Monday, April 23, 2012

Private über alles

In trying to make sense of the polarization on Bowen that was evident during the National Park debate, the Cape Roger Curtis saga and the recent election it has become clear to me that the political split on the island is not left vs right or developer vs environmentalist but rather public vs private.

So islanders, what do you make of this dichotomy. There are times and places when the public interest is clearly supreme - clean drinking water comes to mind. And there are times when the private interest is supreme such as what colour I can paint my house.

But what about at the margins of public and private? For instance your stance in the proposed piers at the Cape will probably depend on whether you see it as an issue of a property owner exercising a right to have a private dock in front of their land. Or whether you think the public access and use of the foreshore should frame the decision.

Likewise with ferry marshaling. Would it be fair to say that those who are pushing for a loop road feel an affinity for the private development of the Cove whereas those who are not in favour instead see the public interest in the parkland and wildlife as primary?

What do you make of this split? And would you be willing to engage in dialogue across these two world views?