By Rebecca Mugridge and Lachlan Morris
Sunshine Coast Criminal Investigation Branch officer-in-charge Daren Edwards shot to fame when he crash-tackled a man during a police press conference last year.
Mr Edwards was recently named one of the Sunshine Coast’s most influential people, making the ‘POWER 100’ list in The Sunshine Coast Daily.
A career managing a large police force, interacting with a wide variety of community groups and being responsible for the safety of communities across the Sunshine Coast sees him as a strong contender to replace outgoing Cr Steve Robinson.
His campaign calls for more decisive action, transparency and community engagement in decision making.
“Our Council is currently facing a host of challenges, which if left unaddressed will have significant implications for our lifestyle and community,” he said.
“Tackling these challenges will require better-informed decision-making, increased community consultation and greater transparency with Council meetings.”
About the division
The seat of Division 9 is currently held by Cr Steve Robinson who departs office at the upcoming 2020 election after a significant win at the last election.
Cr Robinson was first elected in 2012 with a 22 per cent vote and was re-elected in 2016 with the dominant 51 per cent vote.
Division 9 covers Bli Bli, Coolum Beach, Doonan, Maroochy River, Peregian Beach, Peregian Springs, Valdora, Verrierdale, Weyba Downs and Yandina Creek.
The diversity of Division 9 includes Coolum Beach, a popular tourist destination through to Peregian Springs which is home to the endangered Wallum Sedge Frog.
Bli Bli and Peregian Springs are the two most densely populated areas in the division, according to 2016 census data the combined number of residents in Division 9 is approximately 34,313 people.
Residents of Division 9 have voiced their opinions on social media about the big issues for the region.
One major issue locals raised was the removal of potential fire hazards after the tumultuous fire season which severely impacted Peregian Springs, Lake Weyba and Weyba Downs as well as other suburbs in the area.
Overhanging trees and bushes that encroach on the major roads come have been pinpointed as an issue.
Several candidates have discussed through their social media promotional pages that this will be recitfied, ensuring that roads can be made safer for residents.
Car parking around Division 9 is another concern with current and new developments failing to provide additional spaces on top of what is already available. This is a particular problem at Coolum Beach.
Meet the candidates
With the departure of Cr Steve Robinson from his position as Division 9 Councillor, another four new candidates have entered the fray alongside Daren Edwards.
Community organisation Flight Path Forum former leader Maria Suarez has confirmed that she will contest the local division.
“It’s time for a better council,” she said on her Facebook page.
“One that engages with the community, conducts open meetings, looks for sustainable development, preserves the environment and encourages diverse employment opportunities.”
Experienced Greens party member Daniel Bryar has confirmed he will fight to ensure the support and sustainability of local businesses in the region.
He also aims to make sure council capitalises on growth in all industries to provide residents with a town plan that works for everyone.
Mr Bryar has more than 15 years of experience in the IT and business sector, working with start-ups to build their digital applications while also helping to run a building company.
Bruce Dunne has more than 24 years of Council related experience.
He supports environmental management in order to protect and sustain Sunshine Coast waterways and vows to ensure the council remains focussed on community engagement, concentrating on efficiency, transparency and common sense.
Coolum local and business owner Angela Dunbavan is focussing heavily on community as her message, hoping to ensure the council becomes more approachable and more forth-coming with their ideas for the community.
Where to Vote
Early voting will be available from Monday 16 March through to Friday 27 March.
For those looking at the postal voting option, applications to postal vote close at 7pm Monday 16 March. The application form for postal voting can be found and downloaded here or filled out online here.
For more information on where and how to vote you can also contact the ECQ on 1300 881 665 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org