The new members of the Blackwater Community Progress Group were elected at the meeting last Tuesday night.
The new members of the Blackwater Community Progress Group were elected at the meeting last Tuesday night.

Blackwater concerns come to light

RESIDENTS in Blackwater want affordable housing, better roads and good quality drinking water.

The results from a survey on water, employment status, housing, Urban Land Development Authority engagement, camps, and how to make a better future for Blackwater were discussed at the Blackwater Community Progress Group annual general meeting.

Social planner and voluntary BCPG ambassador Dr Wendy Sarkissian alongside five councillors and Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson answered questions from locals.

The biggest issues discussed in the survey were the services in town diminishing, the lack of infrastructure to entice or support people to relocate to the town and the quality of water being identified as appalling.

Respondents felt that within 10 years the community would be a camp town, and if there was hope for Blackwater, it needed to be a thriving town filled with families who had affordable housing, sporting activities, and a sense of community.

Dr Sarkissian said although some of the results from the survey were "not a healthy sign", she believed people in town "want Blackwater to last" and by improving the basic facilities and social fabrication, Blackwater would not be lost.

"This was a wake-up call. Let's look at what you've got and what needs to be built on," Dr Sarkissian said.

She said the hope for the town was strengthened partly because of the newly elected council and the people standing up to make Blackwater a thriving community again.

"It's partly because we have a new council," she said.

"This group of councillors has come in to improve the empowerment of the ordinary people, not big businesses, or developers."

"I feel there is huge energy in Blackwater to make this a real town. And to hold on to what people have."

On the night, the new committee members for the BCPG were elected with Lester Anderson becoming chairman, Glenn Hamilton becoming deputy chair, Sister Colleen taking on treasurer and Joanne Truelson becoming secretary.

Mr Anderson said he was looking forward to his role as chairman of the group, and felt the meeting went well.

"I think the results need to be analysed a bit closer, and I suppose it's going to give us some type of direction as to what the people of Blackwater want," he said.

"We seem to be getting a younger population back into Blackwater, which is excellent for sporting and businesses around town.

"There are a lot of young people who have put their hands up to come along to the meetings and to be involved, which is very good news.

"I thought it was positive, which is a good sign for our future here."

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