Councillor Bob Fredman questioned spending so much on one youth project - such as Gympie's new skate park.
Councillor Bob Fredman questioned spending so much on one youth project - such as Gympie's new skate park.

Thanks for the debate, I intended nothing more and nothing less

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

I REFER to comment around my Facebook post last weekend about the new $2.8m skatepark.

To clarify the intent, my points were intended to highlight issues as follows:

When we are spending huge amounts of ratepayers money, is there sufficient debate about how much we spend on each project?

Cr Bob Fredman at Gympie's youth hub skate park.
Cr Bob Fredman at Gympie's youth hub skate park.

I acknowledge the needs of our youth are vital; and equally so is the best use of ratepayers money.

And why do we spend so much money at times on work health and safety, and other times not?

Designing a 3m drop on to concrete in an unsupervised and popular public area does raise issues of consistency.

Thanks for the debate, I intended nothing more and nothing less.

Bob Fredman, Councillor Division 8

KEEP READING FOR MORE LETTERS

It seems our council has more money than brains

IT IS with mixed feelings that I write this letter. Firstly on November 26, we are informed by The Gympie Times that the council has incurred a loss of $11 million.

This may be a shock to the council, but for ratepayers it is not a shock at all. In fact, it is something that we have come to expect.

Albert Park sports ground in Gympie.
Albert Park sports ground in Gympie.

When the council hired our dynamic CEO, we were warned of his grandiose projects which could have an adverse effect on the local economy with streetscapes, aquatic centres, youth precincts and a Christmas tree coming in at the frugal cost of only $65,000 and too feeble to support the lighting of which $40,000 is part of that cost.

It appears that the council has more money than brains.

Members of Cooloola BMX Club Inc., Gympie Bike Riders MTB Club Inc., Team Gympie Cycling Group, Gympie Bicycle Centre, Gympie Police, Uncle Tias, Llew O'Brien MP, Mayor Mick Curran, Tony Perret, Councillor Dan Stewart.
Members of Cooloola BMX Club Inc., Gympie Bike Riders MTB Club Inc., Team Gympie Cycling Group, Gympie Bicycle Centre, Gympie Police, Uncle Tias, Llew O'Brien MP, Mayor Mick Curran, Tony Perret, Councillor Dan Stewart.

In the very next issue of our paper we are informed of a dilemma which the council is facing with the construction of an indoor sports stadium at a cost of $13 million.

As with previous projects it will most likely end up being $26 million.

Then we are told that an equestrian centre is envisaged also. Why can’t people be satisfied with Albert Park and the showgrounds?

Gympie Regional Council workers Aaron Turner, Kane Schroeder, Tony Dunshea, David Kirkpatrick, Brendan Lewis and Ben Gardner take a break from planting Gympie's new living Christmas tree in Nelson Reserve on Wednesday.
Gympie Regional Council workers Aaron Turner, Kane Schroeder, Tony Dunshea, David Kirkpatrick, Brendan Lewis and Ben Gardner take a break from planting Gympie's new living Christmas tree in Nelson Reserve on Wednesday.

Apart from all the above mentioned projects, there are others which I consider more pressing.

Having some knowledge of the Rattler Railway Company, I would consider that a new railway bridge over Deep Creek is necessary as the two concrete piers which don’t contain any reinforcements were poured in batches over a period of time until the desired height was reached.

Mary Valley Rattler
Mary Valley Rattler

Would ratepayers be expected to finance this massive expense to retain a struggling venture? It seems that with every increase in rates there is an increase in fanciful projects which necessitates another rate rise the following year.

We are told that the project of earnings from these projects will be making money for the council in five years time, however, if the economy keeps declining at the present rate I agree with Ian Petersen that it won’t happen at all.

I am convinced that a man who is in receipt of a government pay packet does not have enough experience to run a council.

To read Mr Petersen’s letter in this issue is to realise the shortcomings of this council.

G.O Johns, Gympie

KEEP READING FOR MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Mick Curran does not like to accept criticism or blame

ACCORDING to the drivel being espoused by Cr Curran at Wednesday’s meeting and on various other occasions in public, I am partly to blame for his reprehensible trashing of the finances of this council.

Yes I was chairman of finance with Mick Venardos as mayor when Cooloola council was adjudged by the Queensland Treasury Corporation as the most financially sustainable council in Queensland with the ability to withstand any unexpected financial shock without impacting on rates or delivery of services.

