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Mayor Loft refutes claims of special treatment for M'boro

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has warned the Fraser Coast Regional Council that it will remove a councillor or councillors if the squabbling continues.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has warned the Fraser Coast Regional Council that it will remove a councillor or councillors if the squabbling continues. Alistair Brightman

FRASER Coast mayor Chris Loft has said it is about time Maryborough had its fair share of development.

In recent months major developments worth in the hundreds of millions have been approved, including the site for the new PresCare facility costing $200M.

The construction of a $280M solar farm will be built in Aramara has recently been announced, and a lease on land for a Wide Bay Motor Complex has been signed.

Flood mitigation works, a beautification project and the push for Maryborough to have RV Friendly status have also been happening.

But, Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce president Sandra Holebrook has expressed concerns that the increased number of projects occurring in Maryborough could slow progress in Hervey Bay.

"The Esplanade is looking beautiful at the moment, I would hate to see it deteriorate in four years' time," she said.

Fraser Coast Mayor Chris Loft said that Maryborough was definitely not receiving any preferential treatment.

"I think the chamber of commerce is angry because of the sports precinct; it was an ill-conceived project that requires us to go back to the drawing board," he said.

"The people of the Fraser Coast must realise that a healthy Maryborough economy means a healthy Fraser Coast economy.

"The problem is that the previous council had a complete disregard for Maryborough.

"The Esplanade will be kept in its pristine condition, but we will not be spending millions of dollars on it."

Cr Loft pointed out that 3000 people travelled from Hervey Bay to Maryborough for work each day, compared with 500 going from Maryborough to Hervey Bay.

Ms Holebrook said that if the increased focus on Maryborough developments came from the perception of it having more jobs than Hervey Bay, then that was incorrect. "The statistics don't indicate a growth in Hervey Bay; they're outdated," Ms Holebrook said, referring to the 2011 Census data.

"There's been especially a lot of jobs created in the health and assisted carer fields in Hervey Bay of late."

Contrary to what was reported in recent news by another media outlet, Ms Holebrook said her concerns that Hervey Bay was being left behind was not a matter of rivalry.

Instead, she emphasised that it was about fairness and making sure every town was moving forward.

"It's more about not using Maryborough as an excuse to neglect Hervey Bay," she said.

"We are one big region and we support any good development, but it's about making sure the pendulum doesn't swing too much the other way."

Pialba CBD, the sports precinct and the Esplanade Master Plan were high on Ms Holebrook's priority list of Hervey Bay developments that she would like to reach full potential.



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