Why Gympie needs to turn its back on Wide Bay and look south
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Are we Wide Bay or Sunshine Coast?
THIS week our Mayor chose to spend his too rare connection with the people he serves and represents, his weekly bit in The Gympie Times, to espouse the virtues of the greater Wide Bay region. Statistics, few very relevant to Gympie.
What did we learn? There's better than 300,000 people in the Wide Bay region, Gympie makes up about one in six, hardly enough to demand a lion's share of any funding.
Wide Bay produces 30 per cent of Queensland's fruit and nut production.
We have some here but does it compare to peanuts from Kingaroy, citrus from the North Burnett and tomatoes from Bundaberg?
The same applies to vegetables, apparently 20 per cent of Qld's production comes from Wide Bay but we don't have the horticulture, distribution or anything associated we once had around Gympie.
Hopefully, we'll get some pockets of produce growing and thriving but it looks like methane emitting beefers and housing is Gympie's land use future.
Mining and minerals rated a mention. It's been a while since there was a sizeable mine in the Gympie area and while press releases talk up shares of companies holding leases here there's apparently nothing yet proved viable to mine.
The biggest proven mineral resource in Wide Bay is coal. Coking coal's viable but thermal has a limited future, particularly if the other huge thermal coal mines around Adani's go ahead, into a diminishing market. Once set up coal seam gas isn't a big employer apart from at the port end.
Tourism industries in Wide Bay is the fastest growing in Queensland, but where?
Percentages can easily be higher from a low base and without proper planning and infrastructure the average local punter often loses amenity and affordability more than they gain otherwise from tourism growth. There's lessons to be learned from where it's happened before us.
All in all I read nothing in Cr Curran's spiel which justifies being welded to Wide Bay when the future, and the traffic, comes much more from the physically, and increasingly culturally, closer to the majority of us southeast Queensland.
Our mayor's comments this week seem particularly ironic as I write this on a day when our chronic health is discussed as part of the Sunshine Coast health district.
Gympie, and it's alleged leaders can't even identify where we're located.