Gympie doesn't need a flood levee, but it needs something
Letters to the Editor
No levee for Mary Street
AS MEMBERS of the "chosen few” in our "precious CBD”, The Gympie Times, Saturday, 18/11/17), we find Dave Freeman's comments, as usual, offensive, ill-informed and ill-mannered.
We in Mary Street do not demand to be protected from our "own folly”, but as ratepayers who contribute in excess of $10,000 every year to the council coffers, we would like our voice to be heard.
What we would really like to see in place is not a levee, but some well-reasoned and well-informed debate on flood mitigation (as happens in Bundaberg and Maryborough).
The efforts of the late Ron Dyne to explore the levee issue was a refreshing change to the usual post-flood 'talkfest', which focuses mainly on the many things that cannot be done. It appears that a levee is not a universal solution and is not practical for Gympie, quite apart from the expense.
We must look elsewhere for solutions, possibly multiple solutions, since we've more than exhausted the topic of finding the 'magic bullet'.
Following the massive flood of 1893, Walter Hay of Noosa, suggested that during such events, some of the flow from the Mary River be diverted to the coast before reaching Traveston.
(Walter Hay was instrumental in the construction of the route from Tiaro to Noosa, so he knew the area well).
As the driest continent on Earth, Australia needs to be harnessing its precious water flows, not allowing them to be wasted when they have finished their destruction.
With proximity to the expanded Sunshine Coast Airport, our shire is well-placed to seek new food-bowl opportunities that may arise from this proposal of re-routing of the mighty Mary.
Regarding the survival of our "precious CBD” and "saving us from our own stupid decisions”, Dave Freeman and his ilk see the proliferation of shopping centres as real progress for the future of retail.
With their canned music, artificial climate and easy parking facilities, (even if no longer free), shopping centres offer the same shops with the same product throughout the country, whether it is at Gympie Central, Sunshine Plaza, Chermside, Carindale or Indooroopilly.
On-line shopping also looms as another well-resourced challenge.
Despite spending many millions establishing these centres, they are unable to replicate the wonderful ambience and historic atmosphere of our "precious CBD”. It may surprise Dave Freeman that there are a substantial band of shoppers, prepared to negotiate the vagaries of traffic and parking, who enjoy shopping in our "precious CBD”.
They appreciate the efforts, experience and courteous and friendly service they receive from the hard-working shop-keepers in Mary Street.
Visitors to our region every day offer compliments about our unique Mary Street. It is a shame some locals take it for granted and regard it, erroneously, as a burden to rate-payers in general.
A diversity of retail offering is worth striving for. Local, family-owned businesses are under constant challenge from the major multinationals. Local support is the best means to ensure our street does not become homogenised and sterile, totally lacking local flavour.
Give us a break, Dave.
Roger and Lorraine Broadley,
Twiga Books and Toyworld