Ian Petersen at the new Bunnings site.
Ian Petersen at the new Bunnings site. Renee Pilcher

Council gives itself a tick

ONE hundred days post-election and most Gympie councillors gave themselves and the council the thumbs up this week, despite some obvious signs of dissent over the new meeting structure.

Some said they continued to struggle with the introduction of new technology such as iPhones and iPads, which all councillors have been issued with and which have recently replaced printed meeting agendas.

Others said the biggest challenge of the past 100 days had been keeping rates down while battling rising costs, dwindling revenue, a small rate base and the ongoing impact of flood damage.

Almost all of the nine-member council agreed that the 3.5% rate rise brought down in their first budget, the lowest rate rise in the Wide Bay Burnett, had been the council's greatest achievement.

Long-serving councillor Ian Petersen made no bones about that fact that he wanted the scrapped committee system resurrected.

He said it was an exciting and busy time in council, with development applications like Bunnings' proof that Gympie was a preferred destination for commerce and could look forward to a prosperous future.

Other steps towards that future were highlighted according to each councillor's portfolio: a Weeds Advisory Committee has been established since the election, and a soon-to-be announced economic reference group.

A disaster response plan and group has been established at Kybong and inroads made with Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and Local Government Minister David Crisafulli to wind back some of the more contentious and onerous impositions put on local councils by the former State Government.

New councillors Mark McDonald, Wayne Sachs and Mick Curran all said they had enjoyed their first 100 days despite a heavy work load and steep learning curve.

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