Mayors talk about regional synergies
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.”