READY FOR THE CHALLENGE: Al Grundy has put his hand up for the Division 2 seat in the upcoming Whitsunday Regional Council elections. Picture: GW3
READY FOR THE CHALLENGE: Al Grundy has put his hand up for the Division 2 seat in the upcoming Whitsunday Regional Council elections. Picture: GW3

Familiar face puts hand up for Division 2

AL GRUNDY has worn many hats in the community, including marketing manager of Explore Whitsundays, executive officer of Tourism Whitsundays and, more recently, director of Greater Whitsunday Alliance.

Now Mr Grundy hopes to add another to his collection after putting his hand up for the Division 2 seat in the upcoming council election.

A long-time Whitsunday resident, Mr Grundy said he was impressed by the work the council had done and hoped he could use his experience in the tourism and economic sector to help continue to grow the region.

"I see this an as opportunity to still work with the economic development focus of the region but with my tourism hat on as well," he said.

"A big part of what I believe in is to innovate and value add, so look at what we do well at the moment and look at ways to add value to this.

"For example, if I'm talking about agriculture and produce, rather than just growing the tomatoes we find a way of making the salsa and exporting the salsa.

"You can apply that to all the pillars of our economy … looking at how we innovate to create jobs for the future and understanding changes in global market."

Mr Grundy said a large part of his focus, if elected, would be ensuring Division 2 and the whole of the Whitsundays was "as liveable as it can be" in terms of water, roads and rubbish.

He also hoped that his experience working across many boards would help him identify what the community wanted and how he could best deliver results with collaboration from council and executives.

"I see (councillors) very much as almost being board members and the mayor as a chairman and we're running to build strategy to guide the council," he said.

"And boards are strategic in their roles in that they direct strategy, future development and plans and when there are challenges they're at the forefront of these challenges.

"Because I've been on board of Tourism Whitsundays for 10 years and chairman for three years, I've made all these incredible connections with government departments and ministers.

"I think that gives me a hand and will help us as we seek opportunities or hit speed bumps along the road.

"I also believe I'm pretty pragmatic and when I say that I mean that I'm a good listener and try to get a balanced view before I make a decision myself on what's best, but I'll always go with what the majority wants."

Beyond his work on tourism and economic boards, Mr Grundy has also taken a particular interest in the conservation and preservation of the reef which he believed could be used to strengthen industry, create jobs and further lift the region's status on a global scale.

"One of the things that I hold in my heart, which goes back to the tourism portfolio, is I want us to be the centre of excellence for inshore reefs and inshore reefs management globally," he said.

"The process of economic development is not only sustaining our current industries that drive the local economy, it's also what we are doing in the future to innovate and value add.

"Tourism is adapting to a changing climate at the moment, we're making changes to our products and adapting to a global market."

Mr Grundy hoped he could continue his role in serving the community through the new avenue of council and, while he said the process was "nerve wracking", he looked forward to a new challenge.

"It'd be awesome to serve the people because I really love volunteering and it's an extension of that," he said.

Mr Grundy will be running for the seat currently held by Ron Petterson.

Heidi Ward also announced her intention to run for the Division 2 seat.

The Whitsunday Regional Council election will be held on March 28.

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