Businesses blast council 'planning roadblock culture'
AN ALLEGEDLY 'obstructive' council planning culture was the most widely perceived threat to Gympie Region's economic future, when business leaders had their say yesterday.
Gympie Chamber of Commerce president Tony Goodman welcomed more than 130 people to a business breakfast organised jointly by Gympie Regional Council and the region's chambers of commerce, from Imbil to Rainbow Beach.
Obstructive planning responses were raised as a leading concern by participants at every table at the function, which included workshop sessions to obtain feedback from the community.
Mayor Mick Curran, Economic Development portfolio councillor Glen Hartwig and community services director Pauline Gordon spoke of the importance of a robust consultation process.
Cr Curran told the breakfast there would be further consultation to come before the plan was finally published in its final form.
This was important, he said, to make sure "we get it right.”
He also backed Gympie's involvement in the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils, which he said made Gympie a substantial fish in a smaller pond.
Many thought the region should identify more with the fast-growing sunshine Coast Region, but Cr Curran said Gympie would benefit anyway from its association with the Coast.
Digital connectivity and continuously improving road networks, including the Gympie Bruce Highway bypass, were also vitally important to future prosperity for the whole Wide Bay Burnett Region, attendees said.
Community Services director Pauline Gordon was upbeat about vigorous participation at the breakfast meeting.