Archive for the 'Media comment' Category

Sickof the whinging please..

December 7th, 2012

I couldn’t resist popping this comment on Facebook in response to the negative comments about the new Cultural Centre in Hervey Bay…

Craig it seems to me that Maryborough residents are absolutely happy to expect Hervey Bay residents, at last count double the number that reside in Maryborough, to drive to Maryborough for things.. But if Hervey Bay residents dare mention that Maryborough people could just possibly drive to Hervey Bay for some services… Well all hell breaks loose! When Hervey Bay has over 100k residents and Maryborough less than half that number I wonder if that will still be the case? I am a proud Hervey Bay resident. I adore Hervey Bay and I also appreciate everything that Maryborough has to offer. Maryborough is a fantastic place..and I visit constantly but I just much prefer the coastal lifestyle! Please don’t keep bagging us! Hervey Bay ratepayers are supporting the region. This is a fact. Hervey Bay deserves to be able to grow and requires services to support that growth. I for one, do not desire to drive to Maryborough for everything. I desire my services, my cultural, sporting, retail and health and education services to be right here where the population lives! Just like every other decent sized city!

Development in the spotlight

April 18th, 2012

Have the local infrastructure charges stalled development? Well seeing as most other similar sized Councils have simalr charges I cannot see why development would stall. Other reasons for the construction slow down include…
We are not directly impacted by mining, the Aussie dollar value has impacted on tourism and the entire country has experienced an economic downturn with the community saving their money to pay for rising cost of living expenses rather than spending it. House sales are down everywhere so building new ones is becoming a challenge as the purchasers are no longer buying. This is the case in manyother areas.
A summary of recent approvals and applications under assessment may ease your concerns somewhat.

Major developments approved include: Expansion to Stockland Hervey Bay (previously Centro), Augustus estate master plan and subsequent approvals for stage 4-16, Wyndham Resort Hervey Bay, Torquay neighbourhood shopping centre, Maryborough aquatic centre, Pialba Community Centre, Hervey Bay Cultural Centre, Oakhurst Gardens stages 11 -14, various 6 and 8 storey residential and mixed use development along Esplanade, Wetside Waterpark, various large residential subdivisions in Doolong Flats, St Stephens Hospital Hervey Bay, Airport Industrial Estate northern and western precincts, On the Beach development Burrum Heads, Signature Building (offices) Pialba, Huntingdale Woods Estate, Nikenbah Waste Water Treatment Facility, extension to Bay Central Shopping Centre, new Ergon Depot Dundowran, multiple unit development Boys Ave Maryborough, extensions to various schools including St James Lutheran College and Riverside Christian College and Hervey Bay Christian Academy, various large subdivision applications in Doolong Flats including Doug Ring, Kega Finance, Flamingo Park Estate, Huntingdale Woods Estate, Endless View Holdings and McFies land. To name a few…

• Major developments currently being assessed include: Maryborough Marine Industry Precinct, two applications for expansion of Station Square, Mariners Cove balance area, master planned communities in the Eli Waters/Dundowran area, proposed shopping centres at Urangan and Doolong Flats, master plan for St James Lutheran College, expansion of River Heads Shops, Diamond Links golf course and resort, new Bunnings Hervey Bay, and Dolphin Waters and Gympie Securities estates at Burrum Heads.
Thanks, Sue

