Mary Valley to unite on its future

THE combined churches of the Mary Valley will join forces on Sunday to help unite residents in the task of creating their future.

After the community disaster which followed the Traveston Crossing dam announcement, the proposal’s rejection last November has ushered in a new era of hope and uncertainty, according to Rev Iain Watt, who spoke for the combined Churches of the Mary Valley.

He said the churches wanted to help Valley residents take control of their own destiny and not “just be like little chickens lined up and waiting for the government’s decision”.

“Concerned residents of the Mary Valley have been meeting to foster the rebuilding process needed in our community since the announcement by Peter Garrett that the proposed Traveston Dam would not go ahead,” Rev Watt said yesterday.

“The visits of Peter Kenyon have been the injection of hope needed to helping crystallise this process.

“Whilst our communities are painfully aware of the losses, frustrations and uncertainty we all face, in a wonderful way we have also discovered that we still have much potential for a better future. The battle to save the Mary has demonstrated many strengths and an incredible character in working together.

“There is no doubt we cannot go back to what we were but we have a unique opportunity to go forward to create a future that generations to come will be proud of.

“Churches of the Mary Valley, who have been continually praying for the welfare of the valley since (then-Premier) Peter Beattie’s announcement, believe the time is right for us to affirm what we have done and what we hope to achieve.

This is why we are calling the local community and supporters to unite in a Celebration of Renewed Hope on Sunday (at Kandanga Public Hall at 3pm),” he said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Infrastructure Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said that, with the announced extension of the deadline for former landowners wanting to buy their properties back, they will now have until June 30 to express interest.

So far, 56 expressions of interest applications have been lodged and more than 90 per cent of available properties are occupied by tenants, the spokesperson said.

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