A bit of imagination

A couple of months ago I bought into the Maryborough vs Hervey Bay debate on the Fraser Coast Chronicle’s website. I have to admit however, I can’t even remember the issue under discussion. Traditionally I avoid comments on online news sites as so often they’re full of parochial regulars who can be exceptionally nasty.

I’ve rarely commented myself. I was a government employee for yonks so didn’t feel I could back then and only now I’ve left a comment if I feel particularly chagrined or passionate (which is rare).

In my comment I said I thought it was fair that I buy into the Mbro vs Bay argument, having grown up in Maryborough (until heading off to Uni at 17 years of age) and coming back here to work in the Maryborough Council for a few years; before eventually returning to live in Hervey Bay last year.

I won’t go into my thoughts here, but… I can kinda see both sides and with a foot in each camp I understand everyone’s frustration.

Having said that, I have to admit I find it very confronting to head into the Maryborough CBD. The empty shops and lack of vibrancy is palpable. It wasn’t a thriving metropolis when I was a youngster back in the 70s and 80s, but it was ‘town’ and a place to go.

I know that many blame the advent of shopping centres for the death of the CBD itself, but I’d like to think there’s some way ‘we’ could all live in harmony.

I loved today’s piece by the Chronicle’s new Editor John Grey (recently returned after many years away), who sees Maryborough’s potential.

Like John I find the Gatakers Precinct impressive. I attended the recent Relish Food and Wine Festival and several of the Mary Poppins Festival activities. It occurs to me that there’s some life left in the old girl yet.

“Imagine this city” is the Fraser Coast Council’s initiative to give Maryboroughites and others, a chance to have a say in the town’s future. As I understand it, Council’s in the midst of developing its 2013-2018 Strategic Plan and this is YOUR / OUR opportunity to inform that process.

Check out the consultation process and downloadable survey here, or head along to the workshop this coming Wednesday in the City Hall. (Note that RSVPs are required.)

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I have worked in community development, community engagement, regional development, local government and planning services agencies and roles, but I have no answers. Others might. And, it will be interesting to know what ideas and suggestions people might actually have.

I don’t mean to be rude, but I say the same thing to my mother if / when she ever groans about stuff happening / not happening. Put up or shut up. I know that our voices are not always (or often) heeded and then there are the squeaky wheels… yadda yadda yadda; but it’s harder to complain about an outcome if you don’t even try.

I’m thinking of heading along to the session of Wednesday, so perhaps I’ll see you, or hear from you, there.

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