If you build it, they will come

THE Gympie Region's future emerged as a brave new world this week, with plans for big population growth, major industrial development throughout the region and calls for a new economy in the Mary Valley.

Like the famous poem at the Statue of Liberty, Mary Valley people and Gympie Regional Council called on an increasingly overcrowded South East Queensland to "send me your huddled masses".

Valley residents said farewell to community motivator Peter Kenyon, who told them their district has only a few months to take advantage of its post-dam profile and to re-invent itself as a community of the future.

A PACKED business breakfast at Kandanga Bowls Club heard that south-east Queenslanders were increasingly "piled on top of each other" and would welcome the chance to build new lives here.

That coincided with council calls for governments to direct predicted population growth to the Gympie Region and to back this with a serious program of large-scale infrastructure spending.

With floods in the front of most Gympie minds this week, Mayor Ron Dyne said this already included plans to improve bridge access across the Mary River.

Planning and Development Committee chairman Ian Petersen told the committee's Wednesday meeting the region would welcome some of South East Queensland's forecast population growth.

"We have 7000sq km and a relatively low population of about 48,000," he said.

"I believe we should be suggesting that if the government's going to have massive population growth in south-east Queensland, this is the place it should be happening," he said. "Our industrial land study refers to this and the most challenging thing is to get it recognised in the (government's) Wide Bay-Burnett Regional Plan.

Cr Dyne said the Wide Bay-Burnett Regional Strategy indicated a need to plan an increased capacity for crossing the Mary River. Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett said growth would increase demand for services and council would need to be pro-active in planning for a population influx.

Works Committee chairman Larry Friske said land was available for a much-needed greenfield industrial development near the Laminex site at Toolara, a site he described as "ideal".

Planning director Michael Hartley told the meeting the Wide Bay-Burnett Industrial Land Strategy had identified sites throughout the region for "difficult-to-locate" industries.

"They are having trouble finding sites in South East Queensland and I understand they are going to talk to Gympie Regional Council," he said.

Cr Rae Gate stressed the need for a pro-active approach to encourage "the government funding which should be coming our way for infrastructure."

Gympie Times

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