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Queensland

Logan Live: Wednesday October 16, 2013

Date

Welcome to Brisbane Live, where you'll find rolling coverage of the news as it happens in Brisbane. From 8.30am to 5pm each working day, Brisbane Live features updates from our team of Brisbane-based reporters, incisive analysis, giveaways, polls, video and photos

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Natalie Bochenski: Well, that's it from the team here at Logan City Council HQ.

It's been a great day getting to learn about this growing city and its incredibly passionate people.

Here's a tidbit from behind the scenes today: every time a councillor has come in and identified the division they represent, they've all followed it up with the phrase "The BEST division!". A small indication of how much devotion there is in local government.

Logan's expecting a low of 15 overnight before a sunny day tomorrow with a top of 29.

Good night Logan, and see you again soon!

Adventurer Andrew Abrahams.

Adventurer Andrew Abrahams. Photo: Supplied

Natalie Bochenski: As we wind down after a busy day in Logan, there's time to give a shout out to Andrew Abrahams, Logan's own rowing world record holder.

The Rochedale South resident is the fastest man to ever row one million metres on a rowing machine, which he did at the Sanctuary Cove boat show in 2012.

In December, Abrahams is heading off to row solo across the Atlantic ocean - a journey of 5000kms in just 46 days.

Funds raised through his Adventure 4 a Cure program will go to disadvanted children through Lions Clubs and the Couee Community.

Logan City Council is sponsoring him to the tune of $20,000, which means its "Visit Logan" logo will be emblazoned across Abrahams' boat.

Good luck, Andrew!

Natalie Bochenski: You might remember Jumpin' Jay Phoenix, who recently scored a world record for doing 150 bungy jumps in 24 hours at the Kingston Park Raceway.

His efforts have inspired Councillor Steve Swenson, who's going to face his own fears and take the plunge on November 12 at the same facility.

Cr Swenson says he wants to tick an item off his bucket list while raising funds for the much-needed extension to the Logan Hospital.

Natalie Bochenski: Logan City Council is the only council in all of Queensland that monitors security cameras at local railway stations.

The 10-year-old monitoring room receives feeds from 351 cameras, footage from which can be beamed straight to police, so crimes can be stopped in their tracks.

"Just this morning we caught some graffiti artists at Woodridge train station," Deputy mayor Russell Lutton says.

He adds that security operators (who work 24/7, 365 days a year) have saved lives, by alerting emergency services to potential suicides and inebriated persons at risk.

Deputy Lutton says that's meant both calcuable and incalcuable benefits to the Logan community.

 

Inside the LCC security camera monitoring room.

Inside the LCC security camera monitoring room. Photo: Supplied

Natalie Bochenski: Here's a free and fun game to play with the kids.

Head to Logan city and offer to pay $50 to the first one who can find a parking meter.

You'll never have to pay out. Why? Because Logan City Council is the only local government in southeast Queensland that doesn't have parking meters!

In fact, Councillor Graham Able thinks the extension of parking meter hours and prices in Brisbane could affect Lord Mayor Graham Quirk at the next election, with many local businesses and restaurants upset.

"It's a sleeper issue in Brisbane. It could be disastrous."

Natalie Bochenski: If you're passing through Logan Village of an evening, take a few moments to stop and visit the "Forest of Memories" on Albert Street.

The installation consists of 15 totems each stamped with the image of historical figures from the region, including Captain Patrick Logan, after whom the city was named.

At night, the totems change through different colours, courtesy of LED lights embedded inside them.

"It really is just fantastic, it sends shivers up the spine, it’s like ghosts coming out of the parkland," Councillor for Division 4 and project spearhead Don Peterson says.

 

The "Forest of Memories" totems at Logan Village.

The "Forest of Memories" totems at Logan Village. Photo: Supplied

Natalie Bochenski: Here's an inspiring story!

The One Hope youth vocal group was founded by Councillor Steve Swenson after the City of Choice summit in Logan earlier this year.

A guitarist and drummer himself, he decided that young people could be a role model of hope in the city - and get great exposure along the way.

"I believe as a councillor I’m here to find a need, find someone who can meet it and put them together, or find someone with talent, find an opportunity and put them together," he says.

One Hope currently has 14 members, most from Polynesian backgrounds, and they perform R&B, gospel, mash-ups and other music.

Cr Swenson says the next round of auditions is on November 2, and its open to any Logan resident aged 12 to 18. Eventually he wants to found a One Hope foundation which will use any donations to help students with study costs, as well as funding education programs in South Sudan.

