CQUniversity PhD student Paola Rodriguez Salinas is asking Gladstone locals how they feel about the local environment.
CQUniversity PhD student Paola Rodriguez Salinas is asking Gladstone locals how they feel about the local environment. Contributed

Chance for locals to air views on Gladstone

IT has spent four years making national headlines, and everyone from resource companies to politicians and even the United Nations has weighed into the debate.

But now a CQUniversity researcher is asking locals about Gladstone's environment - and more importantly, how it makes them feel.

PhD student Paola Rodriguez Salinas said her three-year research project was designed to get a bigger picture of Gladstone's environment, that captures more than just the controversy.

The comprehensive survey gives locals a chance to point out favourite spots on a map of the region, as well as rate their feelings about the condition of the environment, economic development, and historic, cultural and personal value of natural assets.

Paola, originally from Mexico, arrived in Gladstone 18 months ago, and immediately noticed the fiery debate about the local environment.

"The national and even international focus on the Port of Gladstone I think made a lot of local people quite passionate, and I especially noticed the feeling that the discussion was about them, but not with them," Paola said.

"Up until now, the reviews and surveys have only asked what locals think about industrial development - I want to understand how they feel about their whole environment."

Survey respondents don't need to have a strong view on the environment, or to have followed every story in the Port of Gladstone controversy.

And while the survey will capture whether respondents are life-long locals or recent arrivals, Paola said it was important that a wide range of residents had a say.

"People whose families have been here for generations will obviously have a greater understanding of the history of Gladstone's environment," Paola said.

"But in the time I've been here, I've been discovering so much about what's on offer around Gladstone. I think that fresh view is also really crucial to the discussion."

Paola already holds a Masters in Coastal Management, and her PhD research is a three-year project.

She has already interviewed government, industry, tourism and business representatives, and looks forward to meeting people from every part of Gladstone's community.

The survey is open until December, and can be completed face-to-face, or online.

To book a research interview, phone Paola on 4970 7233 or visit goo.gl/Qbr1pM to take the survey online.

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