July 21, 2020
Cherbourg’s “Ministerial Champion” Dr Anthony Lynham visited the community on Tuesday … and left with a big wish list to take back with him to the State Government.
Dr Lynham met with Mayor Elvie Sandow, Deputy Mayor Tom Langton, CEO Chatur Zala and senior Council staff at the Council Chambers.
He makes quarterly visits to Cherbourg as part of his State Government role as “Ministerial Champion” for the town, however, the visiting schedule was disrupted by COVID-19 and this was his first visit back since visiting restrictions ended.
Top of the discussion list was the presentation of a plan for a new Council Chambers to replace the current building.
Dr Lynham was told the current building was totally inadequate: there is not enough room or storage space, it is sinking on one side, and is moving.
Mr Zala presented plans for a new building, an idea first raised in 2008 to create a new community hub in the main street.
This new building could be constructed in stages.
Dr Lynham was petitioned to lobby on behalf of the project, and he seemed impressed.
“You can’t help but be impressed by the design, how the building looks, how it’s going to function and how pragmatic this whole thing is for the community of Cherbourg,” Dr Lynham said.
“I can see nothing better than to come back one day and have that building finished.
“It looks fantastic and it’s structured so well that it can be (built) in different stages. So every stage is a modest step forward to completion. It’s been well thought out.
“My role is to go back to Brisbane and take that concept design report and market (it) as much as I can with my colleagues and present this to government, to make sure the Mayor’s case and the community’s case is well-heard regarding this.”
Other issues raised with Dr Lynham during the visit included:
- Updates on the recycling plant, funding for the cemetery, skate park and fencing; and solar panels for Cherbourg State School
- Council’s concerns about the outcome of the Cherbourg Security Project
- A desire for the Cherbourg Police Station to be manned 24/7 with community patrols and more Police Liaison Officers
- A crackdown on people using Council-owned houses for illegal business activities
- A project to turn a flat piece of land near the cemetery into a driving range for children to play golf
There was also a “very candid” discussion about mental health issues in the community.
Mayor Sandow called for accountability, saying there was a lack of face-to-face and culturally appropriate mental health supports.
She called for funding for community-driven initiatives such as SPAN (Suicide Prevention Action Network). Council has donated the use of dongas beside the Council building for the use of SPAN.
She said Council was also supporting the men’s group for mental health counselling programs.
Dr Lynham described Cherbourg as “a community of triumph”.
“This is a community that is doing really, really well. You only have to look at the recycling centre, Containers For Change, the school, the hospital and just when you walk around the community. It is a magnificent community.
“I think the community has a strong journey forward. It is a strong and resilient, proud community.
“It is being displayed to me yet again that Cherbourg is a community that has direction. It knows what it wants.
“It’s not up to us to make any decision whatsoever in regards to Cherbourg’s future because the community knows its future. It’s my role and the government’s role to assist to obtain that future.”