Think Tank work shops the big issues among community members


Karlie Brady


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Saturday's Think Tank gave community members a chance to workshop ideas for development. Image: Karlie Brady.

The fourth community Think Tank in Mossman on Saturday opened up community discussion in a workshop setting.

Saturday’s meeting at the Mossman Shire Hall addressed a variety of community issues from the recycling of batteries to the economic development of the Shire.

Think Tank facilitator, Dr Alexandra Bernhardi said even the smallest of issues should be addressed before they grow into bigger issues.

“The Think Tank puts people from really different sectors and areas in the Shire together. Now follow-up ideas about moving forward outside of the Think Tank have arisen,” Dr Bernhardi said.

Previous Think Tanks held in the CWA hall in Mossman were run in a more classroom-like format but Dr Bernhardi said the bigger space in the Shire Hall allowed for space to run a workshop, which she felt was important.

“I have released that because of the short time frames that we have at the meetings, it is difficult for everyone to have a say, so workshops are a really good way to capture the whole audience’s feelings. “

In her opening address, Dr Bernhardi raised her concerns about the waste transfer station in Killaloe no longer accepting household batteries, and the use of pesticides in public areas around the Shire.

Concerned resident, Kath Lyons added to this, sharing a personal story about her father’s battle with Lymphoma after long term exposure to pesticides at work, to make people think about what they are exposed to.

Debbie Ruddell, a spokesperson from Far Northern Milling also gave an overview of how the mill runs along with how they are working to be better neighbours to the community after recently taking ownership from Mackay Sugar.

Ms Ruddle urged the community to contact the Mill directly if they have any issues.

“I have concerns that people hold in their issues for months before letting us know about them.

“I am considering holding a meeting before crushing to share what is happening and then have another at the end of crushing to identify issues to address over the maintenance season,” Ms Ruddle said.

In the second session of the meeting, Council CEO Mark Stoermer proposed the launch of an Economic Strategic Review Committee, which will involve six meetings between various businesses owners and council members.

The committee will aim to assess the current state of the local economy and develop a plan, which will be monitored.

Mr Stoermer than took on suggestions from those in attendance on how best to move forward with this idea.

The Douglas Chamber of Commerce president and vice president were the last to speak, giving an overview of their role in the Shire and addressing their need for more members and funding.

Dr Bernhardi said she was very pleased with the number of people in attendance and the discussions raised on the day.

“I have a feeling that the community has re-learned that it is worthwhile speaking up for their interests and asking challenging questions.

“There is definitely overall improved communication between the community,” Dr Bernhardi said.

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