left alone’. I have never said I want it totally left alone and I have worked hard to find a way to better resource our Council staff so that increased weeding regimes can occur. I recently posted a story about how the community can become involved and help Council in this regard. Also this week in Council I was informed that the highly anticipated Foreshore Plan actions review report will be ready the first week of December.

So to the poll. The Chronicle is asking us to vote and there are two questions. Either we ask for a ‘major clean up’ of the foreshore or we don’t!  The questions are designed to be either one or the other and don’t, in my mind, properly articulate what is needed.

However I will be voting no as I believe the foreshore only needs a minor clean up in specific areas and as The Chronicle hasn’t properly defined what it actually means by  ‘a major clean up’ I am not confident that the results of the poll will be worth much anyway. But there is a poll and already there have been global emails being circulated by UDIA and the Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce asking their members to vote ‘as this is your chance to clean up The Esplanade’. So from business and the development industry we have a big clean up push. Maybe I will just cross out the word ‘major’ on the form and insert ‘just remove weeds’ instead!

So it is over to the readers of The Chronicle to have their say. To participate in the poll either use the coupon printed in The Chronicle on Saturday or email The Chronicle at

[email protected]

You must attach your name and suburb for your vote to be recognised and it is probably best to use the words Foreshore Poll in the subject line.

I will be interested in the results. Cheers, Sue

PS Can’t finish without thanking Tess Patterson for her wonderful letter. She has a lovely way of putting into words what our foreshore means to many of us. Thanks Tess.

Our Hervey Bay Foreshore… again!

November 4th, 2010

It seems Mr Peter Chapman the editor of The Chronicle has returned from his overseas trip with new ideas on how to make our foreshore better. So now The Chronicle is campaigning for more lawns, less undergrowth, more cafes and less nature I believe.

As a result of this campaign I sent this letter to the paper last week…

“Dear Peter, I’m interested in your recent comments within The Chronicle, that our foreshore is not to your standard and needs ‘tidying up’. While I note that the majority of letter writers in favour of ‘tidying up’ the foreshore appear to be coming from business and residential property owners who own or manage properties actually on The Esplanade, I believe the foreshore belongs to our entire region. What we do or don’t do along our beautiful foreshore is a matter for the wider community to decide.

While I believe the foreshore is a beautiful asset just the way it is, I am sure that some of the natural areas could do with some increased weeding and possibly some ground cover plantings to improve both the visual aspect and habitat values. The community could certainly assist Council in this regard via the Community Environment Volunteer Program.

Council is awaiting an update on actions within the Hervey Bay Foreshore Plan but in the mean time would you Peter, please come for a stroll along the foreshore with me? A stroll with maps and pen or GPS in hand would ensure which areas you are happy about and which areas you aren’t. We can also chat to people along the way to ask what they think and possibly grab a coffee and enjoy the scenery. I’m happy to do this on a weekend if needed. I look forward to hearing from you soon”.

 Mr Chapman has responded that he would like to take a walk and still says that this will happen but in the mean time intends to run a 2 page story on Saturday about his ‘investigation’ of our foreshore. I have been asked for comment and have provided this…

Our foreshore is a place of peace and quiet, a place where we can run, walk, cycle, play, paddle, cuddle or just hold hands. We can eat, meet friends, listen to music, walk the dog, exercise and learn Tai Chi alongside our beautiful beach. It is a place of natural beauty that protects us from winds and inspires us to care for it. We might not all live alongside it but we care passionately about it and want to see it preserved from development and protected for our children’s children to enjoy.

Our foreshore is the jewel in Hervey Bays crown. It is the face of our city and is instrumental in attracting so many new residents and visitors. Our Esplanade and foreshore is what made me fall in love with Hervey Bay and eventually move here!
Our foreshore is unique as it is long enough to incorporate varying landscapes but still retain tall trees and wildlife directly opposite a very busy city. In other words there is something for everyone.  
Our foreshore is not only attractive when viewed from the road but a shady, interesting and sheltered peaceful world is revealed when walking or cycling the pathways, strolling along the sandy beach or looking back towards land from the Pier or a watercraft.  
If we clear the natural areas alongside our beaches and replace them with buildings and manicured lawns what will set us apart from anywhere else along the coast?
Let’s not spoil what we have come to enjoy!
I am so pleased that there are residents already working with Council to remove weeds and litter and to make our foreshore even better as part of our Community Environment Program.

I expect the Chronicle will be surveying readers in the days to come so yet again our beautiful foreshore comes under the spotlight. Cheers, Sue

Chronicle – Hypocritical or not?

October 23rd, 2010

After deciding to make my comments about speeding their front page story earlier this week I was surprised to read the most recent of the Chronicle Drive 2 Stay Alive Campaign installments. Surprised is probably an understatement I was closer to highly annoyed.
You see the story is ‘buried’ on page 30 of the Friday edition of the Hervey Bay Observer. Guess what the headline is….and I quote –
“Faster Saves Lives – Expert claims increased speed limits could make roads safer”. The story then goes on to explain how a ‘leading German safety expert’ says Australian drivers could travel faster on freeways in an effort to reduce the road toll’. It goes on to explain why.
I suppose I have a right to question why is this article not front page news with an apolgy to myself, after all my opinion about speed reflects exactly what this article is saying?
I also received an interesting article by mail posted to me by a local resident who regularly visits America. This article from the Denver Rocky Mountain News describes how a Police Chief had ordered his troops to stop setting speed traps and to get out and patrol the roads instead. Guess what happened? They fined more people for speeding than when they were using stationary ‘speed traps’ and the number of speed-related crashes dropped. I would also add that road users respect for the police force would also have increased.
I also remind readers that the Ch 9 ACA is highlighting the innacuracy of some fixed speed cameras this coming week as is the Courier Mail.
I will be asking Peter Chapman at The Chronicle for another prominent story to highlight how similar my views are to other so called ‘experts’ and to include their Observer article in The Chronicle where it should have been placed in the first instance.
PS I am thankful that at least my letter with my pledge to drive safely was printed yesterday….

