Mayor re­as­sures res­i­dents

For­man re­minds Cham­ber of Com­merce it has role to play in Isis, Kolan devel­op­ment

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - By MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

BUND­ABERG Re­gional Coun­cil mayor Mal For­man has moved to shut down sug­ges­tions the coun­cil is “Bund­aberg-cen­tric”.

Af­ter months of ques­tions and com­ments from Isis and Kolan res­i­dents the Town & Coun­try asked Cr For­man and Cr Ross Som­mer­field what the coun­cil was do­ing to drive re­gional devel­op­ment.

Both coun­cil­lors ad­dressed dis­con­tent aired at last week’s Childers Cham­ber of Com­merce meet­ing. Cr For­man was taken aback by sug­ges­tions Kolan res­i­dents felt they were “ne­glected” as the area “com­petes with Bund­aberg City”.

“With­out th­ese re­gions we wouldn’t be as strong,” Cr For­man said.

“Please be as­sured we’re work­ing hard.”

While the com­ments from Isis aren’t quite as dra­matic there was still dis­con­tent among the re­gion’s pop­u­la­tion about the lack of in­fra­struc­ture. Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Ren Cini said the town needed “fresh in­fra­struc­ture”, and cited high in­fra­struc­ture rates as a rea­son why de­vel­op­ers stayed away.

“We want to bring busi­nesses and de­vel­op­ers to town.”

Cr For­man said de­spite no “ob­vi­ous signs of devel­op­ment through bricks and mor­tar” in Childers and Gin Gin coun­cil has taken ac­tion to “en­sure fu­ture growth and sus­tain­abil­ity” in the com­mu­ni­ties.

“Bund­aberg was not im­mune to the eco­nomic down­turn of re­cent years and like­wise our re­gional cen­tres also suf­fered through lack of in­vest­ment and con­fi­dence,” he said.

“I be­lieve that con­fi­dence has re­turned and will man­i­fest it­self in new in­fra­struc­ture and job cre­ation projects across the re­gion.

“We rely on the Cham­bers and groups like Res­i­dents and Ratepay­ers as­so­ci­a­tions to li­aise with coun­cil re­gard­ing the wants and needs of their com­mu­ni­ties.”

Cr Som­mer­field said seven devel­op­ment pro­pos­als took ad­van­tage of the coun­cil’s Bund­aberg Open For Devel­op­ment ini­tia­tive, which was launched in 2013.

BO4D pro­vided devel­op­ment in­cen­tives to stim­u­late devel­op­ment ac­tiv­ity, in­crease eco­nomic growth and em­ploy­ment in the great Bund­aberg re­gion.

“It is a widely held view by coun­cil and the re­gion’s devel­op­ment in­dus­try that the BO4D ini­tia­tive has been suc­cess­ful in stim­u­lat­ing devel­op­ment ac­tiv­ity within the Bund­aberg re­gion over the past 18 months,” Cr Som­mer­field said.

Although there are no “larger-scale devel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions in Childers,” Cr Som­mer­field said the coun­cil reg­u­larly fielded ques­tions from de­vel­op­ers.

“Coun­cil’s Devel­op­ment As­sess­ment Team reg­u­larly fields ques­tions from de­vel­op­ers and landown­ers in­ter­ested in un­der­tak­ing devel­op­ment in Childers and the sur­round­ing lo­cal­ity,” he said.

“A con­sis­tent theme to th­ese in­quiries is a devel­op­ment in­ter­est in un­der­tak­ing ru­ral or gen­eral in­dus­try ac­tiv­i­ties in lo­ca­tions that can take ad­van­tage of the Bruce Hwy and the ex­cel­lent sup­port­ing trans­port in­fra­struc­ture it pro­vides.”

Cr For­man put some of the re­spon­si­bil­ity back on com­mu­nity groups to help iden­tify ar­eas of need in Childers, Gin Gin and the sur­round­ing ar­eas.

“Coun­cil alone can­not drive devel­op­ment,” Cr For­man said.

“Com­mu­ni­ties have a role to play in as­sist­ing coun­cil iden­tify what op­por­tu­ni­ties ex­ist, what ser­vices are needed and then sup­port­ing coun­cil en­deav­ours to progress th­ese ini­tia­tives.

“As a coun­cil we re­main com­mit­ted to a uni­fied re­gion and work­ing to en­sure the best out­comes across the en­tire 6500sq km of the Bund­aberg re­gion.”

PHOTO: MAX FLEET

GROWTH: Bund­aberg Mayor Mal For­man re­as­sures Isis and Kolan res­i­dents coun­cil is do­ing all they can to drive growth in the re­gions.

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