By JONATHON HOWARD
THE Sunshine Coast Council has made a pre-emptive strike against a push to include Doonan, Eumundi, Verrierdale and Weyba Downs into Noosa Council.
Sunshine Coast Council mayor Mark Jamieson said any further changes to council’s boundaries would not be in the best interests of the residents of the Sunshine Coast.
“This region has already gone through amalgamation and de-amalgamation – and all the uncertainty and division they brought with them,” mayor Jamieson said.
“Enough is enough, this region deserves the opportunity to get on with the job without any further destabilisation,” he said.
But EDV president Johanne Wright said the argument was now about democracy and hit back at Cr Jamieson’s comments.
“It does not matter if you are for or against a boundary change- this pre-emptive move by the mayor is designed to rob the residents in this area of the opportunity to have their say. It makes no sense at all,” she said.
Cr Jamieson cited several reasons to oppose the boundary change including further disruption to our community, potential to erode business confidence in the region and what he said was already creating division, instability and uncertainty between communities in the region.
“The Minister for Local Government will now be informed of the unanimous decision at today’s Sunshine CoastCouncil meeting,” Cr Jamieson said.
“In two conversations I have had with the minister on this matter, he has advised me he will only refer the proposal by the EDV Group to a Change Commission if the proposal has the support of both the Noosa Shire and SunshineCoast councils.”
Cr Jamieson said the EDV suburbs had been serviced, supported and resourced by his council and its predecessors since 1912.
“And we want them to remain a vital part of the Sunshine Coast community,” he said.
“This region – and this council – should be allowed to get on with the job of creating one of the best places in Australia to live, work, play and invest – without being constantly subjected to the uncertainty and disruption that boundary changes produce.”
However, Ms Wright has hit back at Cr Jamieson saying there were good grounds for a minor boundary re-alignment that could benefit both councils.
“Why do they not want to hear that,” she said.
“The best outcome for all is for an independent boundary change commissioner to consult with the community and the councils and make an informed decision based on clear unbiased evidence of what the community wants.
“To proclaim that a small per cent of the community (2 per cent) debating the pros and cons of a boundary change is destabilising the whole of the Sunshine Coast is ludicrous.
“Boundary changes are a part and parcel of local government governance and there are many examples of such changes being made without any disruption to the community at large – it is not a de-amalgamation process which is very, very different.
“It smacks of desperation – what has the council to lose by allowing the process to go through – we are prepared to accept the decision of the umpire – why not the council?”
Ms Wright said she would not pull back from the move.
“We are not going away and will continue to consult with our community and will not be cowed by a council that rides roughshod over it residents. In fact, it makes our case for moving to Noosa even more compelling.”
Meanwhile, State Member for Noosa has spoken in support of the EDV re-boundary bid.“I support the joining of EDV with Noosa Council provided that Noosa and Sunshine Coast Councils can agree on a fair process which considers the needs of all residents,” Mr Elmes said.
“I was disappointed to hear that Sunshine Coast Council decided last week to oppose the merger, even before considering a submission from the EDV group.
“That’s as undemocratic as anything Labor did under Beattie and Bligh,”he said.
Have your say: Do you think the Sunshine Coast Council has underminded democracy in making a pre-emptive strike against the EDV? Email: Newsdesk@noosatoday.net.au