Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Save our Parks.

March 29th, 2014

Appalled and upset and betrayed. These are the feelings I have on learning recently that Council has decided to sell some of our parks. These parks were the open space component of the residential developments that surround them. The Planning Scheme still requires development to provide open space so I simply don’t understand how Council can now decide parks are not needed. Recently Council also decided to build a carpark for a kindergarten in a public park at Scarness.
Doesn’t Council realise that our small pocket parks are essential breathing spaces? These parks are treasured by the residents that live around them. Many residents actively seek to live adjacent or in close proximity to a local park.
Parks are a play space. They are a breathing space. Many of them contain trees which are home to many and varied wildlife. Parks help clean our air. Parks are even more essential in these times when backyards are becoming extinct. Where else can children run and play? Where else can our more senior community members take a leisurely stroll? Walk their dog?
In Palmwood Dve in Dundowran Beach is a small park. It is covered in native palm trees unique to our coastal area. Div 5 Cr Rolf Light has told me that he supports the selling of our parks because selling ‘unproductive’ land is a good thing to do!
I ask Cr Light and his colleagues when did they ask us, their constituents, if we believed our parks were unproductive? Tenders were called before Xmas. Some parks, I believe, have their fate sealed already!
I did not know that this Council has plans to sell our parks. Yes parks cost money to maintain so why not do what other Councils do and develop a volunteer Friends of the Parks scheme? But to sell off our children’s future just for the sake of making money appalls me. Councillors please rethink this ridiculous and harmful strategy. Save our Parks!

Farewell to Council

April 29th, 2012

Well it is as  obvious as ever that when times are tough politicians are held responsible. Can I thank all my supporters from the bottom of my heart. It has been an honour working for this wonderful community and I wish the new Councillors the very best. Please take good care of our region, our cities and our towns. Look after this magical place I call home. Care for it well please because it is unique and it is a very special place. I look forward to a new more relaxing life. My dogs will be utterly pleased to have me home more and I am so looking forward to a rest and some time off now. Writing is high on my agenda and it will be a very pleasant change to become a constituent again rather than a candidate. See you soon, Sue

Saying it just like it is….

March 24th, 2012

This is such a good clip. The challenge for politicians is to say NO. No we can’t spend money willy nilly, no we can’t fund every charity that starts up. No we can’t fund every grant application. No we can’t give you money just to have a baby, no we can’t give you money for sitting on your backside doing nothing when you are absolutely capable of working and there are jobs available for you. (Genuinely unemployed do need looking after..). Maybe if the politicians made tougher sensible choices nobody would vote for them but hey we are turning our society into one where too many people believe they are entitled to our working peoples (employed people) money via the Government, without contributing directly themselves. We have so many charities and non profit groups doing the same things and huge big gaps in Government spending where there is no Government help for people truly in need. By way of example mental health is totally under funded!

We need some balance and some long hard looking at what we want our taxes spent on! The waste of money at all levels of Government is astronomical.. I believe our Council is much less wasteful than other layers of Government as we have taken a good hard look and trimmed wherever we could and yet, yes we still borrow and we still have debt. I do believe some debt is necessary just like a home mortgage is the only way to buy your own home but other than to build infrastructure debt at the Government level must be avoided.

Anyhow I will jump down off my high horse now… Please watch the clip. It is a good one…

Brilliantly put.


Council did not forget to apply for flood funding.

December 31st, 2011

This response is from our CEO, Ms Lisa Desmond after a story was published in The Chronicle today…The story implied that FCRC had neglected to apply for funding from a particular State Govt grant.

