42012Sep

Three big projects I’ll be fighting for in our area

I find the strategic community planning necessary in the role of Councillor so very engaging. The idea that the concepts we advocate can shape the future of our community for my children is exciting.

Of course, it’s always a challenge when planning and negotiating with influential stakeholders, whether landowners, community group leaders or internal staff. With large projects this takes a form quite complex and not only the tangible variables (available land, construction costs, time) must be considered but those of a more intangible nature take an influential role. What if one community group would be expected to share space with another, but they have a “Montague/Capulet”-type history that is problematic? What if a landholder belongs to a family allegedly wronged by the government or Council 100 years ago, and the generational chinese whispers have evolved to a point where suspicion rules every interaction? What if the plans a council officer held dear for a parcel of land, and vaguely legislated the protection of, are wholly contrary to what the new administration feels is best for the community?

The drama, at times, can be unbearable.

Notwithstanding the potential dramas, and complex variables, it’s critical we set out with a plan even if aspirational in nature. In the first 100 days of office it’s become evident that certain individuals in the community have some phenonenal ideas that, if they materialise, could play a significant role in shaping our local village, the villages of the greater division, and perhaps the whole city.

Here’s three of the best, plus three extras for good measure;

“In a perfect world…” – the best outcome it might even be impractical to hope for, but would be fantastic.

“We can only hope…” – an achievable outcome, if our metaphorical ducks line up.

“I’d settle for…” – I reckon we can attain this outcome, and it’d still be a great win.

Idea #1 – A Mudgeeraba Country Music Festival for Emerging Artists

Mudgeeraba has always had that country atmosphere that the locals love. With one of the largest agricultural shows in South East Queensland held in June each year and a vibrant community of rural landowners, the stars are aligned for country music lovers. All we’d need would be an active country music association and an experienced music promoter…. hang on…. we’ve got those too. Surely we can make this happen!

“In a perfect world” – A week-long event held in the bars and restaurants of Mudgeeraba Village, with a marquee main event held in the showgrounds. A variety of local and interstate emerging and experienced artists travelling to our area for a chance to play at the Broadbeach Country Music Festival or perhaps even at Tamworth. The perfect world includes the sultry sounds of country artists emanating from the Woodchoppers Inn, the Wallaby Hotel, the Wine Barrel, the Memorial Hall, even Cafe Cino or the Uniting Church Chapel, throughout the week, activating the venues and showcasing their excellent food and service while punters are entertained by the “next big thing”.

“We can only hope” – A three day event over a weekend showcasing the above and forming part of an active calendar of events for the area

“I’d settle for…” – A one night event at the showground.

We do have the capability to deliver our perfect world scenario if community groups, Council, and businesses can work together for this concept. Plans are already in play thanks to the hard work of a number of people, and the support of the Mudgeeraba Chamber of Commerce, who I’m pleased to say have been driving the idea since it’s inception. I encourage you to get on board as these plans evolve.

Idea #2 – An Equestrian Centre for Mudgeeraba

Equine interest groups are extremely active in Division 9 and a week would not go by where I do not recieve some sort of request for improved facilities and infrastructure for horse lovers. There also exists a troubling past throughout the city, not just in division 9, where facilties and land set aside for the long-term use of these equine community groups are ultimately re-purposed for other groups while horses are moved further west. Unfortunately, the further west the more undulating the territory and the more susceptible to rainfall implications and localised flooding. There is a shortage of land, and it’s offered for sale at a premium. However, our area is prime for such activity and I’m confident we can find a solution with some clever negotiations for win-win outcomes.

“In a perfect world…” – A State-of-the-Art Equestrian Centre, 5-10 minutes from the M1 Motorway, suitable for major events for multiple types of equestrian activity including Polocrosse, Dressage, Showjumping, Rodeo, Lighthorse displays, and any number of other modes. Funded in partnership with the private sector and other levels of government, we deliver a legacy piece of infrastructure that can serve the Gold Coast for the next 50 years.

“We can only hope…”  – A Regional Equestrian Facility used for local and state events that the Gold Coast can be proud of. A Council project, perhaps in partnership with a private sector contributor or the state government, that can be included in our budget as a key component of the capital works plan during this term.

“I’d settle for…” – A new home for NADEC, Mudgeeraba Pony & Hack Club, and the Gold Coast Polocrosse Club. A simple facility that can be their home where at least a few of the fields are above of the flood-risk area and a shared lease arrangement can solve the accommodation issues we’ve endured over the past 10 years.

