Stoneman fires first shot in division 4 council race
THE GAUNTLET has been laid down to sitting Division 4 councillor Bruce Casos with challenger Kylie Stoneman saying a lack of consultation has left the Dinmore community "in the dark" over a new development.
Ms Stoneman will run against Cr Casos in next year's council elections and has promised to form a new Community Consultative Committee if elected.
She said her feedback from Dinmore residents suggested there hadn't been enough face-to-face consultation about a 222-unit complex planned for the old Dinmore State School site.
"Locals feel they've been left in the dark about this significant development," she said.
"The council is following their protocols with signs going up for development and advertising in the paper, but I don't think it hurts to go out there and talk to the community and the people that are going to be affected by it.
"A lot of people knew something was happening but they don't know what it is.
"There are 222 units going up there, which will be fine, but people deserve to know what is going on in their areas."
Cr Casos has hit back and said that "the whole process is covered specifically by legislation to give residents the opportunity to comment".
"This is universal throughout the state," he said.
"This particular project is no different to the thousands of applications processed each year. The advertising period and method is set out and that is why the adjoining properties are notified, signs are placed on the boundaries so that they are visible and advertisements are placed in the media.
"All of the information is available freely on the internet courtesy of council's PD online facility.
"Regarding this particular application, I have been contacted by local residents and arrangements were made to discuss with both myself and council officers."
More generally, Ms Stoneman said "residents across Division 4 have told me they feel they aren't consulted about major new developments in their own neighbourhoods".
Ms Stoneman said, if elected, the Community Consultative Committee she would create would "ensure the voice of local residents, businesses and community organisations are heard and valued".
"It could include people from each suburb, maybe two or three. You'd have to work on the model," she said.
"But it would be about getting their views on what they'd like to see in the area.
"It would not just be about development, but also about what is happening and what they need in their neighbourhoods."
Cr Casos said he was already engaging in consultation across the board.
"We have made a deliberate decision to combine free tree days in parks throughout the division with a meet and greet and where possible we have also involved a variety of community groups with sausage sizzles," he said.
"Since March last year there have been meetings in Rotary Park, Bundamba, Jack Barkley Park in North Booval, Hudson Park at Ebbw Vale, Rod and Denise Strong Park in Riverview and George Palmer Park at Silkstone.
"Twice a year we use Ipswich Connect to give details of current and upcoming projects.
"The door to our office is always open. It is routine that I meet residents on site."
Ms Stoneman said development brought much-needed jobs and services.
"However, the process must be open and transparent and it must be consultative," she said.
"A sign on a fence or a notice in the paper about a proposed development isn't consultation and often leaves residents feeling a development has been sprung on them."