Gympie Council CEO Bernard Smith and Mayor Mick Curran.
Gympie Council CEO Bernard Smith and Mayor Mick Curran.

All that was achieved with very low rates, well maintained roads and infrastructure. But he is adamant that it is our fault that he currently presides over a financial basket case, completely out of control and in freefall.

I pity him. I just can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for him to come into Queensland’s financially most sustainable council with sufficient cash reserves to enable him to indulge his aspirations to play trains.

Bernard Smith, Ian Petersen and Mick Curran
Bernard Smith, Ian Petersen and Mick Curran

It must have been quite onerous that he had access to too much money and he and his mate had to find numerous ways to waste it. I have to acknowledge that they have done a very good job of that.

Cr Curran doesn’t like to accept criticism or blame.

He uses the strategy of inventing an excuse and sticking to it.

POWER 30: Gympie Regional Council CEO Bernard Smith
POWER 30: Gympie Regional Council CEO Bernard Smith

Man up Mick. Stop trying to shed blame. Accept the truth that your starting point was affluence and our current position is poverty and trending downwards.

You and your mate got rid of a swathe of top quality senior staff who could manage budgets and provide us with projections which were always within a few thousand dollars.

Official opening of the Mary Valley Rail Trail by Mayor Mick Curran.
Official opening of the Mary Valley Rail Trail by Mayor Mick Curran.

Now with your “you beaut” modernised systems you can’t even predict within $13 million. How can anyone make responsible financial decisions when the financial position of the organisation is just a wild and hopelessly inaccurate guess?

No wonder finances are out of control. Your excuses just don’t cut it.

Ian Petersen, Gympie

KEEP READING FOR MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Gympie’s division system is an irrelevance

LAST Saturday’s Your Say page featured some interesting reading.

There was the inspirational expression of gratitude by the RDA mum for what the organisation has done for her seriously disabled daughter.

I was particularly touched by the declaration,”...her morning ride has been her only reason for living as she battles depression and associated self-harm and suicidal ideation.”

The letter went on to catalogue the many therapeutic and social benefits that the volunteer organisation provides for her daughter and,no doubt,for the many other disabled riders who attend the facility.

It was a moving and sincere tribute to the volunteers who run Riding for the Disabled -one of the community’s truly precious organisations.

Then there was the cautionary “baby and bath water”letter relative to the approaching Council election.

Mary River walk councillors Bob Leitch, Mal Gear, Dan Stewart, Mick Curran Mark McDonald, Daryl Dodt and Bernard Smith.
Mary River walk councillors Bob Leitch, Mal Gear, Dan Stewart, Mick Curran Mark McDonald, Daryl Dodt and Bernard Smith.

Apart from putting the view that “ ...candidates need to live in the division they run in...”the letter writer was at pains to endorse (or re-endorse) sitting councillor, Dan Stewart. The concluding paragraph suggested that there may be some other unnamed babies we might not want to throw out.

My own view, after almost four years of the current council, is that the division system is probably an irrelevance.

Many people do not know who is supposed to be representing them.

This is a reflection not only of community apathy but also of the failure of councillors to engage with those who voted them into their well-paid positions.

It is highly likely that most voters have not seen or heard from their elected representative since the election.

Gympie Council Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald.
Gympie Council Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald.

Nor do I believe that the council has functioned as a genuinely democratic forum.

It seems that there is a power bloc which ensures that policy is decided and implemented from the top.

If we are to persist with the concept of a democratically elected council, and realistically there is probably no alternative, perhaps we should consider the possibility of electing the best citizens available irrespective of where they live and trust them to do their best for the entire community.

Merv Welch, The Palms

Gympie Times


VIDEO: Ute veers off Mary Valley road and into tree in creek

premium_icon VIDEO: Ute veers off Mary Valley road and into tree in creek

The driver was trapped but a passerby with a crowbar is believed to have helped...

FRESH DETAILS: Police issue update on Murgon siege incident

premium_icon FRESH DETAILS: Police issue update on Murgon siege incident

Police were negotiating with a man inside a house in Murgon at noon

Long Flat fatal court case will drag on into 2020

premium_icon Long Flat fatal court case will drag on into 2020

Joshua-James Cameron Langley, 29, is accused of dangerous driving causing death or...