McDonald voices concern over big ticket projects


COUNCIL'S water sustainable committee chairperson, Cr Daphne McDonald, has expressed deep concerns over some of the big ticket items encouraged by Mayor Ron Clarke.

"Each Mayoral minute with another costly project in mind, alarms me," Cr McDonald told the Gold Coast Mail this week.

"At the one meeting last week, we have multimillions of dollars to be allocated to Surfers Paradise roadworks, and maybe a light rail in the future, and mayoral support for a ferry transport system along our waterways. I'm asking where is the money coming from," she said.

"If big ticket schemes win approval we could get ourselves in a serious state asking ratepayers to foot the bill after bill - maybe even rating them away from the Gold Coast."

"There is nothing new about a ferry transport this was considered by council some years ago, but the cost was so high it was de- cided only private enterprise could embark on the scheme. Private funding was mooted at one time, but it fell through. The decision still stands, council's ratepayers could not fund such a project," Cr McDonald said.

"Why all the drama over roadworks at Surfers Paradise, improving traffic flow was planned by the former council under Gary Baildon.

"But there was no way we could undertake this work at both ends of Surfers Paradise, so we're going ahead with the southern section.

"Whatever we do will bring complaints from Surfers Paradise," she said.

Cr McDonald also took issue over any consideration being given to rates increases to help fund big schemes.

"Some years ago, when there were empty paddocks in Surfers Paradise, I debated council the wisdom of resuming land for road widening which would eventually be needed. Developers and land owners at the time agreed to such a proposal. But a majority council dismissed my idea. Had council negotiated resumptions at that time, today's problems would not exist," she said.

Whenever Mayor Clarke brings forward one of these costly schemes, he is spending ratepayers money. Big items give a good feeling to some councillors, but if ratepayers have to bear the impost, the news is bad for them."

Cr McDonald said she would be urging council to err on the side of caution in deliberations over big ticket items.

"It is all very well for movers and shakers to want more and more and for some sections of the media to claim Surfers Paradise was stagnant, but at the end of the day, council has an equal responsibility to all the community and that responsibility must be hon- oured," she said.



A RECORD number of entries caused judges to be hard pressed identifying winners in the recent Gold Coast Writers Literary Competition. Best short story went to Tim De Groot of Birkdale for his tantalising thriller The Mystery and Fay O'Neill of Tallebudgera for her heart warming portrayal of Zanthe.

Chris Lambe's Enduring Love won the open poetry category and Bushfire by Corry de Haas took the members only prize in poetry.

Best screenplay went to Marion Martineer of Nerang for Dingo.

Writing for children was won by Dira Petersen of North Tamborine with the Friendly Forest as well as Bradley Loudon from Tallebudgera Undercover Frog and Mudgeeraba's Richard Bentley's mysterious The Sound of Doom.

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