OUR CHOICE: Commercial fisherman Kevin Watson is the recipient of Gladstone Regional Council's Citizen of the Year award, presented at the 2018 Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony held at the Gladstone Entertainment and Convention Centre on January 25.
OUR CHOICE: Commercial fisherman Kevin Watson is the recipient of Gladstone Regional Council's Citizen of the Year award, presented at the 2018 Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony held at the Gladstone Entertainment and Convention Centre on January 25. Matt Taylor GLA250118AUSD

Winner airs his safety concerns

COMMERCIAL fisherman Kevin Watson has added his voice to the chorus of people calling for Round Hill Creek to be fixed.

Speaking after being awarded Gladstone Regional Council's 2018 Citizen of the Year title, Mr Watson cited safety as the number one reason for action on the project.

The sandbar has been a hot topic for locals in Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy, with many residents saying it will take a fatality before action is taken to see the problematic area fixed.

"Unfortunately we're having problems with our access getting out to sea,” Mr Watson said.

"We are having problems with the bar and we definitely need that dredged.

"It's a safety issue now and, if we can't get out to rescue people in emergencies, then we need that sorted pretty quick.”

Commercial Fisherman Kevin Watson was the recipient of Gladstone Regional Council's Citizen of the Year award, at the 2018 Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony, held at the Gladstone Entertainment and Convention Centre on January 25, 2018.
Commercial Fisherman Kevin Watson was the recipient of Gladstone Regional Council's Citizen of the Year award, at the 2018 Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony, held at the Gladstone Entertainment and Convention Centre on January 25, 2018. Matt Taylor GLA250118AUSD

The humble commercial fisherman said he was shocked to find out he had won the award Citizen of the Year at the council's Australia Day Awards on Thursday night.

"Shock, really, only because there are a lot of people in the community who put in the effort,” Mr Watson said.

"There are people behind the scenes that aren't recognised for the work they do.

"It's just a shame that it takes tragedies in communities before people come together and put in the effort.”

Living a life at sea, Mr Watson is often called upon to assist in emergency situations because of his extensive knowledge of waterways in the area.

It is his help during tragedies like the sinking of the Dianne late last year that has seen him recognised for his community service.

Commercial Fisherman Kevin Watson was the recipient of Gladstone Regional Council's Citizen of the Year award, at the 2018 Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony, held at the Gladstone Entertainment and Convention Centre on January 25, 2018.
Commercial Fisherman Kevin Watson was the recipient of Gladstone Regional Council's Citizen of the Year award, at the 2018 Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony, held at the Gladstone Entertainment and Convention Centre on January 25, 2018. Matt Taylor GLA250118AUSD

"We spend a lot of time at sea ... and it's a lot quicker when there's an emergency situation like someone was caught in the other night,” Mr Watson said.

"A mayday call went out and we were straight on the scene,” he said.

"We're just there to help people and it's good that people ask us advice and seek conditions on whether it's safe to go to sea or not.”

Mr Watson said he hoped the prestigious award would bring recognition to the work being done by the community members of Seventeen Seventy.

"I'm very proud to be part of that community down there and we all pull together when there's problems,” the award winner said.

"This award is for all the volunteers who aren't recognised and do a terrific job.”