Cr Peterson (centre) accepts petitions against the levee from Kay Skyring and Maureen Perry.
Cr Peterson (centre) accepts petitions against the levee from Kay Skyring and Maureen Perry. Tanya Easterby

CBD flood levee issue becoming Gympie's 'Great Wall'

THOUGH not exactly the Great Wall of China, Gympie's planned CBD flood levee appears to have become a significant dividing line for public opinion.

"There's not too many on his side," anti-levee councillor Ian Petersen said of Mayor Ron Dyne's pro-levee stance yesterday.

But Cr Dyne says it is Cr Petersen who is isolated from majority opinion on the issue.

Accompanied by protesters Maureen Perry and Kay Skyring, Cr Petersen yesterday showed The Gympie Times their petition, with 995 signatures against the idea.

Ms Perry complained of dirty tricks by pro-levee elements who had tried to sabotage the petition by stealing pages of signatures and disposing of them.

"We don't know how many signatures we would have otherwise, she said.

"It's a mammoth effort," Cr Petersen said. "Apparently there's a lot of other petitions going around as well."

Cr Dyne yesterday hit back at Cr Petersen's claims that the council was not functioning as the open consultative democracy promised by the mayor before the election.

"I know nothing of the petition and would have thought Cr Petersen would have been professional enough to have given it to council before he gave it to the media," Cr Dyne said from Brisbane, where he was attending a Queensland Plan meeting.

He denied Cr Petersen's claims he about the council failing to consult on the issue.

"We have divisions now and we have portfolios and all councillors participate in debate and discussion at council workshops, when questions can be asked and information provided by appropriate staff.

"If Cr Petersen wishes to take himself out of the general debate and interaction between councillors, that is his choice," he said.

But Cr Petersen said it was the community that should have been consulted.

"A petition is a symptom of inadequate community consultation.

"If the community feel a need to sign a petition, especially in the numbers that are coming forward on this issue, it is obvious that council is doing something that the community does not want."

"This issue has been characterised by a flagrant disregard for due process.

"There was a commitment to the project before it was brought to council.

"Then a contract, presumably for another couple of hundred thousand dollars, was signed (and) that contract has still not even been discussed at council. There is too much bureaucratic and unilateral decision making. The views of the community need to be considered."

The petition says the project is extravagant, of benefit to "a limited number of residents" and would be likely to impact on the region's already "very high" rates.

Gympie Times


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