Thursday, July 4, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Council Votes To Preserve Jim Adams’ Legacy In Seaforth

By Amanda Wright
In last week’s ordinary meeting, the Mackay Regional Council approved a significant motion to rename the new playground area associated with the Seaforth Water Park in memory of the late Jim Adams, a former councillor. This decision, spearheaded by Cr George Christensen after the family sent him a letter, honours the late Jim Adams' extensive community service and reflects the council's commitment to preserving his legacy.
Cr Christensen’s Notified Motion, supported by a detailed background and a heartfelt letter from Jim Adams' daughter, called for the council to transfer the memorial park's name to the new playground. The existing Jim Adams Memorial Park, dedicated in 1998, recognised Adams' contributions to the Seaforth and broader Mackay community. Over the years, however, the park's play equipment deteriorated, leading to its removal. Despite the removal, the park was intended to remain a memorial space, with efforts made to maintain its signage and aesthetics.
Cr Christensen emphasised the significance of this motion, stating, "This is not just about renaming a playground; it’s about honouring the legacy of a man who dedicated his life to improving our community.
“By transferring the name to the new playground, we ensure that Jim Adams’ contributions continue to be remembered in a meaningful manner.
“I don’t know what could be more fitting than to honour his name in that playground, where laughter fills the air and community spirit thrives. The transfer preserves the integrity of the original naming ensuring Jim Adams’ name remains synonymous with the playground.”
The proposal to rename the new playground didn’t completely align with the council’s “Naming of Infrastructure Assets” policy, causing a division of opinion among councillors.
Judith Thatcher, Jim Adams' daughter, expressed her family's disappointment with the current state of the park and the way in which her family found out about the decommissioning of the playground equipment.
“On 31st July 2023, my family were blindsided by a phone call from the Mackay Regional Council regarding the future function of the Jim Adams Memorial Park. The nature of this phone call is still distressing to our family,” she said during the ordinary meeting.
“Indeed it was a callous and unwelcome interaction,” she added.
“To think the very statutory body my father, councillor Jim Adams, represented impeccably for 28 years, could stoop so low, discounting the memorial park and playground under the justification of cost-cutting is absolutely gut-wrenching,” she added.
"It has been deeply upsetting to see the original Jim Adams Memorial Park fall into disrepair.
“My father worked tirelessly for this community, and it is only right that his name be associated with a place that continues to serve the children and families he cared so much about," Judith said.
"Renaming the new playground ensures that his memory is honoured in a space that brings joy and community togetherness, just as he would have wanted."
Thatcher highlighted the personal significance of the park to her family.
"The Jim Adams Memorial Park was always intended to be a place where children could play and families could gather, reflecting my father’s dedication to community service.
“The removal of the playground equipment was a blow, but this new motion gives us hope that his legacy will be preserved in a way that is both purposeful and dignified," she added.
Cr Christensen underscored the importance of involving the community and the Adams family in the decision-making process.
"This motion is about more than just policy. It’s about ensuring that the voices of those who knew and loved Jim Adams are heard and respected.
“The new playground at Seaforth Water Park is a perfect location to honour his memory, as it continues to serve the community in a similar capacity to the original park," he said.
The granddaughter of Jim Adams also spoke at the meeting on behalf of Jim’s wife, Margaret.
“I would never have expected the current state of the Jim Adams Memorial Park condition I can only describe as heartbreaking.
“Cr Christensen’s resolutions will allow my family to heal, the community to move forward in a positive and respectful manner,” she said.
Jim Adams was a visionary leader dedicated to improving his community. During his tenure, he played a key role in numerous projects, including the Seaforth swimming enclosure, the Seaforth Community Hall, and significant infrastructure developments in the Mackay region. His efforts extended to securing reticulated water supplies, planning and constructing vital port infrastructure, and advocating for rural road improvements. Adams' commitment to his community was unwavering, and his legacy continues to be celebrated.
The council's decision included a unanimous vote to revise internal processes, due to an amendment to the motion put forward by Cr Ash-Lee Johnson. This amendment aims to ensure that any significant changes to memorial park assets or the park itself are promptly communicated to surviving family members, thereby preventing future misunderstandings or disappointments.
Cr Bella moved a procedural motion stating that by voting with the current policy as it is, shows disrespect to a number of others, who under this policy were dealt with in another way.
“Ultimately everybody needs to be treated the same way.
“It doesn’t show a lack of compassion asking for the policy to be changed, it shows compassion to those who have missed out in the past.
“I would like to lay this on the table, until such time as we can decide whether the policy is fit for purpose or not. Policies are there to ensure equity, to ensure fairness.”
The procedural motion did not pass. Cr Jones also spoke against the motion, stating that the Jim Adams Park is still named as such to be remembered in the community and that the renaming of another asset did not align with the current policy.
Cr Christensen’s amended motion to rename the playground at the Seaforth Esplanade in memory of Jim Adams was carried, with councillors voting in favour, 10-1.

The family of the late Jim Adams, his granddaughter, wife Margaret Adams and daughter Judith Thatcher, spoke at last week’s Mackay Regional Council ordinary meeting to support a motion to rename the new playground on the Seaforth Esplanade in honour of Jim. Photo credit: Amanda Wright

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