Why does a shire boundary divide the Mission Beach villages?
“Mission Beach is cosmopolitan in its makeup. Nearly everyone comes here from somewhere else and we are all entranced by the natural beauty of our environment and the friendly community spirit of our village lifestyle” writes Truus Biddlecombe of the Mission Beach Community Association (MBCA). MBCA was formed by residents and ratepayers (including non-residents) from Garners Beach in the north to Carmoo in the south in February 2005. It aims to represent the separate villages of their region with ‘one voice’ as they work together for the best outcomes in the face of inevitable development.
“The community is divided by a senseless local government shire boundary” says Truus. This means the administration of six villages – South Mission Beach, Carmoo and Wongaling Beach in the south and Mission Beach, Bingil Bay and Garners Beach in the north, is split between Cardwell Shire Council in Tully and Johnstone Shire Council in Innisfail.
The issue that united the community
Lack of progress by both Councils in jointly proceeding with their respective election commitments to provide a public ‘aquatic facility’ for Mission Beach was the catalyst for informal resident action group meetings and led to the public airing of many other areas of inconsistency and dissatisfaction caused by divided governance.
It became evident that a formal organisation was necessary. The Mission Beach Beach Progress Association had already ‘folded’ but the still functioning South Mission Beach and Wongaling Beach Community Association voted to broaden its sphere of representation to embrace all the villages and within 8 months had 180 financial members and is still growing.
The focus of the new MBCA – across both shires
- Town Planning Controls & Development Vision – attaining consistency to ensure preservation of the natural beauty, low scale amenity and conservation values of this World Heritage area.
- Rates & Services – obtaining value for dollar in the services provided to the district by Councils, both jointly and separately.
- Tourism – to encourage both Councils to jointly foster and appropriately fund Mission Beach Tourism.
- One Mission Beach – to work toward merging the Mission Beach villages so that they are governed by one local government authority.
Progress to date
At a meeting in late January 2005, the goals of the fledgling Association were presented to Desley Boyle, the Minister for Local Government. Her encouragement and support have helped MBCA be recognised as ‘the voice’ of the Mission Beach community. MBCA under the direction of its members continues to work towards their stated aims and is proud to say some progress has been made in having Councils and Government recognise the aspirations of members.
Do you belong to an active community association? We’d love to hear from you with your comments, suggestions or other community experiences.