GYMPIE is "on the cusp of greatness," the region's first Mayor Ron Dyne said yesterday.
And in a moment of personal greatness, Cr Dyne made it clear he was talking about a future he would not live to see.
Cr Dyne chaired his first council meeting since August 27, and later accepted recognition of his contribution from Local Government Association of Queensland president Margaret de Wit.
She and association CEO Greg Hallam drove up from Brisbane to present him with a certificate acknowledging his 15 years of service to local government.
"It wasn't something I planned," he said of his local government career, his voice wavering briefly.
"It was just an observation I made that things could be done differently in the shire of Kilkivan and someone said, 'Why don't you do it?'
"In 2004 I became mayor of Kilkivan Shire.
"People in Gympie have been very generous to me and I became the first mayor of Gympie Regional Council.
"And I think we've achieved great things.
"I've enjoyed my time in local government. Fifteen years - it didn't seem that long," he said.
The terminally ill Cr Dyne held back tears - and sometimes did not quite hold them back - as he told reporters he had stopped his cancer treatment and would face the consequences. "It was killing me," he said outside yesterday's council meeting.
"I think Gympie is on the cusp of greatness.
"We've got these big projects - the Hope Dairy, quarter horse racing and only one traffic light between here and the port of Brisbane."
"GOOD morning councillors. It's great to be back here."
So saying, Mayor Ron Dyne declared open yesterday's Gympie Regional Council general meeting, his first since August.
As councillors rose for their traditional minute's silence on behalf of the recently deceased and bereaved, Cr Dyne made special mention of the contribution to the district of his old Kilkivan Shire colleague, "ex-councillor Fabian Webb," who died peacefully on Saturday night, aged 84.
Cr Dyne guided the meeting through a relatively short agenda mainly focused on planning for the revitalisation of the CBD.
Proposals for a major redesign of the city centre go out for public consultation on November 27, until January 30.
"The whole intention is to revitalise the CBD and make it the heart and soul of the whole area," Cr Dyne said.
"This is a game breaker for Mary St and the whole region.
"We need to work together and I've tried to keep us working together," he said.
"You don't do it for recognition," he said yesterday.
"You do it because it's something you like doing."
Cr Dyne thanked Gympie people for their genuine concern at his illness.
"The amount of cards and well wishes I've had has been overwhelming.
"It's not something I'd wish on anyone, but people have been very supportive."
Recognition for 15 years of service
"HE'S a very special person for me," Local Government Association of Queensland president Margaret de Wit said of Gympie region Mayor Ron Dyne yesterday.
Councillor de Wit and association CEO Greg Hallam travelled from Brisbane to congratulate Cr Dyne on his 15 years of service to local government.
"He couldn't come to Mackay," she said, referring to the LGAQ conference where she would normally have presented Cr Dyne with his service certificate.
"I'm delighted I could get a day that suited him and suited me," she said.
"He's been a member of the policy executive of the LGAQ, our governing body.
"The wisdom he was able to bring to that committee was invaluable.
"He was a very highly regarded member of the committee. He has made a significant contribution to local government."
Mr Hallam said Cr Dyne had brought expertise and people skills to his local government role.
"He's been a member of many advisory groups with the state government," Mr Hallam said.
"On rural lands protection issues he was fantastic. He was part of a group that pulled it all together.
"He helped with stock routes issues and pest and weed control programs."
Cr de Wit said the LGAQ service awards had been an institution since 1959 to provide due recognition to the contribution of people in local government.
Cr Dyne's voice wavered briefly as he accepted the certificate.
Local government was not something he had planned.
"I've enjoyed my time in local government," he said. "Fifteen years - it didn't seem that long."
He said the award was a recognition he shared with all councillors.
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