Community platform brings people together to think



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Around 40 people attended the community Think Tank on Saturday. Image: Supplied.

The fifth and final community Think Tank for the year was held last Saturday at the Mossman Bowls Club with approximately 40 people in attendance to share their ideas and concerns.

Organiser, Dr Alexandra Bernhardi, said it was a great day filled with updates surrounding local projects and ideas about how to make the community a better place.

“I have got a lot of good feedback; people enjoy getting this information and being involved in this process,” she said.

“People are also able to make connections with people they may not have otherwise met.”

Dr Bernhardi said she started the Think Tanks out of the frustration she felt about the lack of involvement a normal resident has with Council.

“We needed to have a platform so people who want to meet and exchange ideas can go to.

“I remind everyone at the Think Tank, however, that all projects within a community need to be assessed for their social, environmental and economic aspect,” she said.

At Saturday’s session, a political workshop was held to discuss what questions the community has for cancel candidates in the lead up to the 2020 local election.

Dr Bernhardi said the audience raised question around issues such as water security, public health, lack of economic diversity from over-reliance on tourism, a lack of governance in regard to climate change, and a lack of communication and transparency.

“It was resolved that I will put together a questionnaire based on the issues raised and will send it to all council candidates in the pre-election phase,” she said.

Guest speakers also fronted the Think Tanks including school teacher, Julie Verri, who presented the holistic, structured concept of a Steiner school education and explained how far the proposed Steiner school in Mossman has grown.

She appealed to the community to support the project at this critical stage by joining the committee and offering expertise in marketing and grant application.

The second speaker was Michael Sawyer, a horticulturist, who presented a community garden project for unemployed residents.

The program sees the group learn to establish and care for a veggie garden at the Community Centre.

Mr Sawyer pointed out the success of this project on many levels, including knowledge and skill-building, improved self-esteem, sense of achievement, improving nutrition and therefore health, and supplying the community kitchen with healthy vegetables for meals.

Dr Bernhardi said the audience was keen to explore if a garden for the entire community would be a possibility.

“Some plans are already underway, and we hope to hear an update on this promise in the near future,” she said.

Lastly, Gavin Kay, an experienced agro ecologist, spoke about the opportunities that the region has for establishing a variety of environmentally friendly agricultural ventures.

He added the Shire could transform some existing agricultural land into a successful market, meeting unmet demands for healthy, Australian grown food and fibre, including hemp fibre and hemp protein.

He added that farmers cannot do this on their own, such a transition needs to be supported by federal, state and local governments.

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