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Council’s Priorities Need A Rethink

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The al fresco area near the Little Drayton Street laneway in Nanango (Photo: Star Motel)

September 24, 2018

by Dafyd Martindale

A recent decision by South Burnett Regional Council to put the naming of a tiny pedestrian rest area in Drayton Street, Nanango, out to public consultation is very puzzling.

Two years ago, former Mayor Wayne Kratzmann suggested to the Department of Transport and Main Roads they name the al fresco feature in front of Little Drayton Street in honour of Barry and Mary Green.

DTMR, which controls the D’Aguilar Highway that runs through Nanango’s CBD, said they had no objection to the idea.

But when DTMR finally came back to Council with its approval, Council’s response was to put the question out to public consultation.

Council has not said when it proposes to do this, how they will carry this out or how much this exercise is likely to cost.

But the decision has already drawn criticism from one former councillor.

We’d like to add our voice to that.

Barry Green served two terms on both the former Nanango Shire Council and the South Burnett Regional Council.

During those 16 years he played a key role in getting Nanango’s CBD properly lit, then streetscaped.

He also advocated for sealing Nanango’s streets and getting water security for the town – a $9 million project the Council is now saving up for.

His wife Mary, meanwhile, has given decades of service to tourism and local historical research, two passions she continues to pursue in her retirement.

The couple have also played a strong role in the development of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, which has brought prosperity to Blackbutt and now Yarraman.

The Green family are one of Nanango’s “historic” families, and can trace their heritage in the town back for many generations.

But unlike many of the town’s other long-standing families, there is nothing in Nanango to mark them.

Councillors should have given the idea to name the small Drayton Street area after the couple their immediate assent.

A plaque on a wall is not a big thing, and it’s not an expensive thing.

It is a simple recognition of two outstanding local citizens who’ve given a lifetime of service to the town they love, and helped bring about improvements that have had a positive impact on the lives of everyone who lives there.

Instead, our Councillors have voted to do something they haven’t done when it comes to naming any other piece of public infrastructure in our region – put the issue out to public consultation.

Why are they treating this differently? Particularly when a matter as significant as a major Budget restructure of rates was not considered worthy of public discussion ahead of time.

We think Barry and Mary Green deserve an explanation … they didn’t seek this honour in the first place but they also didn’t seek the ignominy of this poorly thought-through decision.

And so do our region’s ratepayers, who’ll have to pick up the tab for any “consultations”.

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