This funding is part of the $45 million Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program which for 2011-12, the Government prioritised up to $5 million of the Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program (LGGSP) funding to councils for capital acquisitions to support disaster preparedness, for example the provision of flood warning systems (including sirens, ALERT and SMS warnings) and the provision of additional flood and rainfall gauges.   Where a Council is provided with funding under another program ie Natural Disaster Resilience Program they are not eligible.  Applications for LGGSP closed on 31st October
At the time of the LGGSP funding round Council had an application submitted under the Natural Disaster Resilience Program (NDRP) for the following:
The installation of a fully automated solar powered system to measure river levels and rainfall that will transmit the data to Council and the Bureau of Meteorology via radio telemetry is the ideal solution for flood hazard mitigation on the Mary River. The new Flood Warning Stations will be installed on the Mary River in Maryborough at the Bruce Highway bridge and at Tiaro further up the river. The existing flood warning methods on the Mary River at Maryborough and Tiaro are manual gauges. These will be upgraded to fully automated Flood Warning Stations and report rainfall and river height at these locations via a new Rain/Repeater Station that will be installed at Dundathu.
Given that at the time of the LGGSP funding round Council had an application submitted with NDRP for Flood Warning System upgrades, it was not submitted under the LGGSP Program rather the following projects were submitted:
CCTV Security Camera Network Expansion
Hervey Bay Esplanade Precinct Upgrades
25m Pool Aquatic Centre Roof; and
Discovery Centre Fit-Out.
Council was advised on the 17th October that it was unsuccessful under the NDRP funding program for the Flood Warning Stations being advised that due to the over subscription of the program funding had been allocated to higher priority projects and to reapply in Round 4 in 2012 (it was too late to prepare application under LGGSP by the time we were notified). 
Post the Flood Enquiry Commission – Sydney and I have met with the Marina Business operators and have in place a sub-evacuation plan, we also discussed with them their concerns expressed at the Flood Commission Hearing regarding the operation of the gauges (both manual and automatic). We have recently undertaken a review of Flood Warning Stations including their operation and identifying the responsible agency for reading manual gauges. We will continue to seek funding to upgrade our Flood Warning Systems which will include a combination of manual and automatically read gauges.
 This from the CEO, Lisa Desmond..

Happy New Year everyone

December 31st, 2011

I cannot believe it is the last day of 2011. It is certainly true the saying that the older we get the faster time flies… I hate to think how fast the years will whiz by in another 10 years time. I trust that you all had a joyful Xmas and look forward to a happy evening and a safe and healthy New Years Day. We are planning a dinner with friends and hope to see the 9pm Torquay fireworks then come home to keep our puppies safe and sound. Pet Warriors has kept me totally busy this last week even on Xmas Day when we managed to connect a potential adoptee with a pup in foster care. You see the pound doesn’t get empty at this time of the year so it was with great pleasure that on Christmas morning we were walking our 2 girls together with two foster dogs and a babysat Pet Warior dog. We had Toby, Raj and Harley with us (as ell as our two girls Becki and Ellie) and we met up with another Pet Warrior family who previously adopted Jazz and hopefully will now adopt Bella, a beautiful pound rescue Rotty girl. We mingled and realised that all 5 dogs would not be experiencing Xmas if not for us. It made us all feel happier. But this morning Toby decided to venture into the Mungomery forest on his way home… went walkabout for 30 mins then innocently arrived back into our backyard! Hmmm he will be kept under tighter control when next we take a sit down at the beach! Not a relaxing way for Graham and I to start our day…

So to Council. I still have some enquiries coming in regarding roads and drainage issues in particular and while this week is a restful week for most Council staff please do remember to ring Council if there is an emergency. Other operational issues will be attended to next week.

So while we all try to relax and enjoy family friends and the holidays I turn my attention to the next Council election due on March 31st. I detest self promotion, don’t go looking for it though at times it comes to me, but I will have to start to write up my brochures and pamphlets in the next few days. I notice a lot of new candidates focussing on perceived negatives of this Council. I sometimes smile at the generalisations being made. It is so easy to take pot shots and be critical but when one is actually faced with the reality of a situation it often looks different. Once before I stated that it is unwise to make comment about others without taking the time to walk in their shoes. I often remind myself of the importance of this. I ry not to make hasty judgements unless I know all the facts. I believe in listening and learning about both sides of any argument or debate. For instance I used to believe that the media only had the truth as its primary goal. But then I realised it is actually very big business and while a fair amount of truth is reported, the emphasis of the stories and the decision as to what to tell us about can be influenced by those paying for advertising etc. I suppose I am growing more cynical as I get older..

