SUE ROBBINS? time on Council saw Coolangatta undergo a total revitalisation.
SUE ROBBINS? time on Council saw Coolangatta undergo a total revitalisation.

A decade of service

By YVONNE McLEAN

COUNCILLOR Robbins began her local government career in 1994 when she was elected to the Albert Shire Council.

Another who began her career at the same time was Cr Jan Grew.

They were the first women to be elected to the shire council - their colleague Cr Merna Franklin had been a council appointee after the tagic death of her husband Cr John Franklin from a tree-felling accident.

When the shire and the Gold Coast were amalgamated the 1997 election saw Sue back as the councillor for the southernmost Division 14 with a big majority.

From her earlier days in local government, Sue Robbins took up the cudgels for ordinary families. She often said her own upbringing, no silver spoon surroundings, enabled her to understand the difficulties many families had in making ends meet - especially paying rates and other bills.

For years hers was the loudest voice in crying out for governments to recognise the dangerous traffic situation on the Pacific Highway at Tugun.

She lobbied everyone she could get to for an early start to the Tugun bypass road - even though the council had no responsibility for the road. Hers was a moral fight, so stubborn and determined it had to influence governments' final "yes".

But when, Sue would now be asking.

For years she chaired the council's planning and development committee (south).

She used her position to appeal to developers to ensure housing estates provided space for kids to play, for families to enjoy leisure in backyards.

In debate she locked horns with colleagues over development issues and admitted she was a "bit of a pain in the neck" with some developers.

Some months ago with the restructuring of council's standing committee, the two planning and development committees merged into the one city planning committee.

For Sue it was a time for change and she was appointed chair of health and safety.

But her deep interest in development remained as strong as ever.

So much so, that she revealed to this writer a desire and a will to undertake part-time studies at university in the subject of urban design.

Sue Robbins' last debates in council included a passionate well-researched argument against council approving a 72-storey development on The Esplanade in Surfers Paradise (which she lost), and an appeal to council not to install parking meters in Coolangatta, and for more suitably placed on-street and off-street parking for the disabled, and to ensure shopping centre managements do the same.

This was an appeal from the heart because as a car accident victim some years ago, Sue knew of the frustration and pain of a disabled driver unable to find a park near shopping facilities.

There is no question - the life of the present council's term will not be the same without the passion, integrity, and the love Cr Robbins had for the community and her work. But she will be there, in spirit, and in influence.



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