Councillor Steve Swenson and members of the One Hope vocal group.

Councillor Steve Swenson and members of the One Hope vocal group. Photo: Natalie Bochenski

Natalie Bochenski: Councillor for Division 9 Phil Pidgeon heads up Logan's Parks, Sport and Community Services department, one of the biggest in council.

He's also a proud supporter of the Logan Thunder, Queensland's only national basketball team in southeast Queensland (after the Brisbane Bullets and Gold Coast Blaze folded).

You can even hear Cr Pidgeon cheering them on during games at the Logan Metro Indoor Sports Centre, as he does the long and loud three-point calls over the PA system.

"When I first started I did it for the other team as well, but I was accosted by fans very quickly and told that was not the accepted practice!" he laughs.

Cr Pidgeon says American import Laurie Coehn is the best three-point shot in the world, having scored 130 baskets off 132 attempts.

"It's a great live experience, and it would be good to see the community supporting this team more."

The Thunder's next game is November 1 against Sydney.

Councillor Phil Pidgeon is a proud supporter of the Logan Thunder WNBL team.

Councillor Phil Pidgeon is a proud supporter of the Logan Thunder WNBL team. Photo: Natalie Bochenski

Natalie Bochenski: Here's an artist's impression of the planned revamp of the Beenleigh town centre, which will include construction of a new town square.

The $5.99 million dollar project will get underway next March, to mark Beenleigh's 150th anniversary. The aim is to make it a community hub with dining space, entertainment and even twilight markets.

There's also a great fly-through you can watch online.

An artist's impression of the planned Beenleigh Town Square.

An artist's impression of the planned Beenleigh Town Square. Photo: Natalie Bochenski

SONY DSC Councillor Graham Able from Division 5, with a furry friend.

SONY DSC Councillor Graham Able from Division 5, with a furry friend. Photo: Supplied

Natalie Bochenski: Councillor Graham Able is one of the most passionate local politicans you're likely to meet. I'd wager he'd give Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale a run for his money!

Cr Able's proudest achievement is instigating the free "Senior Pets for Seniors" program, which matches elderly residents with older pets that have been surrendered, so that they both benefit from the company.

"To see the smiles on some of the senior’s faces... it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me, great therapy," he says.

Cr Able also says that Logan will retain cat registration (not following the lead of Brisbane City Council, which recently announced it would end the practice).

"Over the last five years, since we've had cat registration, we've had fewer complaints from dog-owners about having to pay, because they feel they're equal now. It's also reduced the incidence of cat fights and cats on roads being hit by cars."

Natalie Bochenski: Underwood Park is set to get a whole lot more adventurous.

Councillor for Division 1 Lisa Bradley says over $700,000 is being invested in a mammoth playground for the young... and the young at heart.

Underwood Park is already known for its excellent facilities for mountain bikers and skateboarders.

"This is going to lift the park into a different realm," Cr Bradley says.

"We are going to have people external to Logan coming in solely to use that playground."

The facility will be completed by July next year.

Councillor Lisa Bradley, with plans for the Underwood Park adventure park.

Councillor Lisa Bradley, with plans for the Underwood Park adventure park. Photo: Natalie Bochenski

Natalie Bochenski: Thanks to everyone who entered our competition to win a fantastic picnic prize pack from Logan City Council.

We had great suggestions for picnic destinations in the region including Daisy Hill Forest, Alexandrer Clark Park, the Eagleby Wetlands and Meakin Park.

Mayor Pam Parker has now drawn the winner - and congratulations to TammyS!

Her suggestion was:

"The Berrinba Wetlands is fantastic! Great playground areas for the kids, heaps of bbq facilities, fantastic walking tracks and lots of local wildlife. My family (and our dogs!) really enjoy going there."

We'll be in touch regarding your prize. Happy picnicking!

Natalie Bochenski: Q: What is your vision for Logan's future?

I want a financially, social and environtmentally sustainable city.

I want Logan to be a great place to raise a family, to live, learn, work and play, with diverse lifestyle choices of urban, rural and semi-rural lifestyles.

Everything I do is about jobs. I life, breathe and promote Logan to create jobs for today and future generations, while responding to the community's day to day requirements.

Natalie Bochenski: Q: You've recently begun spruiking Logan as a tourism destination. What is the likelihood of Logan being desirable for tourists?

"Logan's come of age, we're 34 years young and we've come of age. that means we have to now explore tourism.

Council prudently bought several parcels of land a few years ago along the Pacific Motorway.