Defending Infrastructure Charges

April 16th, 2012

I have been waiting for the criticism from the development industry to ramp up in the lead up to this election and it seems I don’t have to wait any longer. Rod Cullen (FCC 16/412), states that I in particular, and some of my colleagues are entirley responsible for the economic downturn in Hervey Bay.
Readers may not realise that Mr Cullen is a consultant for the development industry. But to quickly reply to some of his claims.
FCRC did not suddenly raise charges for development. The charges were raised with advice and consultation from the development industry. The charges were under negotiation for years so the development industry was very aware that the charges would rise. However the charges were phased in and hefty discounts given to developers by Council as Council was fully aware of the adverse impact on development that the increases could bring. I supported the introduction of the State Government directed charges to ensure that our ratepayers were not left with the huge financial burden of funding infrastructure costs that, in my opinion, should be paid for by developers.
Recently Council has provided discounted charges to Stocklands, to St Stephens for the new hospital and for Torbay as it redevelops. Council is doing what it can to sesnsibly assist these welcome and necessary developments.
Yes Mr Sprake had expected his land to be rezoned. It wasn’t rezoned by the previous Woocoo Council and the new FCRC Council did take time to agree to the rezoning of this rural land. Personally I am not in favour of rural land being continually rezoned for more and more housing. Suitable land apropriately zoned is available for development and this land should be developed first.
Mr Huerta would have gained an approval if his development met the requirements of our Planning Scheme. Maybe his consultants and advisers at the time were at fault but an application for 4 blocks rather than 6 may have solved all his problems.
I also believe that this Council is processing development applications promptly and efficiently as our statistics reflect. I will not, as a rule, support development that does not comply with the current Planning Schemes. I also believe some criticism of Council for past development application processes is warranted but those times are gone. This Council is acting responsibly and pro actively. The reasons for our economic downturn are mostly beyond our control but this Council is doing what it can to stimulate needed development without placing a heavier burden on our residents and rate payers.

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.

Am I an extreme tree hugger?

March 29th, 2012

Max Atkinson (Indy 29/3/12) believes that I am a conservationist through and through and that I neglect other areas of community concern. I often wonder why some individuals attack Councillors so quickly, publicly and so personally without ever calling us or writing to us. During my time as your Councillor, (because I do represent everyone even those of you that didn’t vote for me), I held the Environment portfolios. Yes I care about the environment and am passionate about conserving it, but during my time as portfolio chair my responsibility was to articulate Council policy. Quite simply I was, and still am, required to always represent Council policy. The Fraser Coast Council has a good record of environmental protection and I hope to see this continually improved as we develop a brand new Planning Scheme. You see I believe we can do better.

But I also believe we can build better roads, drains and footpaths. I recently voted against the new Council Development Manual as it removed the requirement for Developers to include a footpath in every street of new developments. I believe we can preserve neighbourhoods so as to not allow everyone to subdivide housing blocks into unit blocks etc, I believe that population growth has to be better managed to preserve road networks and sewerage infrastructure and water supply. I think we can fit some more people here as long as we are very careful where and how we place them. I believe that business must be respected and that we need a planning scheme that permits the right developments to go into the right areas with much less red tape. I believe that business is our lifeblood just as nature is and we can’t have one without the other. After all we are not about to go back and live as subsistence hunter gatherers but if we don’t protect our environment where on earth will we grow our food? I am not green, red or blue in my political leanings but rather I despair at any political party doing what is right for all of us all of the time!

Max I am sad that you believe I am an extreme tree hugger. I recently supported changes to our regulations which permit residents to have tree removed when they could fall onto their houses. Something some of our elderly neighbours absolutely fear. I have just been speaking to senior staff about our new Hervey Bay Pound as I want that to be of a modern animal and people friendly design. I am also dealing with numerous compliance and related issues directly on behalf of residents just like you. I don’t have time to hug trees.. Take care and I wish you all the best for the future.

Cat and Dog desexing. Letter to the Editor

March 9th, 2012

Thank you Bayboy (Chronicle 9-3-2012), for highlighting the need for Council to introduce tougher animal ownership Laws. I have done much to drive change through the Local Government Local Laws process. I assisted community members in writing and collecting signatures on a petition to introduce compulsory desexing and breeder registration. The petitioners collected approx 2 thousand signatures in about 2 weeks and I presented this to Council late last year. Councillors do not have portfolios so I am not ‘in charge’ of this or any other specific area of Council operations.
As a result of the overwhelming public support to bring in tougher Local Laws for pet owners, Council has welcomed delegates to speak to them and gather information in order to ensure any changes to the Laws can in fact be enforced and made to work. Due to timing issues these changes could not be implemented into the new Local Laws adopted last year.
More importantly than questioning some sitting Councillors who are already on public record to support tougher pet ownership Laws, it may be an opportune time to ask all Council candidates (including current Councillors) about their committment to compulsory dog and cat desexing.
The time for action will be immediately after the upcoming Council election. Re elected or not, I will be loudly and persistently asking Council to toughen up our Local Laws and introduce compulsory dog and cat desexing and breeder permits. We cannot continue to do nothing which results in the killing of hundreds of innocent and beautiful cats and dogs year in year out!

