MAREEBA ANIMAL REFUGE
IN response to the letter by Irene Shanks on the Animal Refuge in last week’s paper. In 2007 the refuge had fallen into such a state of disrepair and mismanagement that the then Tablelands Regional Council decided to call for tenders for a new managing body. Friends of the Animals Inc. had had a recent disappointment with the demise of its plans to build a refuge in the Wongabel State Forest so the group decided to apply for the tender. FOTA Inc. won this tender and commenced operation of the facility on November 17, 2007. It was this 10th anniversary that was celebrated in November this year and not the establishment of the refuge in 1974. We are extremely proud of our achievements over the past 10 years and thank the Mareeba community for its wonderful support. We hope that in another 10 years we will have much more to celebrate. JENNIFER WALSH, Mareeba Animal Refuge
CHHHS also made the poor decision to hold the official opening of the most important Dimbulah facility in decades just 4 days after an intense state government election.
Major stakeholders who had contributed so much over the past 2 years to ensure the new Dimbulah Health Facility was built – for example Health Minister Cameron Dick and State MP Shane Knuth – couldn’t attend the Dimbulah Health Clinic opening but the event went ahead regardless.
Mayor Gilmore and Councillors could not attend due to the late notice and prior commitments.
Of the 50 or so people who attended the opening, over half were either paid Queensland Health administration staff or people from outside Dimbulah. Only a small number of Dimbulah locals could attend this event scheduled in the middle of a working week which showed very little regard for our rural community, the majority of whom, are in the paddock or packing sheds at this peak harvest period. Some locals arrived at 11am when the event was over.
Local indigenous elder Tom Congoo was given the courtesy of welcoming all to country, while recent CHHHS CEO Clare Douglas carried out the introduction.
Recent Chairman of the CHHHS board Clive Skarott AM did the official opening and it’s worth noting that both of these people were appointed to CHHHS after all the hard work had been done by the community through public meetings and state government petitions which resulted in funding of 4.6 million dollars announced by the health minister last year. It was apparent by their addresses that CEO Clare and Chairman Clive had limited knowledge of the process that had taken place and they failed to respectfully acknowledge the major contributors of the project. Health Minister Cameron Dick and State MP Shane Knuth, community volunteers Mick Borzi AM OBE and Gaye Taylor.
Once again CHHHS demonstrated that they have very little understanding of community needs and expectations and worse, they are not even prepared to consult with locals to provide the best possible solution in the provision of essential health services to regional communities like Dimbulah.
The resulting event, which had been much anticipated by Dimbulah residents, was an absolute disappointment. PHIL QUAYLE, Dimbulah
HEAVY VEHICLE BYPASS
IT will be very interesting to watch and hear the line that Mareeba Shire Council Mayor Tom Gilmore takes with further planning and pressure on the new State Government and Federal Government for the necessary funding to build the much needed heavy vehicle bypass road to the west of Mareeba which has been in the planning stage for over 50 years.
The heavy vehicle bypass road to the west of Mareeba will remove ninety percent of the huge transport vehicles now required to traverse the main street Byrnes Street which is the gazetted Highway One to Cape York.
It is absolutely absurd to have all these massive semi-trailers – b-doubles and foul polluting side tippers of fermented rubbish from Cairns coming through our business centre seven days a week.
Mayor Tom Gilmore has publicly stated that he is not in the business of Health but I can assure our mayor that each and every day these massive heavy vehicles traverse Byrnes Street it becomes more a risk factor to the general public and it is only a matter of time when some major incident will occur in the central business area of Mareeba causing a catastrophic health and safety incident involving a member or members of our community.
There are so many positives for a heavy vehicle bypass for Mareeba including the development of a massive roadhouse where long haulage truck drivers can fuel – have a meal – bath – sleep and have adequate room to leave trailers etc aligned to our new Industrial Estate north west of Mareeba.
There may well be two high level bridges involved to span both Granite Creek and Atherton Creek but this is no reason for our political leaders local and state to shy away from the costs involved when you look at the billions of dollars being spent each year on highways and by ways in the south eastern corner of our state.
The only way Mareeba will get the necessary funding for the long planned heavy vehicle bypass in Mareeba is for mayor Tom Gilmore and newly elected Member for Cook Cynthia Lui, along with the Mareeba Chamber of Commerce, to unite as one loud voice in all facets of the media and lobby hard to state and federal transport and main roads ministers relentlessly. DENIS MCKINLEY, Mareeba