This is the area where the Alma Park Zoo proposes to relocate to when the economic times are suitable. But the abundance of land in this area makes it a desirable location for a tourist destination between Bribane and the Gold Coast.

We see the opporutnities for promoting Logan, attracting investment and creating jobs right here in the heart of southeast Queensland.

Natalie Bochenski: Q: How do you counteract the - often undeserved - negativity about Logan?

"I am passionate about promoting Logan like there is no tomorrow. Like a lioness I am defensive of my cubs, and there are 292,000 residents in Logan.

We have put a strategy in place to promote the positives of Logan, and we're calling on our community to be ambassadors and promote those positives.

We had the Rediscover Logan brochures printed to power our citizens with knowledge about the amazing stars in our community, the success stories, and where we're headed - the past, the present, the future.

Knowledge is a powerful tool, and if I can encourage 1 per cent of our community to be ambassadors to Logan, I have 2990 ambassadors. If I can encourage 5 per cent, which is my goal, I have 14, 500 ambassadors promoting our city. People will have to sit up and listen when you have that many people.

If we're going to shape the future of Logan, it has to be for our youth. And what we do today affects our future.

While I'm passionate about attracting an additional 70,000 jobs over the next 20 years, we have to ensure our children are educated to become the future CEOs of the companies that are coming to Logan."

Natalie Bochenski: Q: What is your proudest achievement as Mayor so far?

"As an organisation we've had to do a lot of restructuring to bring about change. It's been integral to biulding the foundation of the future.

The first term was about dealing with local government reform. This term is about shaping the future and the coming years are about the implementation. It's been integral to get the right staff in council with a progressive and entrepreneurial attitude, and finding new ways of business so we can take the financial pressure off ratepayers."

Logan Mayor Pam Parker.

Logan Mayor Pam Parker. Photo: Peter Wanny

Natalie Bochenski: Q: What made you so passionate about Logan that you wanted to be Mayor?

"At the time of amalgamation, we had three regions coming into one. There was resistance by the Gold Coast and Beaudesert area coming into Logan.

I thought who cares and knows the community better than what I do, and who has a reputation for working and getting outcomes for our city?

I was very happy being a local councillor, because the role is very different to mayor, and I was very fulfilled, because you get to help people that others pass by.

I think that when people have got hard luck stories, we've got to walk in their shoes, and reach out and help.

They always say 'Here she goes, Mother Teresa, wanting to save the world', but you know, you've got to take extenuating circumstances into account."

I ran under the premise of 'The People's Mayor', and I still abide by that."

Councillor Jennie Breene from Division 12.

Councillor Jennie Breene from Division 12. Photo: Natalie Bochenski

Natalie Bochenski: Jennie Breen is a passionate Beenleigh resident of over 20 years. For the past 18 months she's been Councillor for Division 12.

Next year, Beenleigh will celebrate its 150th anniversary, and Cr Breen is excited about a $5.99 million makeover for its town centre.

"It's going to refresh Beenleigh, and make it a place to really enjoy, and that will attract investment into the area," she says.

At the moment, there are six roads leading into a central roundabout. That will be replaced with a lighted intersection here'll be a whole new streetscape, underground powerlines and outdoor entertaining areas.

Construction will start in March 2014.

Woodridge boy and QTC artistic director Wesley Enoch.

Woodridge boy and QTC artistic director Wesley Enoch. Photo: Natalie Bochenski

Natalie Bochenski: Wesley Enoch is one of Logan's brightest sons.

The first indigenous Australian to head a state theatre company, Woodridge-raised Enoch became Artistic Director of the Queensland Theatre Company in 2010.

After negative media attention on the city earlier this year, he realised he was in a position to help push creativity and art in the community.

"With us it’s about not waiting to be invited, it’s about going out and making a difference," he says.

Since then, QTC has been involved in a number of projects with local young people, including a performance called Stradbroke Dreaming, based on the poems ofOodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker).

Enoch says that will continue in 2014, and he's also pursuing opportunities to do "local touring" - that is, take QTC shows to the Logan Entertainment Centre.

A fantastic picnic prize pack up for grabs.

A fantastic picnic prize pack up for grabs. Photo: Natalie Bochenski

Natalie Bochenski: Don't forget we've got a fantastic picnic prize pack up for grabs!

Simply leave a comment telling us your favourite picnic spot in Logan, and you could win a cooler bag with all the trimmings.

We're going to get Mayor Pam Parker to draw the winner in about an hour's time, so get in now.

