Swanny rips in on rock
MP fires up after rock wall decision delay
EX-DEPUTY Prime Minister and Nambour State High School alumni Wayne Swan has questioned the delay of a decision on how best to replace the existing Maroochy River mouth sand bags.
Cotton Tree has been one of the Lilley MP and his family’s favourite holiday destinations.
Mr Swan made clear he was not speaking on behalf of the Don’t Rock The Maroochy committee, but from his personal viewpoint he thought the community had every right to question the process surrounding the groyne renewal consideration.
“I think too many councillors have got a predetermined view that it’s the rock wall or nothing,” he said.
Mr Swan had been concerned to read reports that Sunshine Coast Council had held 110 closed-door meetings since the start of April, and said it was clear “not all councillors are being frank about their intentions on this matter”.
“In respect to the Mayor, I think people are entitled to ask questions,” Mr Swan said.
“You can’t on the one hand have 110 closed-door meetings, which exclude the community, then on the other hand make the case for freedom and democracy in the case of developer donations,” he said, referring to Sunshine Coast Mayor and Local Government Association of Queensland president Mark Jamieson’s recent comments opposing the State Government’s developer donation ban for local councils.
A Sunshine Coast Council spokesman said councillors had received “one briefing from council staff and the independent chair of the Maroochy River Estuary Consultation Group earlier this week”.
That meeting provided them with information given to the community during recent public information sessions.
The spokesman said all council decisions were made in open session and the council adhered to the Local Government regulations at all times when determining whether a report should be considered in closed session.
Mr Swan called on politicians from all sides of the spectrum to respect the strong community opposition to any possible rock wall or rock groyne replacing the existing sandbags.
“All of that (Cotton Tree’s attractions) will be destroyed with a massive rock wall,” he said.
“There’s no question that people from all walks of life and all political persuasions are strongly of this view.”
Consultation group chairman Professor John Martin said the request for an extension for consideration until March was to enable further community presentations to the group.
He said the 200m rock wall option was off the table and it was now down to replacing the existing sandbags with sandbags, or replacing them with rock groynes.
“Of course, it’s a community asset which is highly valued,” he said when asked whether strong weight would be given to the community’s wishes.
He said the council had gone to great lengths to give the community a chance to have its say.
“To their (council’s) credit they are considering it (community’s wishes),” Prof Martin said.
Don’t Rock The Maroochy spokesman Stuart Dell earlier this week said they were happy with the decision to extend consideration of the options until March, provided the community’s wishes replace sandbags with sandbags and keep the Maroochy as a wild river was the end result.