Thursday, March 14, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Bowen Candidate Forum “An Informative Meeting”

The third Whitsunday Local Government Candidate Forum was hosted by Bowen Chamber of Commerce on Monday night and held at the Larrikin Hotel in Bowen with an audience of 85 in attendance.

All four Mayoral Candidates, Peter Hood, Richard Evans, Ry Collins and Phil Batty, were present on the evening alongside the Division 6 Councillor Candidates, John Finlay and David Paddon.

Three questions were given from Bowen Chamber of Commerce and then three additional questions taken from the floor.

President of Bowen Chamber of Commerce, Bruce Hedditch, said it was an “informative meeting” and that everyone was happy with how it ran.

“They are all good candidates,” he said.

“They all have an interest in the Whitsundays as a whole and it was good to see people so passionate about our community.

“One critical factor from the Candidates Forum was the public support to save the Bowen Jetty. It was revealed at the meeting that a recent survey conducted by the community resulted in 622 responses with 97.6 per cent opposed to the jetty being removed.

“Additionally, 95.5 per cent of respondents wanted the existing Bowen Jetty repaired and restored.

“The Whitsunday Regional Council in the past have been reluctant to commit to accepting future responsibility with the community and many questions centred on this issue, the Bowen Jetty is a tourist attraction and is no different to parks and gardens, water parks maintained by Council.”

Other questions on the night included broader Harbour Front usage and the industrial development of Bowen.

In addition, the issue was raised that Airlie Beach has seen more private investment along its main entrance way in the past year and people want to know why it is happening in Airlie Beach and not Bowen.

“Bowen needs the same opportunity,” said Mr Hedditch.

Questions from the floor came next and were centred around the income and expenditure of Council, with people worried about the cost of living, rates and charges.

Overall, the Forum was a positive and civilised event which was effectively facilitated by Bruce Hedditch and his team which included, Tony Bale, Allan Bryson, Sharon Williams and Mark Steen.

“We set the rules down from the beginning so there was no criticism,” shared Mr Hedditch.

“One person was asked to leave at the end but everyone else was happy with the meeting.”

Caption: 85 people came along to the Bowen Candidate Forum on Monday night

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