Natalie Bochenski: Meet Logan Deputy Mayor Russell Lutton and Patrick the Pace Car.

Cr Lutton chairs the council's road safety committee, and Patrick is a clever - and inexpensive - innovation to improve driving behaviour around schools at pick-up times.

"Some of the things that happen at schools during pick up times is crazy," he says.

"They seem to put their brain in reverse, or neutral, when they go to pick up their kids”.

Enter Patrick. The car is deployed to schools across the region randomly, where it drives around at 40km/h, slowly all other traffic down.

 

Deputy Mayor Russell Lutton with Patrick the Pace Car.

Deputy Mayor Russell Lutton with Patrick the Pace Car. Photo: Supplied

Natalie Bochenski: The current unemployment rate in Logan is 7.2 per cent, compared to Greater Brisbane's 5.9 per cent.

Chair of the Governance, Finance and Economic Development committee Luke Smith says the city has a major focus on attracting investment, and has just been on a trade mission with state treasurer Tim Nicholls to China, Korea and a side trip to Malaysia.

Based on a presentation he gave in China, Cr Smith says he attracted a big contingent of potential investors.

"We had 20 Chinese millionaires in a bus driving around Logan looking at investment opportunities."

"Based on that, they're coming back in April with proposals - for factories, hotels, training facilities, that sort of thing."

He says the city's secret weapon is its position between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, meaning rather than having offices in both cities, they can save by setting up in Logan.

Councillor for Division 6 Luke Smith.

Councillor for Division 6 Luke Smith. Photo: Natalie Bochenski

Natalie Bochenski: Councillor for Division 6 Luke Smith chairs Logan's Governance, Finance and Economic Development commitee, which essentially makes him the city's treasurer.

Logan delivered a $776 million dollar budget this year, its largest ever.

Councillor Smith is keen to promote the Logan Office of Economic Development, which is a unique - and free! - service for business owners, to help them establish, manage and grow their companies.

"It's a phenomenally under-utilised service," he says.

Cr Smith says LOED was responsible for keeping bread manufacturer TipTop in town - it had wanted to expand and thought it would have to leave the region.

Instead, a $12 expansion to its existing Slacks Creek facility was agreed on, and it opened yesterday. That means 500 jobs stay, and more will be created.

Natalie Bochenski: The Logan Art Gallery's latest exhibition is called Art Waves, and it features astonishing work from high school students.

139 students from 31 schools around the region (from all divisions) are represented.

The exhibition celebrates and nurtures the creative talents of young local artists - some of whom will no doubt go on to make a career in the industry

"In Your Hair" (mixed media) by Year 12 student Kim Long.

"In Your Hair" (mixed media) by Year 12 student Kim Long. Photo: Natalie Bochenski

Division 11 Councillor Travina Schwarz.

Division 11 Councillor Travina Schwarz. Photo: Natalie Bochenski

Natalie Bochenski: Did you know Logan was home to the biggest waste recycling facility in the southern hemisphere?

Based at the Browns Plains SmarTiP, the facility opens to the public every Friday to Monday for a market, which attracts 1500 people every week to shop. All proceeds go to the Mayoress' Community Services Inc, a charity.

"It's definitely a case of one man's trash is another man's treasure," Division 11 Councillor Travina Schwarz says.

"We even have international councils come and study our waste management strategies."

Councillor Schwarz says community groups putting on events can benefit from the "very economical" prices, and that businesses wanting cheap "practice" goods for apprentices and training should definitely check it out.

And she says the strangest thing she's ever seen at the market is an antique commode!

 

A fantastic picnic prize pack up for grabs.

A fantastic picnic prize pack up for grabs. Photo: Natalie Bochenski

Natalie Bochenski: We've been given this fantastic picnic prize pack to give away to one of our Logan Live readers.

It contains a picnic blanket, cooler bag, cutlery, thermal coffee cups, hats and a towel.

Simply leave a comment with your favourite picnic spot in the Logan region.

We'll have Mayor Pam Parker draw the winner when she pops by at 2pm to chat about the city.

Robyn Daw from the Logan Art Gallery.

Robyn Daw from the Logan Art Gallery. Photo: Supplied

Natalie Bochenski: Logan's brightly coloured Art Gallery on the corner of Wembley Road and Jacaranda Avenue is hard to miss.

Program leader for cultural services Robyn Daw worked for the National Gallery in Canberra and Arts Queensland before joining Logan City Council 18 months ago, and she's very proud of the gallery's output of eight or nine six-week exhibitions every year.

