Gympie Regional Council's Director of Planning and Development Gina Vereker. Her department received an
Gympie Regional Council's Director of Planning and Development Gina Vereker. Her department received an "avalanche” of constructive criticism at the June Chambers of Commerce meeting in Gympie.

'Difficult' council dept drew 'avalanche' of criticism

Regular business column from the Gympie Chamber of Commerce

IT IS hard to believe we find ourselves at the end of another financial year.

June 12 saw a fantastic meeting held by Gympie Regional Council and the combined Chambers.

READ MORE: Gympie businesses blast council "planning roadblock culture”

The meeting was an early look at the draft Economic Development plan for the next five years for our region.

Chamber of Commerce president Tony Goodman welcomes about 130 guests to the Chamber business breakfast, held at the Gympie Civic Centre.
Chamber of Commerce president Tony Goodman welcomed about 130 guests to the Chamber business breakfast, held at the Gympie Civic Centre. Arthur Gorrie

Around 130 people attended and heard from both Mayor Curran and the Economic Development team before opening the meeting for discussion.

Each table had a facilitator to collate feedback on what should be improved in council and the Economic Development plan. A selection of facilitators were then invited to summarise the feedback from their respective table.

The issues raised included:

the need for two separate plans for Economic Development and Tourism, and

availability of industrial land for progress.

However, the overwhelming point made by attendees of the meeting was the Gympie Regional Council Planning Department, and people's interactions with it.

An avalanche of constructive criticism came from all tables on how difficult the Planning Department was to deal with.

Since the meeting we have seen correspondence from Mayor Curran and the general public on what issues are under the control of Planning and the issues that are out of their hands.

Meeting chairman Chris Lhotka (left) with Cr Hilary Smerdon and Gympie Regional Council's Director of Planning and Development Gina Vereker.
Gympie Regional Council's Director of Planning and Development Gina Vereker. Her department received an "avalanche” of constructive criticism at the June Chambers of Commerce meeting in Gympie.

We have been given assurances the council is working to improve interactions with the public by the Planning Department. This is where massive steps forward can be taken.

Interactions with the public is an area that is well and truly in the control of GRC and according to the feedback this is where attention needs to be directed, rather urgently.

We really must applaud the GRC for opening themselves to some rather frank feedback and we look forward to continuing to work with them into the future.

The Chamber would like to congratulate the Bishop family for hosting a round of the MX Nationals on the weekend. This is a fantastic event for our region. For those that don't follow the Motocross, this is the equivalent of Gympie hosting a round of the V8 Supercars, it truly is that big of an achievement. No doubt there would have been enormous expense and many sleepless nights for the Bishop's in the lead up to the event and they deserve a massive pat on the back.

The Chamber's next event in Project Goldmine will be held at the Gympie RSL and the subject is how we can "bake a bigger economic pie". Our previous events have had a distinct, future planning slant but we can assure you this one will contain gold nuggets of information that you can put into play in your business straight away.

We hope you have had a great FY19 and FY20 is looking even better. See you at the RSL in July.