So please take care, keep safe, hug your loved ones, look after those canine and feline and furry and feathered innocent companions of ours and enjoy yourselves. And as always if you require help or assistance just call. I am converted to Skype now as my phone bill went atmospheric due to Pet Warriors. So maybe I will talk to you on Skype via ipad sometime soon… Best wishes for 2012 cheers, Sue



Council Meeting October 5th, 2011

October 3rd, 2011

Can’t believe it is October already… and we have a meeting this week in Hervey Bay to consider items as follows..

The response to a petition re sealing the intersection of Yachtsmans Dve and Fisher Rd.

We receive the resurfacing program with many roads listed for resealing throughout the region.

Allerton Rd, Booral sealing is recommended. This is a road that the entire Booral community has requested be sealed as it a safe alternative exit for them onto the River Heads Rd. I am very pleased to see this recommendation.

We will decide about participating in the 50 ; 50 Vision which is an initiative to see Councils provide for gender equity. This subject always makes me feel uncomfortable. I don’t like targetting employee levels in relation to sex. I much prefer employment be merit based with no discrimination on age, race or any other personal quality! People should only target a specific group of people based on common interests not ones sex or ones heritage etc… (my personal view of course).

The Local Laws are listed for adoption. This has been a very long and consultation intensive process so I hope the community is satisfied with the result.

The Fraser Coast Airports Master Plan and Development is also listed for adoption. Please take a look and let me know what you think.

The agenda should be listed on the web site by lunch time today.

On a personal note. Yes our house is listed for sale. Yes we are moving but not very far. We are downsizing to a smaller block and eventually a smaller house, but closer to the water. I adore Dundowran Beach and don’t ever want to leave here. It is a hectic time buying a bare block and not being able to build immediately so interesting times ahead for us…

Don’t forget to keep an eye on doings via Facebook. I have a personal page and a Councillor Sue Brooks page. You can see photos of the Orchid Show and Burrum Heads Skate Ramp opening. Wonderful events on Saturday and a credit to our hard working volunteers. Wonderful orchids, Bromeliads and Bonsai and a skate ramp being enjoyed by all the local Burrum kids. A great weekend!

This week has been a busy week…

September 22nd, 2011

Council meeting yesterday was a busy one but there were no contentious issues that caused any great debate. Once again it was enjoyable to see our staff being nominated for customer service awards. This aspect of Council meetings isn’t usually highlighted and I think in todays world, we give much more prominence to finding fault than to giving thanks. So it is always gratifying to see our community taking the time to nominate our staff for providing high quality services. Well done to our nominated staff..

 We received our Financial Report, a Landfill Gas Management report (highlighting the impost that disposing of waste charges will have on our community), a report on the progress of our Land Management Plans, (which we decided were moving slowly so have asked the CEO to investigate some deadlines for these), a recommendation to invest in some more roadworks in particular at Glenwood, Maryborough and Woocoo, our Hervey Bay Esplanade Consultation feedback was received, our Fraser Coast Community Plan endorsed and our Asset Management Plans received. We also listed some items ready for Grant applications among them security cameras and swimming pool improvements, Esplanade precinct improvements focussing on the seawall and the Discovery Centre fitout. Fingers crossed we are successful. During confidential we agreed on the tender for the Maria Creek bridge replacement. I wish little bridges were not so costly!

I recently visited Glenwood for their community chat and attended the Burrum Heads Progress Association meeting last night. It is good to see the community working together with Council to get things done. At Burrum Heads the community and Council have worked to build a new skate ramp. I was listening to one resident asking another resident that lived close to the ramp if the noise would bother her. She replied that the children needed somewhere to play and that no the noise would not be a bother. Such a positive and heart warming response. I wish I heard more positive conversations like that one sometimes! The kids and the community at Burrum Heads are doing great things. Well done everyone.