Pledges and other good stuff

October 20th, 2010

I’m sending this as a letter to the editor…..

I have never ever said that the Drive 2 Stay Alive Campaign is not a very worthy campaign. I simply confessed to sometimes driving faster than posted speed limits and felt it would be hypocritical of me to sign a pledge which contained a promise that I probably couldn’t keep.
I commend the Chronicle for their campaign and I will continue to argue for better roads and sensible speed limits. I abhor the current system whereby road upgrades are often triggered by the number of fatalities at a certain location. Surely we should fix the roads first to better prevent the fatalities?

This is my pledge with apologies to the Chronicle as I have slightly edited your version.
(My alterations are in bold italics but not showing up here… sorry)

I will

1. Abide by the 4c’s (concentration, consideration, control and calmness)
2. Always be patient and tolerant of other drivers
3. Not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
4. Drive to the conditions
5. Not endanger lives by recklessly speeding
6. Never get behind the wheel of a car if I am impaired either physically or mentally
7. Never take a phone in my hands or change a CD etc while in control of a moving vehicle
8. Exercise caution at all times
9. Be always vigilant and aware of my surroundings
10. Ensure my car is roadworthy

I would also appreciate that readers take the time to read my entire blog post and related comments rather than basing their opinions of me, on a few selected quotes printed in the newspaper. If you don’t have access to the Internet I am more than happy to post you the entire blog excerpt so do feel free to ring or write to me at home.

But to other things. Today Council voted to prepare an Expression of Interest for a kiosk/tourist or itinerant vendor for the Urangan Pier. I am ever so pleased that this issue is progressing as I do have visions for a building on the Pier which would make walking out there something interesting to do for those of us that don’t fish. A loo (with a view maybe) would also enable more people to stroll out to the end of the Pier. The EOI will be prepared and advertised prior to April next year.

Freedom of speech. Is it worth it?

October 20th, 2010

Front page no less! For those of you that don’t read the daily Chronicle yesterday saw the Chronicle front page emblazoned with the headline “Blunder Blog from Brooks”. The story then quotes the odd comment from my previous post about my hesitation in signing the Drive to Survive Campaign due to my history of receiving the odd speeding fine and the distinct possibility that I will sometimes exceed posted speed limits in the future. The story is very critical of my stance.
Apparently the Chronicle thought that their front page story might make me change my mind as they say today that my blog stays the same. Well yes… why would I go back and change my blog or change my mind about an issue simply because I make the front page?
But the real issue for me is the issue of freedom of speech and what credence I give to the print media these days to truthfully inform me of issues. If my thoughts expressed here on my web site can be so sensationalised on what must have been a slow news day, it does reflect on the type of journalism that we all are now used to.
My partner tells me that he is sick and tired of watching Current Affairs on TV as they simply recycle stories one after the other.
Maybe this week will be obesity, next week bullying, the week after might be how fast food shops are poisoning us then we could have another story on how someone or other is ripping someone off and then we finish with a sex scandal or two and probably a bad Council story. While we do need to be informed of such issues we are bombarded with so much negativity that we start to believe we live in a big bad awful world when in fact the opposite is true. Most people are nice people and we are lucky to live in a great country where we are relatively safe and well cared for.
My favourite topical show these days is Q and A. On that show we actually see and hear the words as spoken by leading figures. Their own words unedited and unsensationalised. I have learned more about my political leaders via this show than any other ‘news’ forum in recent memory. I learn if the guests are polite or rude, sensible or not and intelligent or not. I have a far greater appreciation of someone after an hour of chat than I get from a one or two sentence grab during the nightly news.
So to conclude. This blog is my blog and everyone can read it or not. Yes as a Councillor I do have a responsibility to ‘lead’ and I believe that I also have a very strong responsibility to freely and openly communicate with my constituents and give them an opportunity to communicate with me. I don’t for one second believe that I give up my rights to express a personal opinion and I refuse to simply do what many people have advised and just ‘shut up’ and not speak out. The best way to be elected, to my mind, is to have no opinion on anything much at all apart from the popular opinion of the day and to keep your head down and smile nicely. Well I’m just not like that. I have opinions and some people will always disagree with them.
But I don’t blindly follow what experts tell me. I question rhetoric and I believe that the voices of our community deserve listening to and acting upon. For example I don’t agree when ‘experts’ tell me a tree falling onto our beach due to erosion is now a ‘marine plant’, and I don’t agree with someones advice simply because they have a qualification. I would rather much listen to people who have work and life experience and can really understand the issue at hand.
So I will continue to say what I think, be open to new information and prepared to change my mind.
PS When will the road ‘experts’ lower the speed limit at the Craignish Shops corner Burrum Heads Rd, from 100kmh to 80kmh. That corner is a dangerous one… ‘in my opinion!’

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