2010 is at it's end. Just when I finally got used to saying twenty-ten, another year is upon us and nobody has really indicated how we are supposed to phrase this one. Will it be twenty-eleven (doesn't sound right) or two-thousand and eleven? I assume the media will inform me tonight.
So, what have I learnt this past year?
I learnt that a red strip of hair is great for recognition but bloody expensive and time consuming to maintain. I learnt that it is easier to just be yourself and let people make up their own minds about you because they will do it anyway. I learnt that Cairns is discombobulated (I really love that word, it fits so many situations and emotional moments)and in desperate need of guidance and change.....kind of like our national cricket team. I learnt that it is easy to find out what people feel about the region and what they would like to see changed. You just have to ask them, they can't wait to tell someone, even me. I learnt that Federal politics can be cruel and that even the Prime Minister is not immune to employment redundancies. I learnt that the Global Financial Crisis is not 'global' anymore....it's local. I learnt that the internet is a very powerful and useful tool but you must read articles all the way through to the end BEFORE commenting. And I learnt that this year was the year that Cairns got sick of stagnating and wanted something more for itself although it's unsure how to go about it.
You would think that after all that, I would have nothing left to learn. You would be very, very wrong.
Next year will be a big one for me, a big one for Cairns and a big one for our nation. It will start with hope. Cairns in particular is very hopeful right now. Hopeful that things can and will change for the better. Hope that the slump it still finds itself in will turn into a surge upward. Hope that the community can band together and bring life back into the city, the suburbs and the entire region. Hope that Cairns can get back it's verve, it's spirit....it's soul.
There is a nasty wet season to get through first. We have been promised a doozy and so far, the predictions have been pretty accurate. Once we are through that period, we will have to face the real world again. Will we or won't we build a Cultural Precinct? We talk about the need to revitalise our city, the need to bring back culture and art to our public spaces, then in the next breath we denigrate our option for a world class facility that has the potential to do all that we are asking. Is it because we are just so used to the status quo we are scared to try something this big? Maybe.
Will we get through the tender process and solidify the direction of the re-build at Sugarworld in time to open it up for next Christmas? This process is one which has been slow but steady and I sincerely hope that it continues on in a forward direction so that we do not have another year of this waiting...waiting....waiting.
Will the Edmonton Town Centre and Leisure Centre be built next year? According to all reports, the Leisure Centre will be. Now that the State Government has been given the go-ahead on the land for the future health facility (hospital), it should be acknowledged immediately by all Councillors that Logomier Road needs to be made a priority in any development that is to commence next year. There is no longer any reason to stall on this one, just build it.
Will the Redlynch area get a major facility built right alongside the Crystal Cascades swimming area? Is there a need for such a facility? Will it be a blessing or a curse to those living in the area? We will find out next year.
Will the new Dental Clinic at JCU be worth all the fanfare? Are people lining up to get free work done on their molars? I have no idea, but if you need a tooth pulled out or just a good clean, get in line for it....it's free after all!
We will be gearing up late next year for the State and Local elections that are to be held in the early stages of 2012. Will Desley Boyle be running again or will Tim Grau be her replacement? Will Steve and Jason cop a flogging at the election as predicted recently? Will we end up with Curtis Pitt being our only representative from the Labor Party here in this region? The deeds and words coming from these politicians in the whole of 2011 will give us all a better indication of that. My tip is that Jason, Steve and Desley (or Tim) need to start now to alter opinions and to produce ideas for Cairns and the Cape that will kick start a change for the better.
Will we still have the same Mayor or Councillors? Which of our Councillors will announce their intention to run for Mayor in the last few months of 2011? Will we end up with a complete change to the entire Council or will there be a severe lack of alternatives resulting in no change to the status quo? This election will be a very important one for our region and will be watched closely by most residents. Cairns is ready to make changes in all other areas, it would not surprise me at all if the Council joined the list.
Whatever comes in 2011, I will be watching. I will be involved in some way in my community and in the region. I can't help myself. In mid January I will begin my 'Polling the Neighbourhood' initiative again...asking the questions that people are eager to answer.
The first big thing I will be involved in next year involves the school my eldest daughter attends. In 2011, my middle child and only son will start Prep. It's a very big deal in this house. So while it's great to get involved in the lives other people have got, sometimes it's even better to get involved in your own!
Have a great night tonight everyone.....see you next year!