Lastly I have been burning the candle at both ends as the newly elected President of the Fraser Coast Pet Warriors. We have a totally brand new committee but there is lots to do still. Organising a new postbox, insurance, access to the bank account, building databases, fine tuning the web site (a work in progress) etc is all required and being accomplished. Finding foster carers for our poor unwanted pets is the work of some excellent hard working volunteers Marie, Leesa and Denise. They are simply amazing women. I also ‘saved’ my first little pound puppy. Jazz was due to be euthanised last Monday morning so we said we would foster her. Riddled with fleas and a very bad skin rash she was a miserable sight. A quick trip to the vet, medication and lots of washes and cuddles saw a new little girl emerge. She has found a new forever home with a neighbour so I still get to see her walking on the beach. She walks with a spring in her step now and looks as happy as can be. The feeling one gets from simply saving a little innocent life is indescribable! But juggling Pet Warriors work and Council work is a challenge so please excuse me if I am a bit slower than usual with replies to your queries etc. Take care, Sue

Dingoes Debate. What I really said….

July 9th, 2011

While recent media reports, both on Ch 9 and within the Chronicle, do reflect SOME of what I have actually said there are some errors and a need for clarification. During General Business at the Council meeting last Wednesday I explained to my fellow Councillors what I had learned during my recent weekend on Fraser Island. I met with several scientists and DERM management staff, rangers, a consultant and other community members and this is what I told my colleagues about what I learned.

I explained that the current research being undertaken, using collars on approx 20 dingoes, will provide information not previously known about dingo behaviour. I explained that I thought the collars while cumbersome were not impeding the dingoes natural behaviour and that the evidence shows that the dingoes quickly become used to the collars. If this wasn’t the case the research would be useless. I believe that the collars are the best ones for the job and have been adapted to best meet the needs of this research on this particular animal. The collars will come off automatically after 8 months but are transmitting a signal every 2 hours. The antennas allow for GPS and radio tracking. If there is no movement of a collar over a period of time the collars allow DERM staff to locate the animal, or the collar if it has come off the animal. Being able to remotely track the dingoes without having to physically observe them should produce much better knowledge about their movements.

I have been saying for a long time now that we need to know more about our dingo population on Fraser Island so I welcome this research. It appears, to me, to be the best research undertaken on the island dingoes so far. I hope we learn enough to be able to make better decisions about dingo management and to be more convinced that the dingo population is a healthy and viable one. I also mentioned that evidence of feral cats has been discovered and that the dingo, as top predator, is essential in keeping the population of feral animals down. Also dingo scats collected show evidence that some dingoes are healthy and eating only natural prey without evidence of human provided food.

I also explained that I believe there are healthy dingoes on Fraser Island and that NOT ALL dingoes are starving. I have never, ever said that all dingoes on the island are well fed.

So to what I didn’t say. I have never said that the Dingo Management Plan is working or that I support it. I don’t support the plan and I don’t support the dingo fences of Eurong and Happy Valley and I do not support killing dingoes because they are loitering or hanging around humans. If the Ch 9 reporter and the Chronicle reporter think I did say that I support the Management Plan I believe they are mistaken and they are confusing my support for the current research with support for the management plan! Please listen again to the TV interview and realise that I say about one sentence and the rest of the report is not my words. Read the Chronicle newspaper report again. The caption under the photo is wrong as is the heading!

I’m sorry if this is confusing but I stand by my beliefs and yes I do visit the island regularly and I believe the information given to me by Mr Bernie Shakeshaft, the tracker working with DERM currently. Please don’t believe word for word anything that is reported in the media. While journalists and reporters endeavour to be accurate they work to very tight schedules and do like to make headlines. I have learned time and time again it is better to get the facts rather than believe what I read or hear second hand!

So to conclude. The collars are large and robust and heavy but they are not as heavy as to make a dingo change its behaviour over the period of time that the collar is being worn. Initially the dingo has to get used to the collar. Dingoes should be able to groom, feed, whelp and feed young while wearing the collar. If a dingo wearing a collar appears to be caught (stuck on something via the collar) or behaving in an abnormal manner (limited range of movement for example) the dingo can be located and the collar removed. The only dingoes being collared are adult and sub adult dingoes not young dingoes. I worry that there does not seem to be many identified as ”adult”  dingoes being found…  The collars are waterproof so if a dingo leaves the island it will be tracked.

