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Mayor Kristel focuses on arts, not just industry

Kristel Kelly would love to be the mayor for a day.
Kristel Kelly would love to be the mayor for a day. Brenda Strong

GLADSTONE would have a new arts festival, vegetable gardens would be grown in vacant lots, and community organisations would be supported by a Gladstone Regional Council trust fund if Kristel Kelly was mayor.

"A lot of focus is on industry because that's where the money comes from, but there's a great diversity of talent and ability here that we can showcase to Australia," she said.

The Rio Tinto Alcan Martin Hanson Memorial Art Awards attract international interest and would form a strong starting point for a new festival, she said.

Ms Kelly is passionate about community arts, which she said involve more Gladstonites than people thought.

For example, the free Queensland Music Festival performances of Boomtown last year were 18 months in the planning, and took hundreds of people to organise.

"It's only when you see the results of their work, that you realise how much has gone into it," she said.

"A lot of people were very impressed and surprised that this would happen in Gladstone, but there were actually hundreds of people quietly beavering away."

Ms Kelly said Gladstone was a lot more progressive than people thought.

"Negative voices are very loud in this town but there are a lot of people who are quietly working away to get things done," she said.

Ms Kelly supports current initiatives to create more spaces for people to spend time with each other.

She said the aquatic centre, where the Animating Spaces Gladstone Frolic is creating an artist-designed youth space, is an example.

Gladstone needed more public space like this for families, and vacant lots that were currently an eyesore could be utilised, she said.

"There are a lot of empty spaces that could be utilised for vegie gardens, playgrounds and that kind of thing," said Ms Kelly.

"An empty block can be utilised by people in that neighbourhood to get people together and grow vegetables.

"It gets them chatting, and it's good for neighbourhood security, because if they don't come out for three days to water their tomatoes, you're likely to notice."

Gladstone's community organisations are also important to Ms Kelly.

As mayor she would establish a trust fund to help sustain community organisations such as the Gladstone Women's Health Centre and Gladstone Community Hub.

Topics:  arts, community, gladstone, if i was mayor




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