Division 9 - all important to Coolum, now has three candidates for the position of councillor. All three appear quite different so the choice for voters may not be easy.
Councillors have to contribute to direction and governance of the council. Keeping the staff under control is a challenge, or fiefdoms may emerge, or worse.
'Appointed' people must defer to 'Elected' people. That said, our councillor's priority has to be the interests of the residents of Division 9.
May I repeat my take on local issues:
First, the shire's North Shore is different to the region south of the Maroochy River. It interfaces with Noosa Shire which has a laidback character - different to that of the Maroochydore to Caloundra strip. Our low impact village style is one that many residents want to see maintained. The strong negative response to the proposed Sekisui development at Yaroomba provides a strong example of the ideals of the community. Development at all costs must be resisted.
Second, Coolum adjoins the Noosa National Park to the north and has a floodplain to the west. Local 'greenies' - noted for their dedication to the local environment - have a dream of a 'green corridor' that would provide a permanent natural link between the Maroochy River and the Noosa National Park, to preserve natural vegetation and sustain local wildlife. We need our elected representatives to recognise and support this concept and to act to achieve a result before opportunistic developments stymie it. This does not exclude all development; however building densities will need to be set with this need in mind. Maybe hamlets will result - that would not be bad. Firebreaks could readily be provided in a competent plan.
Thirdly, council services are notably weak on weekends when the North Shore is fun of visitors. Parking is becoming a serious issue for residents also. We need local rangers to deal with the poor behaviour of some visitors, with parking, and illegal camping topmost. Their hours need to fit local needs, particularly nighttime and weekends.
Perhaps our candidates can respond with an outline of their priorities and how they would address the needs identified here.
In reference to Ken Dredge's letter in Advertiser January 23, I'd like to respond as a Candidate for Division 9 of the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.
The Sunshine Coast is a community of communities and this is reflected the Town Plan. Development is limited north of the river to retain the character of less urban communities with lower height limits, restriction on densities and vast tracts of land which are unsuitable for residential development. I believe that since 2014, the Town Plan has had too many ad-hoc amendments and allowed for too many relaxations. In my opinion, development t applications need to adhere to the Town Plan and not come with an expectation of approval outside of these restrictions.
I am a strong supporter of The Blue Heart project, which is a joint initiative between Sunshine Coast Regional Council, Unity Water and Department of Environment and Science. The project its designed to manage the most critical areas of the floodplain, strengthen the Maroochy-Noosa Wallum Corridor and provide an alternative income source for private landholders via Blue Carbon. This is a fantastic initiative that I want to see protected from failure.
I believe local services in Division 9 could be greatly improved. Aside from increasing available weekend staff, residents want more footpaths, improved parking, upgraded roads, bridge repairs, accessible public transport options and a hard waste collection service. Council money is being spent on projects south of the River, where residents of Division 9 receive little to no direct benefit. Residents would rather see services and infrastructure improve their daily lives.
In addition to the issues raised by Mr Dredge, I stand for open meetings, transparency and making information accessible, a focus on encouraging industries that provide secure, well paid jobs with career opportunities to set up shop here on the Sunshine Coast, and vastly improved community consultation processes. In my opinion the community needs to be placed much higher on the list of council's priorities.