Councillor Dan Stewart. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times
Councillor Dan Stewart. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times

Playing field squeeze shows sport is doing well in Gympie

Opinion piece by Gympie councillor Dan Stewart

GYMPIE Regional Council provides a wide range of services; roads, water and sewerage, waste, parks, sports grounds, saleyards, aerodrome, the Rattler, support of economic development and tourism, promoting the region, planning, recreation opportunities, libraries, and the list goes on.

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It is not possible for any one councillor to be across all that council does.

Thus councillors are assigned “portfolios”.

This is not being like a minister in a state or federal government.

Gympie Hammers Rugby Union Club president Jason McPherson at Albert Park. The shortage of playing fields in Gympie has left the Women’s Hammers team without a home Photo: Bec Singh
Gympie Hammers Rugby Union Club president Jason McPherson at Albert Park. The shortage of playing fields in Gympie has left the Women’s Hammers team without a home Photo: Bec Singh

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Portfolios allow councillors to talk with relevant directors and managers about particular areas of council.

For example, councillor Bruce Devereaux and I have the finance portfolio. As such we discuss issues with the Chief Financial Officer and other finance staff about strategic issues.

Now that the budget has been completed, we have turned our mind to the recommendations of the Financial Management Report to ensure financial responsibility is embedded throughout the organisation.

I am also hoping to further pursue debt policy and policies about the level of “dividends” paid by “business units” such as water and sewerage.

Gympie Regional Council Division 5 councillor Dan Stewart.
Gympie Regional Council Division 5 councillor Dan Stewart.

With councillors Dolly Jensen and Shane Waldock, we share a portfolio that includes arts and culture, open space and parks, sport and business activities (saleyards, aerodrome, council land and facilities). Part of this is discussing the “squeeze” on playing fields and the proposed development of new playing fields.

The squeeze on playing fields shows that sport is doing well in our community.

It is wonderful that so many residents are being active and healthy.

However, the sporting field squeeze is a challenge that council will be working through over the next few years.

Being a portfolio councillor is not about telling staff in your area what to do, nor is it to decide on policy.

However, portfolio councillors are a sounding board for staff as they develop strategies, plans and policies. And councillors can discuss their ideas on projects and policies with staff.

Cr Dan Stewart

Gympie councillors Dan Stewart, Jess Milne, Dolly Jensen and Warren Polley
Gympie councillors Dan Stewart, Jess Milne, Dolly Jensen and Warren Polley
Gympie Times


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