I live in Pie Ck, you in Woolooga, but we are both Div 6
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
What are the benefits of divisions?
(COUNCILLOR Hilary) Smerdon, your Letter to the Editor, October 20, was a response to my letter about the worth of council divisional boundaries.
In that letter you stated you don't know me, and this is true, we don't participate in the same community groups, even though we reside within the same division.
This is understandable since I live in Pie Creek and you in Woolooga; but to let you know, I am an active volunteer.
I am associated with my son's school P&C, the rural fire brigade and local junior soccer.
I recently raised the Gympie Army Cadet Unit and I am becoming more involved with the Gympie RSL Sub-branch.
To be specific in introduction, I am a 52 year-old retired army veteran, living on a hobby farm in Pie Creek with my wife and eight-year old son.
I also have an adult son, and I am the lawful guardian of my university student niece.
I first moved to Gympie in 2002, and married into a long-standing local family.
I also know the region quite well, being a former police officer, both here and Kingaroy, but I have also had the experience of residing in many other council jurisdictions in Queensland and in other Australian states.
I inferred from your letter that you perceived I was questioning your personal integrity.
This was not my intention at all, and I apologise if you took offence. I was questioning your view that the council's system of divisional representation works well and that you are across the issues affecting your constituents in Division 6, merely by residing within the same locality.
The size of Division 6 and the diverse needs of its ratepayers was the key issue I raised in my letter.
I note that you reaffirmed your belief that you possess a thorough knowledge of the division because you have worked and resided in the region for most of your life.
That said, without a ratepayer's complaint being first raised, I still question that you are familiar with my locality's specific needs and gripes as ratepayers, as opposed to a household in Tansey or Miva.
In saying that, I am confident you understand the concerns of the community in localities like Woolooga, Widgee or Sexton, your home patch. I do not doubt that you work hard on behalf of Division 6, which obviously obtained its enormous size by extending its boundary until an adequate quota of ratepayers was captured.
I am certain that if in the future, an elected representative for Division 6 is a Gympie based resident, there would be a similar objection as mine from the ratepayers of Goomeri, and rightly so.
Cr Smerdon, my letter was not written to belittle your commitment to the division or to tarnish your integrity. I was questioning your public argument that divisional boundaries are beneficial to ratepayers.