Councillor hits back


I was bemused on reading an article by Lee McCarthy in the 8 December issue on page 23 entitled ‘Councillor Eyes a Switch.’

While I understand that campaigning for elections does sometimes raise claimed ‘inadequacies’ in current representation by spruiking what they will do better, I am bewildered where the basis is in the article commentary.

Personality clashes, interference with community groups, representing only one township and just blowing in when there’s an event?

Cr Smerdon must be referencing someone else’s actions.

As for conveying local problems to council then following up because “that’s my job,” in the 7 December 2022 Ordinary Meeting the Community Services Directorate update presented Cr Smerdon as submitting six customer action requests to council in a three month period.

I had done 54.

But the most amusing claim was not listening to the community, identifying needs, and acting on their behalf, citing an example of the non-progression of a long talked about Tin Can Bay off-leash dog park.

The proposed off-leash dog park was adopted into a planning strategy in the 2016 Concept Master Plan for “Our Towns Sustainable Centres Program”; Stage 3 – Tin Can Bay and Cooloola Cove as a short-term priority for considering a site in H.A Chooky Mallet Park.

From the very start of my term on Council in 2020, I have strongly advocated for this prior community-identified desire to progress at any opportunity.

Through my encouragement, both existing and new residents have reinforced this want of off-leash infrastructure through a steady stream of correspondence to the council and myself (it was the first letter I ever received from a resident) over the years to create a justified database of needs evidence for a successful budget bid.

On taking the new CEO on a Cooloola Coast road trip of all three townships earlier this year, I did highlight that the off-leash dog park was the most requested

item of improvement.

The strong community voice supported supplementary funding allocation and enabled the Tin Can Bay off-leash dog park to be included in this year’s capital works program.

Because the fact is, I own a greyhound cross, so I am well aware of the benefit for a dog to run off leash as I’ve found no way to keep up with my buddy boy at full pace on lead therefore, I personally could not have been a ‘blocker’ for the dog park proposal progression.

I believe campaign claims are a good character reference for integrity and fact trumps fiction.

– Jess Milne

Tin Can Bay