Miriam Vale Shire esidents raise concerns

By LEE McIVORlmcivor@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org

COMMUNITY groups and representatives turned out in force to discuss issues dear to their hearts at the Miriam Vale Shire Council community forum at the weekend.

About 70 people representing Lions clubs, the SES, Baffle Creek community groups, Rosedale, Lowmead, Captains Creek and 1770 took part in the day long forum to discuss issues they wanted council to resolve.

Mayor Tom Jeffery and CEO Greg Powell said they were pleased with the response to the forum.

"Quite a few of the smaller issues council is well down the track to resolving but there are others that are a real challenge to address and will require more work from council,'' Mayor Jeffery stated.

Listed below are some of the concerns raised:

Aquatic Centre at Agnes Water BARBARA Koffman from the Discovery Coast Swim Committee questioned council over the lack of support for the construction of a swimming pool at Agnes Water.

Ms Koffman said that 98 per cent of shires with the same population level had a swimming pool partly funded by council.

Mayor Tom Jeffery said the building of a public pool within the shire was a major challenge for council and something which they would not be able to consider for quite a while. Captain Creek rural fire brigade

A delegation of seven blacklisted firefighters presented council with three volumes of information relating to the alleged fraud of $38,000 from Captain Creek brigade during a two to three year period.

Spokesperson for the blacklisted firefighters Elena Garcia asked council to instigate a formal complaint to the Queensland Rural Fire Service to allow police to investigate the fraud allegations.

Ms Garcia presented three volumes of material relating to the alleged fraud to council.

Mayor Tom Jeffery refused to comment on the situation and thanked Ms Garcia for her presentation. Rates request RESIDENTS from 1770 were clear in their request ? reduce the amount of their rates.

Christine Tyson representing the 1770 Action Group demanded council put in place an equitable rate system.

Ms Tyson told the meeting rates in some areas of the shire had increased by more than 100 per cent.

Ms Tyson said her own rates had increased from $2300 to over $4500 in one year.

"Every rate payer is entitled to the same level of service, regardless of how much they pay in rates.

"Rates shouldn't be a tax on the value of the property,'' she told the meeting.

The 1770 Action Group hired a consultant from Bundaberg to come up with an equitable model and this was presented to council last year.

Ms Tyson commended council on implementing some of the recommendations but said council had not gone far enough.

SES levy JON Brown from the Miriam Vale SES asked council to implement an emergency services levy of $12 to assist the SES in acquiring the necessary equipment it needed to provide an adequate service.

Mr Brown said the service was severely under-resourced and under-funded.

He asked council to conduct a survey to assess the community response to such a levy.

"Gladstone (City Council) are looking at implementing a similar levy and seem quite keen to have get one in place,'' he said.

Baffle Creek SEVERAL Baffle Creek groups took to the floor to canvas issues such as the approval for a community centre to be built in the commercial precinct.

Kevin Grace, from the residents and ratepayers association, said the group had been trying for four years to get the backing of council for a community centre in the region.

Mr Grace called on council to support the creation of the centre.

Mark Driscoll, from the catchment management group, told the meeting Baffle Creek had been identified as one of the last wild rivers in the state and called on council to have the creek designated as a river.

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