Holding the controversy at bay while we get on with business

The 2013 Council year has kicked off with controversy as we discuss circus animals, fluoridation, sun protection, and ice cream vans.

Yes, Ice Cream Vans! Apparently our local laws restrict Ice Cream Vans from operating 500 metres from any establishment that sells a “similar product” and itinerant vendors are up in arms. What is “similar product”? Can the average punter tell the difference between the silky smooth taste of fresh soft-serve compared to stick-mounted ice confection? Evidently, the job of your local Councillor is diverse and interesting, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Removing tongue from cheek, I’m really excited about 2013 as a year that begins to deliver some of our plans for the area. I can report that negotiations between Council and advocates of a Mudgeeraba Country Music Festival are drawing to a close. October 2013 we hope to see the first of many events driven by a team that includes the Mudgeeraba Chamber of Commerce, experienced event managers from our area, and a passionate Country Music Association.

Our community calendar is coming together as we seek the advice of the many community groups in our area who plan to run events in our area this year. Please let us know if you have an event you’d like us to add to the list.

Street Meets are continuing this year with several planned for coming months either run independently or in conjunction with other events. The next is Pioneer Downs (Worongary/Gilston/Tallai) on 23rd February from 10am to 2pm at the park on Vince Hinde Drive. This event will be followed by an event for West Mudgeeraba/Tallai/Austinville residents on March 24th, the Mudgeeraba Street Party on April 21st, an event yet to be finalised in Springbrook in May and then a presence at the Mudgeeraba Show in June. Of course, residents are always welcome in my Swan Lane office, and between 9am and 11am most Tuesdays I set aside 15 minute slots for residents wishing to discuss personal matters.

I’m pleased to announce that local resident Peter Franklin was nominated for a 2012 Citizen of the Year award. I was so proud to hear his name called at Council’s Australia Day Awards Breakfast, representing Division 9, and recalled his face popping up at many community meetings across our area. It’s residents like Peter that keep our community vibrant and active. Those who volunteer selflessly like Peter deserve a pat on the back and, frankly, a bit of support so get your hands dirty this year by joining one of our many community groups. As a newer member I can personally recommend the Lions Club of Mudgeeraba but many groups work tirelessly across our region so drop in to my office for advice about which group is right for your interests. My Community Development Officer, Chantelle, can be contacted on 5581 7328 if you’d like to volunteer.

Getting back to controversy, several councillors are working on a review of our rating structure to deliver better outcomes for residents and more clarity when it comes to calculating our obligations. I’m doing my best to stay abreast of these proposals, whilst formulating my own proposal, in the interest of division 9 residents and the greater Gold Coast. I know water rates and property rates are front of mind for many of you so stay tuned as the coming months see me address this and discuss options with residents. As many of you already know, I’m not in favour of transferring the rating burden for property owners of vertical strata to the general ratepayer (removing the view tax) unless the outcome can be shown to benefit the majority and balance some inequality I’m unaware of. Frankly, I believe the focus of Council and Councillors should be maintaining services while finding operational savings that can be injected into projects driving the economy of the Gold Coast or returned to the ratepayer in the form of rating relief and debt reduction.

Thanks again for your ongoing support and contact me in my office on (07) 5581 1883 if you’d like to discuss a matter affecting your neighbourhood.

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