Monster 1800ha industrial park not right for pristine Valley
GYMPIE councillor and mayoral candidate Glen Hartwig yesterday censured the proposal for an 1800ha industrial park south of Gympie as a waste of good quality land much better suited to rural residential development or ecological tourism.
Developing the industrial park north of Gympie, close to the new four-lane Bruce Hwy Bypass and railway line made much more sense, he said.
"The announcement last week of the Mayor's idea for a large industrial estate in the flood plains of the Mary River shows, I believe, a real lack of understanding of the needs in Gympie,” Cr Hartwig said.
"When people look at the area suggested, one sees that it is subject to massive areas of Q100 flooding, has steep gradients, is prime agricultural land and is perfectly suited for the rural residential eco tourism industry.
"Just a few reasons why, I feel, this announcement lacks intelligent understanding of what is best for Gympie.
"An industrial estate in the Mary Valley area does not stack up environmentally either.
"I have been pushing for a large industrial estate for years and it's great to see the Mayor acknowledging the need however, wrong location.
"Areas north of Gympie have land with lower agricultural value, minimal gradient concerns or issues, is suited to industry as it ties in with the four lane highway and rail line and is situated to benefit Gympie residents and businesses.
"Mayor Curran's announcement for the industrial estate seems to be an echo of the Rattler debacle in my opinion, no thought, no plan, just throw money at anything to get re-elected.
"As they say 'Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me'.”
Cr Hartwig said Gympie's future lay in developing opportunities for industry to come to the region and prosper.
"Industrial land north of Gympie locates the businesses close to the four lane highway and rail line,” he said.
"The flatter land which is less susceptible to flooding makes development cheaper, more affordable and gives the occupants all weather access unhindered by flood events, something the Mary Valley cannot provide.
"To grow Gympie we need to locate industrial land in areas that encourage people to live, build homes and spend their money in Gympie.”
Cr Hartwig also took the opportunity to again reject moves within the council to discredit him.
"A lot has been said about the MPI issue,” he said.
"The facts are that twice the Mayor and all councillors voted for me to stay and vote on Rattler matters when I had declared a perceived conflict of interest.
"They endorsed and declared that I had a perceived conflict of interest. Now some contradict themselves and change their mind?
"I made this declaration on advice received from the Integrity Commisioner, someone who I believe knows more than Mr Jerome or the Mayor on these matters.
"The fact that the Mayor and his team have suddenly decided this matter is now an MPI, only after I announce my intention to run for Mayor, in my opinion is clear evidence that it was a political move and nothing else.”