While the research is not going to provide all the answers it will greatly assist us in understanding the dingoes. I want to know the answers to questions such as how many dingoes can Fraser Island comfortably support with the dingoes eating natural foods? What happens to the young pups as they grow? Do any leave the island as nature would ensure more pups are born that the island can sustain? Do they starve to death or are they killed by other dingoes?

Yes there are photos of, and I have seen first hand, unhealthy looking dingoes. Are these dingoes surplus to what the island can sustain? Are these dingoes more likely to frequent people and thereby be more readily photographed? Can we ensure that juvenile dingoes learn by being raised by wild adult dingoes? Can we ensure that an enquisitive dingo is not killed simply because he or she is learning and is interested in these two legged humans that are now found all over the island?

So to those of you who believe I support the current management of dingoes on Fraser Island…. I don’t! Do I believe all dingoes on the island are healthy.. no I don’t but I also believe nature works to ensure some dingoes will not naturally survive and grow to old age. Do I want the Fraser Island dingoes preserved? Yes! Do I believe the collars are uncomfortable… yes. But I believe the dingoes adapt and that the research will benefit the species and the discomfort outweighs the avantage to the population as a whole. Will I continue to communicate what I learn..? Yes I will. Thanks, Sue

Some good links…  This photo gallery is interesting and shows healthy looking dingoes. Sadly we don’t see these photos via the media. If you want to use them just remember they are copyright..

This is the company that has been used to develop the dingo collars.

Tried to post a pic of the collar… Will find out why it disn’t work.. Ta, Sue

Ordinary Meeting number 11

June 13th, 2011

Phew! Heaps to read for this weeks meeting so straight to it….

We are proposing to discuss many issues including the minutes of the most recent Economic Development Advisory Committee, our outstanding Council resolutions and our Quaterly Report on the implementation of our Corporate and Operational Plans. While many pages long this report is a good snapshot of which projects are happening and what their status is. We are asked to delegate powers to the CEO in relation to the Building Act and State Penalties Enforcement Act which is a procedural regular occurrence designed to empower staff to carry out their duties. We receive the report on the Bauple RV camping proposals and the Financial Report for May. We then decide on a proposed Facade Improvement Program and have a development application to decide. This is for the balance of the On The Beach Estate at Burrum Heads. The land is located adjacent Bushnell Dve and Orchid Dve and is currently zoned predominantly rural. It includes various types of housing etc.

We also receive answers to Questions on Notice, two of which were asked by myself. The issues include rubbish facilities and seating at the Urangan Pier and mowing regimes at Pt Vernon. Another question raised by Cr McNeven is answerd in relation to drainage enquiries. We also receive the amended Mangrove Mangement Strategy. Then in confidential we discuss compliance and drainage issues relating to a specific area in Howard and decide several contracts for the supply and delivery of new equipment, the result of the EOI re the Economic Development Strategy Project Delivery, Harland Carpark drainage works and Nissen St roadworks. Not forgetting that while some discussion of the confidential items takes place privately Councillors vote publicly. Councillors also speak to or against the recommendations publicly and can put forward amended recommendations at this time. In other words no decisions are actually made privately they are all made publicly.

Because today is a Public Holiday I expect the agenda will be available early tomorrow via the Council web site. The meeting is in Maryborough on Wednesday starting at 9.30am and the public is always welcome to attend.

Last week Council voted to approve the new solar farm on WBWC land on Hebblewhite road. This should be a good thing for our community and I am keen to find out how much power is produced and the saving we can expect to make on power bills. Wouldn’t it be good to become a self sufficient power producer on a regional scale!

Personally… I am off the crutches but still hobbling a fair bit and if I do too much hobbling my foot swells up considerably. It looks like the 6 months rehab everyone tells me is needed will be a reality so I am keen to visit my new physio tomorrow arvo and get on track so I can take long walks once again.

Lastly on Saturday we travelled to Nudgee to collect 6 new rescued battery hens. They have survived the change to a more normal life really well and are settling into their new home scratching the ground, flapping their wings and hopefully learning what a nesting box is for! I can’t buy non free range eggs ever and wish we could change they way we farm animals. Factory animal farming is just awful. Once again if we had several free range farms throughout our region I am sure we could produce our own eggs from much happier chooks. Yes it is profitable to farm chooks free range as this site demonstrates.

