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Our rural council spends $420,000 on play area for Japan

OUTRAGE has spread through the Central Highlands over the council's latest project - a $420,868.39 playground to be built in our Sister City Ichinoseki, Japan.

The project was approved in the council's general meeting on Wednesday with the intention to strengthen the international relationship.

However, it has since caused tension on the local front, with many residents believing the decision was poorly timed and the money would be better spent closer to home.

Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire said it was brought to council's attention 18 months ago that they were yet to honour a pledge made between the former Fujisawa Town and Duaringa Shire Council and it was time to "right what was wrong".

"What happened was they built the Fujisawa house in Blackwater on Doon St and then they also sent 14 people over from Japan to help build the Japanese gardens with the council workers," Cr Maguire said.

"We had to reciprocate their gesture and build a park in Fujisawa (now Ichinoseki City) and that never happened.

"We looked at a garden but it was too hard getting shrubs and plants.

"So previous visits here by the council in Japan said they liked the All Abilities Park currently in Blackwater."

While the project is expected to strengthen the international relationship, an outpouring of responses to the CQ News' Facebook page has revealed a strain on locals' relationship with the CHRC.

Kay Esmond raised her concerns with Cr Maguire and expressed her "disgust" over the decision.

"I also pointed out several times that I think that, right now, our region needs that funding more than ever."

"Again, our councillors don't seem to openly discuss these matters (or even make the agenda open for the public to be able to have a say) so that a fair, equitable decision can be made."

The project is due to be completed by early October.

It will feature a fort, koala and kangaroo springers and excavator, flying fox, swings and a barbecue.

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