FAVOURITE SON: A call for the new equestrian building to be named after Kilkivan stalwart Vern Berry, who died in June, has stalled amid questions of support and timing.
FAVOURITE SON: A call for the new equestrian building to be named after Kilkivan stalwart Vern Berry, who died in June, has stalled amid questions of support and timing. Renee Albrecht

Debate stalls naming of new $2m Gympie region facility

A PITCH to name the region's new equestrian building after a Kilkivan "favourite son" has stalled over questions of timing and community support.

Gympie Regional Council was asked this week by councillor Hilary Smerdon to endorse christening the soon-to-open equestrian building after Kilkivan stalwart Vern Berry, who died unexpectedly last month.

Cr Smerdon called Mr Berry "a very committed and community-minded man" and urged the naming in recognition of his dedication to the region's west.

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"Without his support a lot of the local community organisations would have folded," Cr Smerdon said.

Mr Berry died on June 18, aged 60.

However several councillors queried the proposal's timing and support. Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch asked if such a motion would be "more appropriate" coming from community groups.

 

The roof is put on the Kilkivan Equestrian Centre.
Kilkivan Equestrian Centre. Gympie Regional Council

He was supported by councillors Dan Stewart and Mark McDonald.

"I need to see the public and community bring this forward, not us," Cr McDonald said.

Mayor Mick Curran said there was no denying Mr Berry's reputation but he had taken calls from residents saying the proposal was "too soon".

"There's no objection to what you've put forward ... but I want to know it's what the community wants," Cr Curran said.

 

Gives Everyone a chance to get out and do a little more with their horse Vern Berry.Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times
Vern Berry. Renee Albrecht

Cr Glen Hartwig took the view that "as (Cr Smerdon was) the community representative, this was instigated by the community and then the councillor".

"Had the community not desired this, it wouldn't have to come to the council," he said.

Cr Smerdon agreed to leave the matter for next month's meeting "but will return with letters from the groups involved".