I’ve commenced negotations with landholders, community groups and Council officers who understand the needs of these groups. I’m confident we can attain a satisfactory outcome, if not an ideal one, if the planning scheme review can be flexible enough to cater for the changing community in the area and the future needs of this important interest group. I’m seeking the ongoing support and input of interested groups and parties who are committed to seeing the ideal outcome realised.

Idea #3 – Reasonable Accommodation within 5 minutes of Mudgeeraba Village

Did you know the Mudgeeraba Show saw 40,000 guests visit our wonderful area over their weekend in June? Did you know that Somerset Festival of Literature had 15,000 patrons of school age and above during their 19th annual event. Did you know that Springbrook sees some 300,000 visitors each year, all keen to experience the unique environment our World Heritage listed areas offer? Even the local Baptist Church recently held a weekend event hosting 200 women from all over South East Queensland. Evidently we have some marquee events, and smaller events, that could utlise local accommodation but visitors to our region have no choice but to stay in Burleigh, Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise, Coolangatta or other areas of the Coast. This has a profound impact on the patronage of our local restaurants, and ultimately the economic success of the events we host in the area. With our village 15 minutes drive to an international airport, 25 minutes drive to World Heritage listed rainforest, 5 minutes to a choice of two train stations and one of the largest shopping centres on the Gold Coast in Robina Town Centre, and a short 10 minutes to the beautiful white beaches our city is so well-known for. Surely these variables compel an accommodation supplier to consider developing a property nearby.

“In a perfect world…” – A 100 room residential conference centre integrated with a Science and Techonology themed tourist attraction on a prominent parcel of land accessible to the M1. Ideally, a 4 star facility designed appropriately to align with wetland environment (if that were the hypothetical characteristics of the land parcel) and the heritage architecture and theming of our current village. Employers of 200+ staff, the facility would drive economic growth in our village, provide an impetus to attract greater visitor numbers to the Mudgeeraba area, and act as a hub to connect the Hinterland to the Beach in our central location. The tourist facility would be similar in style to Questacon in Canberra, outlining the most current research of our universities and educating school groups and tourists alike about the “brains” of the Gold Coast, and the ecological beauty of our Hinterland. The accommodation would be the primary choice of visitors to the many events we host in the area, whether the Mudgeeraba Show, The Somerset Literary Festival, Equestrian events at our new centre, or the Country Music Festival we are advocating.  

“We can only hope…” – A 30-50 room 3 star motel or similar ideal for families visiting the area and looking for a central location on the Gold Coast from which to base their independent travels.

“I’d settle for…” – Some accommodation in Robina, accessible by a 5 minute taxi or bus ride, suitable for the many visitors to our region who want to patronise our great restaurant venues but find a prohibitive taxi fare a frustrating end to a lovely evening in Mudgeeraba.

Three additional projects that could add great value to our area include;

– Integrated Community Building/Planning at Pacific View Estate – With the State Government having designated “Major Project” status to the proposed development on Spiney Bob’s old land, we’re now committed to delivering the best practical outcome for the existing community within the 15 year plan for that area. Transport in particular is a key imperative for the community with a unique opportunity working with only the one developer over some 400 hectares (give or take) to deliver efficient active transport planning solutions. Green bridges, bikeways, paths, community buses, and a localised village for work and play are all priorities.

– Tourism App for Mobile Devices for Springbrook – Visitors to Springbrook are often confused, uninformed, and under serviced when planning their trip to our World Heritage listed areas that form such a critical part of the “green behind the gold”. We’re in talks with a number of app developers who hope to enhance the visitor experience by connecting them to the key natural features of the area, while directing them to the local coffee shop or cafe, or accommodation supplier on the mountain.

– The Division 9 Community Calendar – Finally, a robust community calendar, informing residents of ongoing social activities and community events being held, is an important component of connecting the community spirit of pioneering families to new families who identified Division 9 as the ideal place to raise their families. Inter-generational, and addressing all sorts of itnerests, the community calendar will be a valuable resource for residents, businesses and community groups planning their years activities in advance while also offering a quick reference guide for what’s on in the area when an socially empty weekend arrives.

As always, I encourage feedback from all of the community and welcome residents to our next Street Meets, being held September 29 in Gilston and November 17 in Bonogin Valley. Get involved in your community and be a part of shaping the future as we plan to maintain Mudgeeraba, Highland Park and the Hinterland as a great place to live, visit and run a business.

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