By LIAM BLAND and BROOKE FESTA
A former One Nation leader, a radio personality, and a cafe owner are giving incumbent Cr Ted Hungerford a run for his Division 7 seat in this month’s local election.
Steve Dickson is hoping to resurrect his tainted political career, coast radio personality Cam Young has thrown his hat in the ring again, and local cafe owner Chris White was a last-minute entry into the race.
Their opinions on the popular Urban Food Street Precinct and the congestion of local roads are likely to be the focus for voters in the region.
About the division
Division 7 is the oldest established European settlement on the Sunshine Coast.
It includes areas such as Rosemount, Diddillibah, Kiels Mountain, Kunda Park, Kuluin, Forest Glen, Tanawha, a small part of Maroochydore, and most of Buderim.
The division is well known for the serenity of its hinterland, colourful and leafy streets, and its close proximity to the coast’s beautiful beaches.
Division 7 is home to both retirees and young families, with a total population of more than 29,000 people.
One of the issues facing residents of Division 7 is the Urban Food Street housing development plan.
In 2017, the Sunshine Coast Council chopped down and mulched 18 fruit trees on verges in Buderim’s popular Urban Food Street precinct, after residents refused to pay public liability insurance for the trees growing on verges.
The precinct was home to fresh produce grown by locals along the sidewalks of 11 streets, with hundreds of residents sharing the fruit and vegetables between themselves.
The precinct is now at the heart of a contentious housing-development plan, with part of Urban Food Street the location of a proposed subdivision.
Another major talking point among Division 7 locals is the notorious congestion of roads in the region.
Roads in Forest Glen and Buderim are known to experience large bottlenecks around peak-traffic times.
While local governments have invested in creating better transport infrastructure in the past, such as a $2.6 million roundabout installation at the Mons Road intersection in Forest Glen, Division 7 residents are eager to see further improvements.
Meet the Candidates
Ted Hungerford has held the Division 7 seat for the last 12 years and is looking to serve a fourth term.
The 56-year-old, who has also spent time as Division 9 councillor, said his role in council is to protect Division 7 from losing its identity and character.
Mr Hungerford was a member of the council which demolished part of the Urban Food Street precinct in 2017.
He has since said the incident was “disappointing and avoidable”.
Mr Hungerford was also at the centre of a council-push to acquire a parcel of land opposite the Buderim State School, with plans to make the land an informal carpark to help combat traffic congestion.
Radio personality Cam Young will contest Ted Hungerford for the Division 7 seat for a second time.
The 56-year-old produces and presents the afternoon drive program on 104.9 Sunshine FM, and previously worked as a driver for fellow candidate Steve Dickson during his time with the LNP.
Speaking to The Sunshine Coast Daily in September, Mr Young has expressed his support for community initiatives such as the aforementioned Urban Food Street, and has also called for less “secret meetings” in council.
“Council meetings should be as open as possible because the ratepayers are paying the money and it’s their council,” Mr Young told the ABC on Wednesday.
“I think broadcasting these meetings in the future is a good idea.”
Mr Young said it was important the needs of locals were at the forefront of council’s decision making.
“We can do so much here,” he said.
“I think we’ve lost that (connection) a bit with the community.”
Former One Nation Queensland leader Steve Dickson will run as an independent for Division 7 in the upcoming local election.
The 57-year-old resigned as Queensland’s One Nation leader last year after he was secretly filmed making offensive comments and touching a dancer in a US strip club, which he has since apologised for.
Mr Dickson said he hopes to bring back Buderim’s Urban Food Street, improve public transport, and give Division 7 locals a louder voice in council.
“From what I have been able to observe and heard from many residents in the last couple of years Division 7 is not being properly represented by the current member and that is why I have been approached to stand again for public office,” he said.
Before his stint with One Nation, Mr Dickson represented the Maroochy Shire for 6 years and was a state member of parliament from 2006.
Chris White is the most recent candidate to throw his hat in the ring for Division 7.
The owner of Buderim’s longest running cafe, Hungry Feel Eating House on Main St, said business community collaboration, sustainable living, and road congestion are some of the key issues he wants to tackle.
Mr White said council needs someone with a “support not compete” mindset in the local chambers.
He said the current council did not do enough to communicate with the division’s business community, and that he would “rebuild the bridge between council and business groups” if elected.
Mr White is a proud resident of the former Urban Food Street precinct, which he plans to re-establish if elected.
Where To Vote
A list of polling locations for the election on March 28 can be found on the Electoral Commission Queensland website, and are noted on the map above.
The polling booths will be open from 8am to 6pm.
For locals who are unable to vote on election day, early voting will commence on Monday, March 16 at the Buderim Early Voting Centre at 2 Gloucester Road.
Postal votes are accepted, and residents wanting to vote via the post will need to apply through the Australian Electoral Commission by March 16.
For first-time voters, there will be instructions available at relevant polling booths and on the ballot paper itself on how to vote correctly.