DEVELOPING the banks of the Mary River through the Gympie region should be a priority project for the new Gympie Regional Council, Division 4 candidate Graham Engeman said yesterday.
Mr Engeman said that after 150 years of settlement in Gympie it was time to embrace the river and make it a focal drawcard to Gympie and the region.
"Has anyone been down to the Mary River?" he said.
"Did you know it flows right through the Gympie council region from Moy Pocket to Miva and all that length there are only two little parks on its banks?
"One is at Miva and the other at Normanby Bridge in Gympie.
"The Mary River is one of the great river systems in Queensland and Australia. People across the world have heard about and seen the floods.
"Loads of 'grey nomads' pass through the region and many have complained they could not park beside it.
"Imagine going to Victoria and not being able to get to the Murray River.
"The Mary River must be the greatest forgotten tourist destination in the Gympie region.
"Not to mention the thousands of residents who live their lives beside it but never enjoy its waters.
"The dirt track down to the weir below Monkland St or the other dirt track near Aldi are for the few who know the pleasures of fishing and kayaking and swimming in its gentle waters.
"Some will say because it floods, nothing can be built on its banks.
"We don't need a theme park there; simply an RV parking area and general parking and picnic areas for families and tourists to enjoy.
"The floods have washed over the weir and many farming paddocks for decades without a great deal of damage. The benefits would outweigh the clean-up costs.
"The land below the Gold Nugget service station or beside the park near Normanby Bridge springs to mind as gentle land with easy access to the river.
"Both are above the weir and have some depth of water.
"The Mary River Catchment Committee had plans for educational activities on the Mary River if there was an easy access point.
"The community meetings held in the Mary Valley during the Traveston Dam days were very vocal that there were no public access points or parks on the River without going through private land.
"This is a project I call upon the next Gympie Regional Council to bring to fruition and after over a 150 years of settlement in Gympie.
"Let's finally embrace the Mary River and make it a focal drawcard to Gympie and the region.
"Love to hear what residents think."