Res­i­dents give their opin­ion on the Eco­nomic and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Plan:

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - Alexia Austin Alexia.Austin@west­ern­starnews.com

RES­I­DENTS were in­vited to have their say on is­sues af­fect­ing the com­mu­nity at an Eco­nomic and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Plan draft meet­ing held at Ex­plor­ers Inn on Fri­day morning.

The draft was split into seven sub­cat­e­gories, each al­lo­cated to one table, and opened for pub­lic consultation, with coun­cil­lors and staff on hand to field the com­ments.

Posters of the strat­egy lined the walls of the Le­ich­hardt room, with pens at their base al­low­ing for notes and com­ments to be added by guests on each pro­posal.

Res­i­dents were quick to ex­plore a range of controversial is­sues, in­clud­ing the sa­le­yards ex­pan­sions and the fund­ing and sup­port is­sues of smaller com­mu­nity groups.

Busi­ness­man Steve Mer­rick jumped straight to the heart of an is­sue on the minds of many, “semi-per­ma­nent work­ers’ camps”, hous­ing CSG work­ers who could con­trib­ute to towns in the area.

“If some of the work­ers’ camps were to close down, it would be a huge gain to the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion in the Mara­noa.

“We have hun­dreds of houses that are un­tenanted, mo­tels that have 30–40 per cent oc­cu­pancy rates and a main street that’s near empty.

“If you close the camps down, you’ll bring the work­ers into town, which is what we need.”

This meet­ing was the first of many, as coun­cil­lors travel across the Mara­noa to dis­cuss plans for each town.

On com­ple­tion, the plan will guide coun­cils ac­tions in the ar­eas of in­dus­try, tourism, arts, cul­ture, sport and re­cre­ation over the fol­low­ing five years.

The next Roma draft meet­ing is to be held on Mon­day Novem­ber 20, from 4.30pm at the Ex­plorer’s func­tion cen­tre.

PHOTO: ALEXIA AUSTIN

VOIC­ING OPIN­IONS: Res­i­dents moved around the ta­bles, each rep­re­sent­ing a cat­e­gory, to pro­vide their views to coun­cil mem­bers re­gard­ing the Eco­nomic and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Plan.

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