Royal visit will bolster spirits after disaster
IT was 40 years ago that North Queensland last tasted British royalty when Queen Elizabeth II came to Townsville to open James Cook University. Now, this month, the future King of England, Prince William, will visit our region to inspect the damage, and those affected by Cyclone Yasi. It will be a big few days for Queensland as Prince William also takes in areas around Toowoomba and Brisbane, so badly affected by lethal floods. Prince William will travel without his fiancee Kate Middleton, firstly visiting New Zealand to honour those affected by the Christchurch earthquake and the site of the Greymouth mining disaster. He is expected in Queensland on March 19, spending two days here before heading to Victoria to see communities affected by flooding. The people of towns such as Ingham, Cardwell, Mission Beach, Tully and Innisfail have been devastated by Yasi and many continue to struggle emotionally and financially. On top of the destruction caused by Yasi, these townships are now being crippled by flooding after heavy rainfall in recent days. There is also the lurking possibility of another late season cyclone or tropical low, which would be another cruel blow to Yasi victims as they struggle to rebuild their lives. Prince William’s visit will be timely and appreciated. It is sure to bolster the spirits of those affected. Over the past two weeks, senior staff from the Townsville Bulletin, Cairns Post, Herbert River Express and Innisfail Advocate have been combing through scores of applications for $ 250,000 in sports and community grants to help these towns get back on their feet. The devastation and impact is beyond comprehension. Smaller townships will take years to recover. Let’s hope Prince William’s visit can at least add a little bit of joy to these people’s lives.
IBM connection a winner
TOWNSVILLE has beaten a swag of international cities to be part of a program pioneered by global technology giant IBM, aimed at improving the city’s environmental credentials. In a coup for Townsville City Council, being part of the Smarter Cities Challenge will give civic leaders access to IBM’s top experts to analyse and recommend ways to support the city’s existing sustainable initiatives. The objective is to connect to the community in new ways to make Townsville a world leader in providing smarter solutions to environmental change. It’s unquestionably the way of the future and with the involvement of IBM it’s a great step in the right direction for North Queensland.