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Is optimism and intelligence lacking in Gympie debate?

A photo of the Mary Valley Rattler from 2012.
A photo of the Mary Valley Rattler from 2012. Alana Denton

SO REFRESHING to read the letter from S. J. Dixon (The Gympie Times, March 15, 2017) full of optimism and intelligent suggestions.

Quite a contrast to the negativity and axe grinding which has marked much of the discussion to-date.

Certainly, we should be supporting the efforts of Mayor Curran and his team to bring this project to fruition.

The Valley Rattler Steam Train is a fun and historic way to see the gorgeous Gympie countryside. Photo by Tourism and Events Queensland
The Valley Rattler Steam Train is a fun and historic way to see the gorgeous Gympie countryside. Photo by Tourism and Events Queensland Eric Taylor

It could so obviously benefit the whole Gympie region in terms of employment and revenue if it is well organised.

To this end, I agree with the letter writer who thinks it should be "started by a small team of professionals with business experience who are held publicly accountable”.

These people would be supported by the volunteer effort.

Mayor Mick Curran trying tho get the Valley Rattler back on track. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times
Mayor Mick Curran trying tho get the Valley Rattler back on track. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times Renee Albrecht

Hopefully Gympie council will investigate the modus operandi of the Tasmanian Queenstown steam train to learn from their restoration project.

Also, the Dandenong's Puffing Billy warrants some study.

This train recently received a sizable donation from Federal Government coffers which could perhaps be repeated here.

Private investment in the Rattler is another possibility.

I don't think people in Gympie and region realise the treasure they hold in this ready-made piece of valuable infrastructure.

What a wonderful idea to produce steam by using recycled oil rather than burn greenhouse gas producing coal.

Mayor Mick Curran and councillor James Cochrane and Garry Davison with some good news about the Valley Rattler.
Mayor Mick Curran and councillor James Cochrane and Garry Davison with some good news about the Valley Rattler. Renee Albrecht

If this solution ends up in the "too hard” basket of local opinion, at least those who still "dig” coal as an energy source, will get a buzz from its use in such a basic and historic form.

Also commendable is the idea of healthy discounts for locals and pensioners.

This would take the sting out of grievances felt over the $65 rate levy.

I am certain many more residents of Gympie and the region will be very happy to see the Mary Valley Rattler finally steam into Imbil Station.

Roslyn Barrett,

Imbil.

MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

ALTERNATIVE FACTS OVER AQUATIC CENTRE

THE Gympie Times, March 18, 2017, had an article concerning the new aquatic centre and online comments concerning prices, "alternative facts” being evident.

Amongst those comments was that if you go to the Eumundi pool, the closest heated pool at present, it cost $5 for concessional entry.

Neither statement is correct.

If what you're after is what Gympie's going to offer, a 25m heated lap pool, there's one at Cooroy.

DATE SET: The Gympie Aquatic Recreation Centre is set for opening on April 1.
DATE SET: The Gympie Aquatic Recreation Centre is set for opening on April 1. Contributed

Personally, I use the smaller of the heated pools at Eumundi, slightly warmer, nice in winter, and while not strictly a hydrotherapy pool it gets well used as one.

The single concessional admission price is $4.30, not $5 as the alternative fact "online comment” states. I go there five days a week and by paying per calender month pay about $2 per session.

DATE SET: The Gympie Aquatic Recreation Centre is set for opening on April 1.
DATE SET: The Gympie Aquatic Recreation Centre is set for opening on April 1. Contributed

Of course I spend time and money travelling to and from Eumundi and I'm not so foolish as to not give the new Gympie pool a go, but I suspect I'll still be travelling to Eumundi as it offers what Gympie won't, but should have, and would have, if decisions were made on the basis of function rather than "pretty” but impractical form.

While Mayor Curran says the new 50m pool will have a longer season than the current pool the fact still remains that for much of the year most of the new centre will be a stranded asset while people who do the sort of thing I do at Eumundi won't be catered for at all.

From what's being oft publicised Gympie's new pool looks like it's destined to be pretty high maintenance, all that pretty stuff, and will be a financial noose around council's neck.

DATE SET: The Gympie Aquatic Recreation Centre is set for opening on April 1.
DATE SET: The Gympie Aquatic Recreation Centre is set for opening on April 1. Contributed

It's such elements of the new $22 million plus spend which makes me laugh when 'old Gympie' keep going on about the 'Fredman issue' and bagging the current council on how they spend money.  

The new aquatic centre will stand forever as an example of where councils before this one, aided and abetted by a too-long serving engineer who achieved little to truly progress our area, suffered small town and backward thinking.

I hope I can make use of the new aquatic centre, but it's more likely that when I see or hear of it I'll simply be reminded of why I can't respect the old timer thinking that still pollutes our town and will only be able to look at $22 million spent on yet another in a long line of wasted or diminished opportunities.

Pretty, but silly, and not suitable for purpose. How very 'Gympie'!

Dave Freeman,

Hillview Rd.

Topics:  aquatic recreation centre gympie regional council letters letters to the editor mary valley rattler opinion rattler

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