"There's always something new and something exciting," she says.

"We showcase local artists’ work – not just painters but designers, crafts, new media and fashion."

Division 7 Councillor Laurie Smith.

Division 7 Councillor Laurie Smith. Photo: Natalie Bochenski

Natalie Bochenski: Councillor Laurie Smith for Divison 7 has just popped by to talk to us about new community facilities across the region.

Council has just spent $20,000 upgrading the lighting at the Middle Park sporting ground at Boronia Heights.

The Logan West Lions Club is planning to host twilight Farmers' Markets every second Friday at the site, so the lighting was necessary.

The ground has also has new public fitness equipment installed, and is home to the largest dog off-leash zone in Logan.

John Webb outside the Logan Entertainment Centre.

John Webb outside the Logan Entertainment Centre. Photo: Supplied

Natalie Bochenski: John Webb is the venue manager at the Logan Entertainment Centre, which is located in the same site as Logan City Council.

The centre is a multi-purpose venue with a focus on community events. Tomorrow night it’s playing host to “Spark it Up!”, a schools culture fest.

John says Samoan and Tongan students have been so serious about their routines, they spent much of their school holidays practising in the forecourt outside the LEC using the windows as mirrors.

The venue also plays hosts to big names – just last week comedian Arj Barker was in town to a near sell-out crowd.

Natalie Bochenski: Good morning from beautiful downtown Logan Central.

I’m here all day for Logan Live, the latest in our series of live blogs from around southeast Queensland.

It’s currently 24 degrees in Logan, heading to a top of 27. The forecast says it's partly cloudy, but the is sun shining where I’m based at the Logan City Council headquarters along Wembley Road.

Sort comments by:
  • For a more active picnic, you can't go past the Tennis Courts at Shailer Pioneer Park. It's a relatively new park, but definitely among the best in the city.

    Commenter
    The Realistic
    Location
    Logan
    Date and time
    October 16, 2013, 3:39PM
  • fave picnic spot is the Woodridge markets Sunday morning.
    Coffee bacon and eggs. or kransky.
    If you are big hungry and get there early enough get a ticket to the hangi

    Commenter
    tqft
    Location
    Date and time
    October 16, 2013, 3:18PM
  • Red bridge park is the best spot to picnic in Logan !!!!

    Commenter
    BJJK
    Location
    Mt Warren Pk
    Date and time
    October 16, 2013, 2:57PM
  • The Berrinba Wetlands is fantastic! Great playground areas for the kids, heaps of bbq facilities, fantastic walking tracks and lots of local wildlife. My family (and our dogs!) really enjoy going there.

    Commenter
    TammyS
    Location
    Date and time
    October 16, 2013, 2:50PM
  • Favourite spot for a picnic with the family are the parks in the Arise Estate, Rochedale. Great playgrounds, BBQs, shelters, shady grassed areas and dog-off-leash areas.

    Commenter
    PrincessBelle
    Location
    Date and time
    October 16, 2013, 2:33PM
  • Eagleby Wetlands - so perfect on a Sunday morning for a quiet stroll in the sun.

    Commenter
    Becallison
    Location
    Date and time
    October 16, 2013, 2:33PM
  • Alexander Clark Park is fantastic, we have been going there for 20 years, great place for all the family even the dog, facilities have improved so much over the years, you can even try catching a fish. Weddings, parties anything, it is also just a nice place for a walk this is a tremendous facility on the river.

    Commenter
    Boyd'o
    Location
    Tanah Merah
    Date and time
    October 16, 2013, 2:30PM
  • We love going to Daisy Hill Forest, it is so quiet and peaceful with lots of open spaces to run around and play

    Commenter
    Murase
    Location
    Date and time
    October 16, 2013, 2:26PM
  • I love the Daisy hill Conservation Park. Great facilities and always the chance of spotting a koala.

    Commenter
    LoganM
    Location
    Waterford
    Date and time
    October 16, 2013, 2:20PM
  • Berrinba Wetlands Park is fantastic. Great facilities for a family, through to large groups. Playgrounds, walking tracks through bushland, sculptures all well maintained and designed.

    Commenter
    Bryden
    Location
    Jimboomba
    Date and time
    October 16, 2013, 12:19PM
  • The perfect picnic spot is Meakin Park. Lots of land, easy access and the free entertainment of whatever local sporting teams are playing just can't be beat!

    Commenter
    null
    Location
    Logan
    Date and time
    October 16, 2013, 12:11PM
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