Residents moved around the tables, each representing a category, to provide their views to council members regarding the Economic and Community Development Plan.
Residents moved around the tables, each representing a category, to provide their views to council members regarding the Economic and Community Development Plan. Alexia Austin

Residents talk hard issues at draft meeting

Residents were invited to have their say on issues affecting the community at an Economic and Community Development Plan draft meeting held at Explorers on Friday morning.

The draft was split into seven subcategories, each allocated to one table, and opened for public consultation, with councillors and staff on hand to field the comments.

Posters of the strategy lined the walls of the Leichhardt room, with pens at their base allowing for notes and comments to be added by guests on each proposal.

Residents were quick to explore a range of controversial issues, including the Saleyards expansions and the funding and support issues of smaller community groups.

Businessman Steve Merrick jumped straight to the heart of an issue on the minds of many, "semi-permanent workers' camps”, housing CSG workers who could contribute to towns in the area.

"If some of the workers' camps were to close down, it would be a huge gain to the economic situation in the Maranoa.

"We have hundreds of houses that are untenanted, motels that have 30-40 per cent occupancy rates and a main street that's near empty.

"If you close the camps down, you'll bring the workers into town, which is what we need.”

This meeting was the first of many, as councillors travel across the Maranoa to discuss plans for each town.

On completion, the plan will guide councils actions in the areas of industry, tourism, arts, culture, sport and recreation over the following five years.

The next Roma draft meeting is to be held on Monday November 20, from 4.30pm at Explorers.


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