New Mary Valley Chamber of Commerce executives Murray Stewart and Heinke Butt discuss the valley’s new business directions at Emilia’s in Mary Street.
New Mary Valley Chamber of Commerce executives Murray Stewart and Heinke Butt discuss the valley’s new business directions at Emilia’s in Mary Street. Craig Warhurst

World of optimism

AN outdoor educator from Gympie and a macadamia farmer from the world of international trade are the new team at the business end of the Mary Valley’s renewal process.

Murray Stewart, who formerly operated the Garapine Outdoor Education Centre south of Gympie, will share President/Secretary duties with Heinke Butt, whose background includes retailing in Australia and New Zealand as well as high level executive positions with a major European furniture exporting company.

“We have amazing opportunities now,” they said of the Mary Valley renewal process, following the economic and social devastation caused by the Traveston Crossing dam proposal. “It’s not often a community gets the chance to reinvent itself.”

“It’s a great time to make things happen,” Mr Stewart said this week. “And the more people who are involved, the better.”

Ms Butt sees an important role for young people in the process and says the chamber can be an important part of education, especially for the Grade 10 students of Mary Valley College at Imbil.

By working with the Gympie Chamber of Commerce and inviting students to attend chamber meetings, she hopes to impart knowledge and experience of meeting procedure and business networking.

Both say the chamber is well-placed to involve itself in the economic side of the rebuilding process, while other bodies like Mary Valley Inc have done excellent work on social rebuilding and promotion of the area.

The third part of the “triple bottom line” is the environmental and data collection work of the Mary River Catchment Co-ordinating Committee.

They say Tourism Queensland has identified significant tourism opportunities.

The organisational and attitudinal benefits of the visits by community motivator Peter Kenyon have also helped greatly to steer the community in its new direction, the two said this week.

Gympie Times


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