Election Dates, signs and a bit about Dog Parks

January 28th, 2012

A bit of a mixed bag this post.. Firstly I was just as annoyed as most people I have spoken to about the changed date for the Local Government Election. To shift the date forward to April 28th impacts badly on many people. Sitting Councillors who had already chosen not to run again have holidays booked and planned. Sitting Councillor candidates as well as new candidates had their advertising booked. But most of all it is just another 4 weeks of uncertainty and disruption leading up to the day. When the focus should be all about the job at hand it is impossible to not be thinking of the coming election day so we all have another 4 weeks of stress and worry etc.
I do not enjoy election campaigns. I detest the entire process but it is a necessary process so I will do what I always do. Stress about what to write, stress about organising helpers and just massively stress about the entire election.
But the fact that Ms Anna Bligh is waiting for the flood report is a bad excuse to use to justify her action. Does she think waiting for a report which she expects to paint Campbell Newman badly is a good reason to disrupt Local Government? I don’t think her action will gain her any support at all but further harm her reputation as a leader.
Also it must be remembered that the Council logo is protected by copyright to Council. The logo should not be used without permission and I believe candidates should already be aware of that and not use it or attempt to use a similar image. Election signs are expensive items so it is a waste of money to get it wrong….
DOG PARKS. I have asked constantly about introducing these throughout our region. But the challenge is to find the right location for them. Whenever Council selects a potential site it seems that the surrounding neighbours veto the idea. So the solution is for residents to identify where they would like a dog off lead park and then gather support from the surrounding residents. If we find a suitable site I am sure we can tweak the budget to pay for the needed fencing which may be a considerable cost.
Take care driving around please. Council staff were busy last night trying to erect signage but it is impossible to sign everywhere when all the usual roads flooded with the heavy rain. As locals we are familiar with the trouble spots but just slow down. It is so much safer to drive to the conditions. Driving to Maryborough yesterday evening to rehome a beautiful dog saw me out and about in the worst of it. But nearly everyone was driving slower than usual and taking care. The Council after hours number was taking a huge number of calls and reporting flooded roads to staff but itis up to us to drive ‘to the conditions’. In other words take care and go slowly….

Beach Cleaning Muncher in the Indy news..

January 13th, 2012

My Letter to the Editor of The Indy in response to a letter written by Mr Rolf Light candidate Div 5.

I would appreciate it if Mr Rolf Light (Council candidate Div 5) writing to The Indy (12/1/12) should possibly give me a call or do some research prior to publicly making assumptions about Council and myself. Several years ago a number of Craignish and Dundowran residents came to me and complained about the regular beach munching machines being used along our beach. The residents believed the beach cleaning ‘muncher’ was disturbing the natural habitat of crabs and worms etc and was a total waste of money. The residents in this beach side area take pride in keeping their beach clean themselves. Many of us use our doggy poo bags for picking up and disposing of the odd piece of litter we find along the beach ourselves.

While I agreed with the residents that regular beach sand cleaning was not needed at that time I was very aware that council needed to retain the permit to use the beach cleaning machine on this stretch of beach to facilitate beach cleaning when and if required. If Mr Light would like to acquaint himself with the Council adopted Beach Cleaning programme he will find that the Dundowran Craignish beaches are on the programme to be cleaned on an ‘as needed’ basis. This means that at any time Council or residents believe the beach needs a mechanical clean it can be done. It also means that gaining the extra approval required from the State Government to remove beach seaweed etc is easily and quickly obtained. Regular beach cleaning permits do not allow Council to remove plant matter decaying or not. An extra permit is required. In response to the most recent smelly problems as soon as residents told me about the problem a request was made by myself to the Council staff via Mayor Mick and the weed cleaning was done very quickly. As soon as the tick was received from the State Government Council had machines on the beach! If residents now desire to have regular beach cleaning reinstated that is a simple process to do. Not forgetting that there is a cost attached!


