By Luke Jackson and Abbey Halter
Congestion looks set to be a key issue for candidates vying for Division 6 in Sunshine Coast Council election.
Three independent candidates are hoping to unseat Cr Christian Dickson, each arguing not enough is being done to develop appropriate road infrastructure for the future growth of the region.
With an estimated population of 25,093 that is expected to grow due to the State Government’s announcement of three new schools planned for Palmview, residents of Division 6 are concerned the region’s roads won’t be able to handle the anticipated increase in congestion.
About the division
The Sunshine Coast’s Division 6 includes the suburbs of Sippy Downs, Mountain Creek, Brightwater, Buderim Pines, Buderim Meadows, Chancellor Park and Glenfield’s Estate.
From March 28 of this year Division 6 will also include the suburbs of Palmview and Harmony Estate.
The demographics in this electorate include university students, retirees, young families and professionals.
Some of the key issues for Division 6 residents this election will be the state of the area’s roads as well as the controversial topic of the town plan and how that will affect the future of the Sunshine Coast’s character.
The state of road management and traffic congestion have long been an issue for the suburbs of Division 6 with it being a main talking point throughout the last election.
Cr Dickson has taken to social media and online community forums in the run up to March 28, posting about his past efforts in improving road infrastructure, mainly upgrading Sippy Downs Drive to four lanes and re-sealing the Prelude Drive road at Mountain Creek, but his opponents and some residents aren’t impressed.
Candidate Wayne Holly said the current council has failed in its responsibility to future-proof the region and the lack of proper planning has led to massive congestion problems on major roads and an inadequate public transport system.
Another major issue for the division is the character of the region and what that means for future development.
Both Miss Gosper and Mr Holly opposed the development for the reasons that it did not match the spirit or style of the Sunshine Coast and went against public interest.
Mr Holly said the Sunshine Coast was not the Gold Coast and residents, particularly around Mountain Creek and Palmview, wanted a tranquil lifestyle with no major developments.
Miss Gosper said the council should be acting in the best interest of residents by being totally transparent and not making major decisions behind closed doors.
She also said council should be focused on maintaining public amenities like greenspaces and leading the way on sustainability and environmental-based policies.
Meet the candidates
Former Sydneysider Wayne Holly has resided in Sippy Downs for more than a decade, and said it’s time for a local council member who will keep up with the increasing population.
Mr Holly said he understands the current need for updated infrastructure and local services, and plans on tackling the major traffic issues on main roads including University Way and Claymore Road.
University of the Sunshine Coast student Siobhan Gosper’s top concern is transparency between council and residents.
The 20-year-old politics and sociology student is strongly opposed to going against the local town plan and says the time has come for a new, more diverse council member.
“As a young female, I believe I can offer a unique perspective,” Miss Gosper said during a live interview with the ABC last week.
“Vision and ideas are more important than experience.”
Current Division 6 councillor Christian Dickson said if re-elected he plans on continuing to work hard for his local community and the wider Sunshine Coast.
In an interview with the Sunshine Coast ABC Cr Dickson said he plans on supporting updated public transport in and around Division 6 in an attempt to combat the increasing traffic congestion.
This is particularly in regards to the Sippy Downs area which has struggled to keep the roads and infrastructure up with the increasing population.
Where to vote
Don’t forget to vote on Saturday March 28 at your local polling booth.