Ruffles points to social work
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.”