Miriam Vale residents fear council plan will kill their town
THE people of Miriam Vale say their town could die and Gladstone Regional Council is a big part of the problem.
On the council drawing board is a new design plan for the old town centre, rearranging infrastructure and parking, and locals believe the changes could mean the end of a town already struggling.
Long-term Miriam Vale resident and former MV businessman Lex Milliner said the changes could turn travellers away, sending the lifeblood of businesses somewhere else.
"Most highway towns encourage people to take a break there," Mr Milliner said.
"This new plan takes away convenient parking for caravans and motorhomes and puts out the message 'we don't want you'.
"Businesses depend on this traffic - visitors pulling up and having a cup of coffee or a meal at a cafe or the pub."
Mr Milliner said local community groups had been liaising with the previous council and more recently the Gladstone Regional Council on beautification and refurbishment of the town centre.
"The community spent between $20,000 and $50,000 developing a plan to encourage people back to the town," he said. "That was tossed aside; they (the council) won't even look at it or consider the town's point of view."
GRC Mayor Gail Sellers said council officers held a planning/design workshop with business owners in September to work through the concerns of the general community in Miriam Vale.
"The workshop was a successful evening with three designs developed by business owners. The revised concept landscape design incorporates features and requests that were raised during the workshop," she said.
The plan was hatched with no real consultation and it won't work. It will be way too expensive and will choke the centre of the town.
Miriam Vale Lions Club president and former Miriam Vale shire councillor Greg Realf said the community was angry over the lack of consultation and the stupidity of a council plan which would cost much more than their original ideas and could sound the death-knell of what was once a booming regional centre.
"The people of this town have worked so hard over many years to keep this place alive and to have this forced on us is just ridiculous,'' Mr Realf said.
"The plan was hatched with no real consultation and it won't work. It will be way too expensive and will choke the centre of the town.
"Visitors want to be able to pull up in a nice shady place, like there is now, and go to the shops and still see their vehicles.
"They'll keep going... it'll kill the joint.''
Mr Realf said treatment of the community by the council had raised the ire of many who were normally reticent to speak out.
Miriam Vale ratepayer and 30-year plus resident Larry Halbert said he was one of many in the town who had been compelled to speak out over the treatment of the town by the Gladstone Regional Council and its new plan for the town centre.
"The proposed (council) plan would have to be the biggest waste of ratepayers' money I have seen," Mr Halbert said.
"I have spoken to a few of the business owners and quite a few ratepayers with similar views."