Mayors talk about re­gional syn­er­gies

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE -

GREATER com­mu­nity op­por­tu­ni­ties could come for Der­went Val­ley and Cen­tral High­lands res­i­dents fol­low­ing a “ben­e­fi­cial meet­ing” be­tween both re­gions’ mayors.

Der­went Val­ley Mayor Mar­tyn Evans met with Cen­tral High­lands Mayor Loueen Trif­fitt last week to dis­cuss ways for the two mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to cre­ate syn­ergy and fur­ther de­velop both re­gions col­lab­o­ra­tively.

The topic of coun­cil amal­ga­ma­tion has been hotly dis­cussed this year fol­low­ing calls from Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Peter Gutwein sug­gest­ing Tas­man and Sorell coun­cils should merge for bet­ter eco­nomic and strate­gic ben­e­fit.

But Cr Trif­fitt con­ceded her meet­ing with Cr Evans was not to dis­cuss any talk of amal­ga­ma­tion, but for ways the com­mu­ni­ties could com­ple­ment each other.

One pro­posal was the de­vel­op­ment of a new bike track link­ing May­dena with Way­ati­nah.

“It’s early days yet, but the pos­si­bil­ity of work­ing together to es­tab­lish a new track be­tween the two re­gions was dis­cussed,” Cr Trif­fit said.

“The idea is for it to be an add-on to the May­dena track but more fam­ily friendly. I see the pro­posal as highly ben­e­fi­cial for the Cen­tral High­lands and some­thing that would cre­ate jobs.”

Cr Evans said the may­oral meet­ing was a pos­i­tive way to dis­cuss a range of is­sues re­lat­ing to both re­gions.

“The bike track pro­posal was put to the ta­ble and some­thing we’re both ad­vo­cat­ing for, but the meet­ing was used to dis­cuss a broad depth of ideas,” he said.

Also dis­cussed at the meet­ing was the Western Wilds project which pro­poses to give trav­ellers a slower-pace ex­plo­ration of the West Coast.

Cen­tral High­lands deputy gen­eral man­ager Adam Wil­son said both mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties would largely ben­e­fit from the project.

“The Der­went Val­ley and the Cen­tral High­lands are the gate­ways to the West Coast,” he said.

“Both re­gions would no doubt reap the re­wards from an ex­cit­ing ini­tia­tive like the Western Wilds,”

Des­ti­na­tion South­ern Tas­ma­nia CEO Alex Heroys said the West Coast project would of­fer ex­cit­ing tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties for both re­gions.

“The Cen­tral High­lands and Der­went Val­ley are crit­i­cal parts of the Western Wilds, with both re­gions hav­ing in­ter­est­ing sto­ries to tell,” he said.

“Wilder­ness ar­eas like Lake Ped­der and Strath­gor­don are fan­tas­tic parts of Tas­ma­nia that should be ex­plored.”

Last week Cr Evans weighed in on the coun­cil amal­ga­ma­tion de­bate, re­veal­ing his de­sire to see coun­cil merg­ers be de­cided by a pub­lic ref­er­en­dum.

But Cr Trif­fitt said she didn’t want the 29 coun­cils across Tas­ma­nia re­duced.

“It’s not some­thing I sup­port. If Cen­tral High­lands coun­cil amal­ga­mated we would have very lit­tle rep­re­sen­ta­tion from our re­gion,” she said.

“Fi­nan­cially we’re sit­ting com­fort­ably in re­la­tion to rate prices. If we amal­ga­mated with a re­gion not fi­nan­cially sta­ble that could be haz­ardous.”

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