De-amalgamation back on agenda
IF WHITSUNDAY Regional Council doesn't make a wholehearted effort, it may as well forget the next four years.
That is how mayor Jennifer Whitney summed up her appeal for unity at last week's council meeting where de-amalgamation was discussed.
On May 14, the Collinsville-based organisation "Mining Communities United Inc" penned a letter to council on behalf of the ratepayers of Collinsville and Scotville asking that de-amalgamation be discussed. At last week's council meeting, Division 4 councillor and deputy mayor Peter Ramage made an impassioned speech in favour of his constituent's wishes. Cr Ramage said the old shires had little in common and that de-amalgamation of the Whitsunday Regional Council was of paramount importance.
"Regardless of mayor Whitney's stated aim of unification, there will always be a 'them and us' mentality, not just in council, but from factional elements active outside the council, throughout the shire, pushing their own agendas to the detriment and frustration of any elected council, both past and future," Cr Ramage said.
"Looking to the future, there is definitely enough planned activity in the Bowen-Collinsville region to warrant reverting to the status quo existing prior to amalgamation and not to have our fate determined by any influential tourist operator from Airlie Beach. Conversely that same tourist operator could no doubt use a similar argument in reverse," he said.
Cr Whitney, whose mantra is "One Region" said de-amalgamation was not financially viable.
"It's not that it can't happen - it's that we can't financially support it given the level of debt we've just entered into for two water and sewage treatment plants," Cr Whitney said.
"I honestly believe we've come too far to go back now and I don't think it should even be on the radar," she said.