Ruf­fles points to so­cial work

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

LONG­TIME shire res­i­dent Vivi­enne Ruf­fles is stand­ing for elec­tion to coun­cil as an in­de­pen­dent, she an­nounced to­day.

“I’m not af­fil­i­ated or aligned with any­one,” said Ms Ruf­fles (64 yrs), who con­nec­tions with the shire go back to 1980.

She be­came a res­i­dent, with their then young fam­ily, in 1986.

“We moved here “BC” – be­fore Christo­pher – and bought a busi­ness, a food out­let down on the then Princes Wharf,” Ms Ruf­fles said.

She has wit­nessed the rise of Port Dou­glas but then the deep, dark days of the pi­lots’ strikes.

“I’ve seen the demise of many busi­nesses. It was a very sad time. A lot of peo­ple never came back. The school had just opened and The Sher­a­ton was 12mths old. It was a disas­ter for the in­dus­try.”

Stand­ing for coun­cil this time is the fruition of an idea that goes back years.

“Nearly 20 yeas ago I was part of group in the shire called Women in Lo­cal Govern­ment. We got to learn the leg­is­la­tion at the time and how it works. I was very in­ter­ested then.

“I was also in­ter­ested in 1999 when I was Dou­glas Shire Aus­tralia Day Ci­ti­zen of the Year and I was re­ally in­volved in lots of com­mu­nity groups at the time. But then I went back to full­time work.”

“You’ve got to have the in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port the young fam­i­lies to stay here, and that’s an area that I feel I’ve got lo­cal ex­per­tise in.

“I have gen­uine lo­cal ex­pe­ri­ence of lob­by­ing for a school, or a new road, or get­ting a kindy or com­mu­nity homes like Alchera or Porthaven – I’ve been on those com­mit­tees.”

In more re­cent years Vivi­enne has been work­ing with the Dou­glas Shire Com­mu­nity Ser­vices in Moss­man, and was the co-or­di­na­tor (14 years) of the shire’s respite ser­vice to sup­port fam­i­lies with a per­son with a dis­abil­ity, and re­mains on the com­mit­tee of Port Kids Inc, the com­mu­nity kinder­gar- ten based at Port Dou­glas State School. She is also an ac­tive parish­ioner in the Angli­can Church and the Port Dou­glas CWA.

Hav­ing re­tired from part time work last year at the age of 64, with her chil­dren grown up, Vivi­enne sees the op­por­tu­nity and the in­ter­est and com­mit­ment to stand for elec­tion. “I see a lot of lo­cal peo­ple in my age group who are of value to the com­mu­nity, who want to have good ser­vices and be able to con­trib­ute.”

Ms Ruf­fles said she is a “great be­liever in the whole of Shire ap­proach rather than where your res­i­den­tial ad­dress is”.

“The sta­bil­ity of the re­gion is with young fam­i­lies – sports and so on – and I think this needs to be sup­ported..”

She is very in­ter­ested in the se­cond stage of the Moss­man aged care fa­cil­ity (in­de­pen­dent liv­ing – a lot of peo­ple my age would be in­ter­ested in that”).

“And I do sup­port the ma­rina’s wa­ter­front plan but I sup­port the fact too that the fish­ing fleet needs to be re­tained and op­er­a­tional for all time.

It’s part of the vil­lage re­tain­ing its charm, she said. “Go up to the look­out and look down and you see beach and tree tops and that’s won­der­ful.”

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