Hope you all had a safe and happy long weekend and isn’t it good to have sunshine again…

This one’s all about me….

May 1st, 2011

Life on crutches post my Achilles tendon repair surgery last Wednesday evening. Day 4..

Firstly…. It is quite scary. You worry you will fall. Then your hands ache and your shoulders chime in also as neither your hands or arms or shoulders were designed to carry your entire body weight! But they are capable of it and can do it. For me so far, venturing forth with my trusty sticks is done in short bursts. I don’t think I can go very far without resting. A trek to the beach is not even under consideration at this time…. Might have to hire a wheelie chair so I can get down to the sand at least….

Secondly… Your hands are now fully occupied operating your crutches to relocate your body from place to place so you can’t use them for their main purpose which is to hold and carry stuff! So how often in a day does one hold and carry stuff from place to place one might ask? Heaps says I! Making a cuppa now involves a trusty travel mug with a lid which prevents spills and burns and I can hold it with two fingers while still grabbing the crutch on my good side! Getting the milk from the fridge is another two finger job using a smaller milk container than normal with a screw lid…

Thirdly… You have to plan ahead. Graham has now got many more jobs to do and keeping the floor clean and clear of mats and trip hazards is a priority. He also has been asked to ensure a full roll of toilet paper is at hand at all times at both loo’s in the house and he either prepares a meal for my lunch before he leaves or I stick to cup a soup! Hence the treasured multi purpose lidded travel mug! I have a small carry bag that I can tie to the crutch on my good side and a shoulder bag or bum bag is on the list for tomorrow. Carrying stuff is the biggest challenge after simply moving from one seat to another seat is mastered…. But thank God for my ipad. It is a such a relief to be web browsing, emailing and playing games from anywhere so easily. I even used it in the hospital after my op to tell Graham and friends I was OK.

But the worstest thing is needing to be helped and assisted in nearly everything. It is very difficult to not be able to drive and to be asking Graham to take me places and bring me stuff constantly. I am so lucky that I have a partner who is willing to be my servant for a while but it isvery hard to be so dependent on someone else. I feel like a constantly demanding child….. Could you get me this, can you bag up my leg for the shower, can you make a cuppa, hang out the washing after doing the washing… and so on and so on…

So day 4 post surgery sees me in much less pain and the black torture boot becoming considerably less torturous! In otherwords my surgery wounds aren’t hurting a lot and my foot seems to be adapting to the various rubbings and pressure points and funny fitting of the boot. I am concerned however that my foot isn’t staying in the correct position within the boot so it being a long weekend I will just have to tough it out till Tuesday. I am sure no lasting harm is being done but ankle angle is important and my foot wants to sit up off the bottom of the boot and I think this is wrong. Will get it sorted on Tuesday.

So the last 2 nights I didn’t need pain killers (hooray) and think they won’t be needed at all anymore which is excellent. Sleeping is easier as I have worked out better positions for the leg with boot using pillows etc to rest it on. Not forgetting that I am under strict instructions that my leg MUST be elevated all of the time! So I am trying to do this and getting a numb bum is a commom occurrence from all the sitting! A trip to the loo becomes an adventure to look forward to as it is a good excuse to move around a bit..

The main lesson for me so far is to care for this prescious body of mine a lot better. It has never failed to operate to this extent, ever before, so I am much, much more aware of how vital to happiness is our good health. I am apologising to my body for stupidly trying to return to netball when a less physical sport would have been more appropriate (at my age…)! And I am now aware that aerobic fitness and good strength are nothing without muscle fitness! So yoga and stretching exercises, here I come. Having a flexible and fit body is what we need and one without the other is no good!

Lastly my wonderful local surgeon Sean managed to get my tendon ends back together somehow so I should be able to function normally again. I honestly don’t care if I can never run again but just to be able to walk long distances free of pain will be such a joy. Remember that saying…. You don’t know what youv’e got till it’s gone? So true, so true…

PS Thank you to Graham and all my friends for their care and concern. I really do appreciate it.

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