Esplanade under fire yet again

January 10th, 2012

I notice Mr Glen Winney, writing in The Chronicle today (10/1/12), expressing his views on the upcoming elections. While I agree we need candidates with strong visions for the future I thought it timely to express my contrary view. Mr Winney makes it quite clear that he believes Council should close down the Esplanade caravan parks and turn the areas into grass. This argument is an old one but now I read that Mr Winney believes the land opposite the caravan park sites should be developed into ‘quality resorts’. Apparently no one wants to develop the land across the road from the caravan parks because people don’t want to look ‘at the back of caravans’. Mr Winney also says that the foreshore is full of weeds and these should be cleared. I respect Mr Winneys views and as his business is development related I understand where he is coming from, but I have to totally disagree with them.

Our beach front caravan parks are one of our biggest attractions. They are unique and bring a myriad of visitors to our shores who probably collectively add more to the local economy than a string of new resorts would. I thought the vacancy rates in the numerous resorts we already have tells the story. Wall to wall resorts would not in my opinion improve our Esplanade. Rather the diversity of small businesses and detached low rise residences coupled with some medium rise buildings brings a friendly and welcoming feel to the street. I like to see the sky and the trees when I drive The Esplanade rather than towers of concrete and glass.

The Hervey Bay foreshore is unique in that it stretches a long way and has room to cater for many different types of uses. Stop and talk to anyone walking along it and the message is consistent. People appreciate the natural beauty of our foreshore and it, together with our low rise lifestyle and calm waters and mostly great weather, is what attracts residents and tourists alike.

The foreshore is an attractive naturally beautiful sheltered place for all of us to enjoy. Residents and visitors alike. It is a tihng of beauty. It is a place to use and it is our jewel in our crown. Let’s not spoil it by turning it into a tourist resort only precinct. Keep the caravan parks, keep the parklands, keep the playgrounds and keep the trees.

Letter to the Ed, Council pay and the Structure Plan for Eli to Dundowran..

December 22nd, 2011

Catching up with things slowly but surely. It is still a busy time it seems with many emails and phone calls to attend to. I couldn’t help but respond to Mr Jim MacKellars comment in the Chronicle yesterday. This is what I wrote in response…

Jim MacKellar (FCC
21/12/11) says that a recently released Council concept plan for a sporting centre is a good idea but that it should be built in Maryborough. Last time I looked Maryborough was quite well serviced with sporting facilities. Hervey Bay is not. Hervey Bay requires new netball courts, sporting ovals and grounds to accommodate a variety of sports. Hervey Bay sports people still have no access to an adequate basketball facility nor an indoor cricket/netball facility. Yes the PCYC is very well used as are private facilities, but with the predicted population growth Council needs to plan ahead. The complex proposed at Urangan, while not as central as I would prefer, will cost Council zero dollars for the land. To purchase the large amount of land required to build a truly multi use complex elsewhere, would cost this community millions. Isn’t it time we realised that both Hervey Bay and Maryborough require their own facilities and that while we enjoy sharing the Brolga theatre, art galleries and the like,
Hervey Bay requires its own entertainment venue and sporting grounds. I don’t agree that all things should be built in Maryborough. Both cities and all our surrounding towns deserve a level of services and facilities commensurate with their population. Please don’t deny Hervey Bay and surrounding residents accessto their own much needed facilities.

I should have added that we do not want to duplicate facilities also though….

Now recently Councillors advised that our pay is being reduced. I have no problems with this reduction in pay. I don’t know why they ever placed an amalgamation loading on the first term after amalgamation anyway. Yes it was different work but work is work!

The Structure Plan for the Eli Waters to Dundowran Beach land has been released and I urge all residents that are interested in it to Have Your Say. This land is exceedingly low lying and Council has endeavoured to restrict the development footprint by increasing density into smaller pockets. I trust that this will be a better outcome than bringing in tonnes of fill and developing the entire area.

As always let me know if you have concerns about Council related and other issues and also pop over to Facebook. I have both a personal and a Councillor Sue Brooks Facebook pages. Take care, Sue

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