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Smithfield High School student Anika Weremchuk shows Cairns Mayor Bob Manning her winning design


Smithfield State High School student builds Queensland’s ‘perfect’ community

Anika Werenchuk from Smithfield State High School student has won top honours in a state-wide competition that encouraged students to create and plan their perfect community.


Anika was today presented a $2500 cheque by Cairns Mayor Bob Manning for her winning entry in the Local Government Association of Queensland’s (LGAQ) “Better Communities” competition.

The Better Communities competition offered a $2,500 each to the primary school and high school-aged students who built the best community, balancing realistic economic, environmental and community factors.

Students used the Better Communities simulation game – which the LGAQ developed with award-winning Queensland game development studio Bail! Enemy Jet and local comms experts Articulous – as the platform to create their entries.

LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam said: “The entries we received from across the state showed a lot of creativity and innovative thinking.  Town planning and civic leadership require out of the box thinking and it is clear there is a lot of ingenuity and big ideas out there in Queensland’s schools.”


“There is a lot of ingenuity and big ideas out there in Queensland’s schools.”


The judges said of the Smithfield State High School Year 12 student’s design: “Anika’s entry was outstanding in that it balanced density with environmental protection.



“Schools, universities, and hospitals generate a lot of traffic from students and workers. By siting them close together, you encourage a walkable place. Well done!”

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said that competitions, such as this, had the potential to inspire the next generation of town planner and civic leaders.

“We need to involve young people when considering the future direction of our communities and consider their aspirations,” Cr Manning said.

“Everyone has different ideas on what the perfect community looks like, and how we balance aspects of liveability with environmental and economic concerns.

“Anika’s entry was outstanding in that it balanced density with environmental protection.”

“This competition provided the perfect platform for young people to create what they would like to see of our future cities and communities, and I congratulate Anika on her winning entry, perhaps one day we will see her helping Council to develop its future city plans.”

Anika said sustainability and liveability were a focus of her design.

“I made sure there were lots of high-density buildings because they’re a more sustainable use of space, and I built parks and created jobs so that people would want to live there,” she explained.

“Whenever I made decisions, these were the principles I had in mind – how I could make my community better regarding these two things.”

She said the competition had the potential to grow interest in the role of city planning.

“For some, the interest in town planning may only last as long as the competition, but I think there’s the chance that even after the competition ends, some people will still want to pursue it in the future,” she said. “The competition was a good way to expose young people to what’s involved in town planning and what they need to consider when making these kinds of decisions.”

The competition judges were former Attorney-General, former Minister for Local Government and lecturer in Strategic Metropolitan and Transport and Infrastructure Planning Paul Lucas, planner and University of Queensland School of Earth and Environmental Sciences associate lecturer Laurel Johnson, and LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam AM.


Written by Jules Steer

Jules Steer is the Publisher of Oasis Magazine. With a career in Business Development spanning three decades, she's stressed, #blessed, and coffee obsessed ☕

A solo mum of four "determined", "focussed" and "energetic" young kids, she is often found with her head in her hands, lamenting her latest parenting fail.

A cricket-loving hip-hop tragic, very ordinary triathlete and champion cheerleader of all things #Cairns, Jules is easily recharged with Shiraz and Vodka - sometimes in the same glass.

Warning: Most situations get sweary quickly.