THROUGH her previous role as President of Flight Path Forum and the associated research into the actions undertaken by council with the Sunshine Coast Airport Project, Ms Suarez believes there are changes that need to take place to create a better Sunshine Coast and she will be running as a candidate in the upcoming local government elections in March 2020 in Division 9.
“Sometimes you choose your battle and sometimes your battle choose you.” Maria said.
“Councils should listen to community concerns and consult widely prior to making decisions. It shouldn't be the other way around. It's becoming clear that the community face many challenges when it comes to having any real input on council projects."
Ms Suarez completed 11 years of service with the Royal Australian Air Force, then moved to the Sunshine Coast in 1998 to undertake a business degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast. She has lived on acreage at Peregian with her family since 2011 and remains an active member of her community.
"The information I uncovered this past year has ignited my passion for better representation of the community and I refuse to accept the status quo that things can't be improved or that the community has no choice."
"Sustainable development seems to be the hot topic at the moment but there is also a clear need for sincere community engagement, enhanced environmental protections, encouragement of employment diversity and bringing council meetings back out into the open for transparency and accountability."
Ms Suarez understands that the challenge with development is to plan for liveable communities by balancing economic, social and environmental requirements.
"It's not right that so many ratepayers across the entire Sunshine Coast region have to put their hands in their pockets again to raise funds to challenge council decisions - council should be working with the community not against them."
"The next council will have some hard calls to make and will need to focus not just on the challenges from past decisions, but also on opportunities that will bring positive change for the future."
The Electoral Commission of Queensland has suggested changes to the Sunshine Coast Regional Local Government area, with Division 9 proposed to encompass much of what was previously Division 10. Suburbs in the Division 9 proposal include, Weyba Downs, Peregian Springs, Coolum Beach, Doonan, Verrierdale, Yandina Creek, Valdora, Maroochy River, Eumundi, North Arm, Ninderry, Yandina, Kulangoor, Bridges, Eerwah Vale, Bellie Park, Gheerulla, Kureelpa, Kiamba and Cooloolabin.
More information on the local government boundary review can be found via the following link. https://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/electoral-boundaries/local-government-boundary-reviews/divisional-boundary-reviews/sunshine-coast-regional-council