There is hope for Port Pirie amid the coronavirus crisis

MY CITY: Mayor Leon Stephens admires the main street of the city that he loves.
MY CITY: Mayor Leon Stephens admires the main street of the city that he loves.

First of a series of columns by Port Pirie Regional Council Mayor Leon Stephens:

This crisis that we are experiencing brings hardship to Port Pirie regional residents as well as offers opportunities.

Firstly, I must complement you on your attitude toward social-distancing and the respect for each other that you have shown during the coronavirus pandemic.

What I have learnt about myself during this time is the importance of family and the interaction with people, whether it be at your local footy club or the restaurant you like or the coffee shop where you meet your friends. I miss the coffee shop the most.

But also it has taught me of the values we have to offer in this magnificent area. Today, with high-speed internet, you can conduct your business confidently from your own home - so do you have to live in an overcrowded city?

Compare this with someone living in a city of more than a million people. They cannot travel or shop, they were the first to be laid off because of the volumes in their workplace, everything is more expensive from rent to rates, and they don't have a family network that can assist them through these tough times like the COVID-19 era.

We, on the other hand, have employers that have fought to keep our jobs, and where possible have allowed us to work from home which we can do quite easily with high speed internet.

We have a university campus through which we might be able to reskill ourselves by furthering our tertiary education during the down times. There is a great education system for your children, private and public.

Travel to work at the worst is half-an-hour. Communities are small enough to allow shopping. Perhaps you will be called by name by other shoppers. The average home costs $206,000.

In this area you can experience the beautiful Flinders Ranges, the wonderful Spencer Gulf and Clare Valley wine district and the outback with all the fresh air you can consume within an hour of your home.

Why wouldn't you, if you were a city executive, pack up the family and restart your life in the magnificent Southern Flinders Ranges where, whatever life deals you in the future, you and your family will be insulated because of this magnificent location?

Yours sincerely,

Mayor Leon Stephens