80% of Noosa residents vote to split from Coast council

NOOSA is set to have its own council again with almost 80% of residents backing the campaign against amalgamation.

Free Noosa supporters vowed to hoist the old council flag over theTewantin council chambers again, while the Sunshine Coast's mayor says the region will continue to thrive despite the split.

With more a half of the vote counted, about 80% were in support of the split.

Elsewhere in the state, there was also support for the old Douglas, Mareeba, and Livingston areas to have smaller, more personalised councils. But the votes were closer with about a 60 to 40 split.

>> You can follow the latest on the Noosa voting from here

In a final post on the Free Noosa site, former Noosa mayor Noel Playford said the old Noosa Council flag was a potent symbol for what locals had been fighting for.

"We can all see it, proudly held aloft, in a small ceremony at the Tewantin Council chambers in Pelican Street at 6.30 on Saturday night.

 "This will be the start of a celebration across Noosa shire that's been five years coming.

"The Boronia Keysii shrub was thought to be extinct, until it was discovered in 1971 by that legend of Noosa conservation, Arthur Harrold, in the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park.

"The Key's Boronia flower is now on the Noosa flag that we will hold proudly on Saturday night, and it will represent a community spirit that the government and the Sunshine Coast Council hoped was extinct.''

The reaction from across the rest of the Coast was not so generous from some.

Some were angry they did not have a say in the decision given the split could cost all ratepayers, according to the regional council.

But the Noosa Greens were full of praise for the restoration of democracy.

"So many people to thank: Noel Playford, Glenn Elmes, Bob Ansett, Tony Wellington, Russell Green, Frank & Jo Ball, Johanne Wright, Jim Berado,'' the Greens tweeted today.

>> What some had to say on the Daily's Facebook page tonight

Michelle Weston: Congratulations Noosa, you have just cost the entire coast thousands of dollars simply because you "need" to be separate. So when I lose my house because I can't pay the enormous rates bill, can I come live with you?

Ria Nicholls: Well then the rates better just go up for Noosa residents as it was their choice only and not ours to make... We shouldn't have to pay for that...

Elaine Perry: This is all getting ridiculous. We didn't cost the coast thousands of dollars. In fact we helped with our money to fund the Sunshine Coast Council. I'm sorry you have bills you can't afford to pay.....but that is the Government's fault and the economy....not Noosa.

Cherie Patrick: It is pretty crappy that the bulk of the population of the sunshine coast, who will be impacted by the end result, yet again have no say in the matter.

Allison Rochelle Field: I find this ridiculous as no one is better than anyone else God classes everyone in his eyes equal !! Its like Some from Noosa looks down on the rest of the coast ! Why though as its not the best place on the coast as the whole of the coast is beautiful and so is its people ! Shame on you whom Judge

Jennifer Turner: Bitter pill for the rest of the Sunny Coast to swallow, bitter sweet victory for Noosa, no animosity from this end of the Coast, hope it goes well for US and THEM.

What mayor Mark Jamieson had to say in the Daily today

In a column in today's Sunshine Coast Daily, Mr Jamieson was all but conceding defeat after waging a campaign against the split, warning it would cost ratepayers dearly.

Mr Playford has repeatedly rejected the claim, arguing the new council can be set up without big rate increases.

The independent boundary commissioner has estimated the change will cost Noosa ratepayers more than $13 million.

Mr Jamieson said whatever the result of the today's vote, the  Sunshine Coast would be in a strong position to continue its path towards economic, lifestyle and environmental sustainability.

"It would be better for the region, and for northern ratepayers, if the region stayed united, but life will go on - the sun will come up tomorrow (weather permitting).

"The Sunshine Coast has solid foundations to continue to build on even if there is a decision to de-amalgamate.

"It would still be the engine room of our economy; it would retain 85% of the population.

"It would keep the significant regional asset that is the airport, the $1.8 billion health hub would continue to create careers for our children

"The Maroochydore CBD would become our commercial heart, and Caloundra South would drive the construction industry for many years to come.

"We also have a draft planning scheme which will provide certainty for investors, residents, and the Coast generally. As a region we are confident about who we are, where we are going, and how we'll get there.

"Our economy has started to pick up; new businesses are arriving, existing businesses are expanding, real estate is selling and confidence is rising

"In simple terms, all the hard work we've done is starting to pay dividends, by providing prosperity for families, and protections for our lifestyle and the environment - but there's still a lot more to do.

"I'd like the people of Noosa and its hinterland to share those rewards, but that's a decision for them.

In his final pitch to voters he warned Noosa ratepayers faced an extra $828 per ratepayer over five years.

"Whatever the outcome, the Sunshine Coast will continue on its path towards prosperity. Regardless of the immediate weather conditions - the outlook is sunny.''

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