State of our Region 2022 – Sunshine Coast it’s time to connect, reflect and celebrate

Sunshine Coast Council

What an exciting year 2022 has been – on so many fronts.

Sunshine Coast residents are invited to take a moment to look at 2022 in review with Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson in our annual State of our Region online story.

State of our Region provides an update on some of the memorable moments of 2022, key achievements and programs delivered for our community, and highlights what we have to look forward to in the future.

Mayor Jamieson said 2022 had again shown the resilience, connectedness and strength of our Sunshine Coast community.

“This year has been a very memorable one with so many historic announcements for our region,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“From being named as a UNESCO Biosphere and joining just four other sites in the country to earn the prestigious credential, to establishing the 2032 Sunshine Coast Legacy Plan Community Reference Group to help shape the region’s legacy plan ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

State of our Region this year features Mayor Jamieson and many inspiring community champions and their stories, including some of their aspirations for the future of our region.

Spinal Life Australia’s Dane Cross was part of council’s award-winning Briometrix Mobility Mapping Project.

“As a test pilot we literally hit the pavement and mapped 50km of pavements and streetscapes from Maroochydore to Mooloolaba,” Mr Cross said.

“I think it’s important the region and council leads the way in the accessibility and inclusivity space, so people in the community can move about without barriers. The 2032 Paralympic Games adds a layer of urgency in terms of improving this.”

Mayor Jamieson said paving the way to accessibility was at the heart of the liveability of any community so everybody gets to enjoy what’s on offer.

Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre’s Mark Ellis was named Sunshine Coast 2022 Citizen of the Year for his advocacy surrounding homelessness on the Sunshine Coast.

“One of the biggest issues we have here on the Coast is the rising homeless population and housing stress,” Mr Ellis said.

“We’ve developed programs like the One Roof Program, where we work with and support people in our community to give them a helping start in life.

“We receive funding from council to run programs, which is significant and beneficial for us as a small organisation.”

Migrant Learn to Swim and Beach Safe participants Moksha Thakral and Akhil Bajaj, originally from India, said they really enjoyed participating in the program which is funded by council.

“I’d love to take my son to the beach and enjoy it and not worry about potentially drowning,” Ms Thakral said.

“We’ll be more confident, and maybe one day surfing too. Who knows.”

Mr Bajaj said learning to swim was very important given when you live here and don’t know how to swim, you miss out on so many things.

Mayor Jamieson said having the opportunity to learn to swim was quite profound for many migrants living on the Sunshine Coast.

“I’m so proud of the people who give their time and support to this program and other programs such as the Migrant Work Ready program,” he said.

“Another program I’m proud of is our lifeguard services, which we fund to the tune of $5.7 million annually, to keep our residents and visitors safe on our beaches.”

Sunshine Coast lifeguard Teisha Jenkins said the lifeguard service on the Sunshine Coast was a critical element of community life and the region as a tourism destination.

“It’s a big holiday destination here and we need to make sure everyone stays between the red and yellow flags on the Sunshine Coast,” she said.

“The council’s support for this service is tremendous and really important to the safety of everyone who chooses to spend time at our beaches.”

Mayor Jamieson said the Biosphere badge was also an important recognition of our goal that people and nature could live in harmony on the Sunshine Coast, and acknowledged the important work of the Biosphere community advisory group in helping to achieve that designation.

Biosphere Community Advisory Group Chair Will Shrapnel said the Sunshine Coast Biosphere journey had been a rewarding one.

“We have a common aim of what it means to be a sustainable region,” he said.

“There’s just so much the community can do to get behind this initiative; thinking about sustainability and our natural assets and how it’s essential we preserve, protect and enhance our region.”

Sustainability is also the focus of Barns Lane founders Jason Grant and Jonathan Leishman who said their farm aimed to be a local sustainable tourism attraction by promoting the region’s people, produce and innovations.

“This will be a showcase for the Sunshine Coast agricultural community and be a point of connection for them with the tourist market and a community hub,” Mr Grant said.

The State of our Region also encourages businesses to get on board and understand how they can capitalise on numerous opportunities presenting themselves.

“Council is very focused on the need for our residents to secure enduring employment locally and that the opportunities are similarly available to future generations, which underpins a range of initiatives through our Regional Economic Development Strategy,” Mayor Jamieson said.

Ali Khan is the owner of Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat, an award-winning boutique accommodation business in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland with villas in the rainforest on the borders of Kondalilla National Park.

“The Sunshine Coast has beautiful beaches, a beautiful hinterland and amazing local produce, and above all it has very friendly people and a friendly environment.” Mr Khan said.

Sunshine Coast Youth Council member Sienna Bell said she joined the youth council to give herself a voice and advocate for her beliefs.

“Not everywhere has a youth council where young people can speak up about what they believe in,” Ms Bell said.

Fellow member Agnes Jain said it provided a platform to discuss issues and ideas.

“You learn so many things about yourself and you get to help other people around you. Together we can improve Sunshine Coast as a whole,” Ms Jain said.

Mayor Jamieson said ultimately, delivering great outcomes for our community is what drives council every day.

“Creating community connections, protecting the environment and developing the economy and investment in infrastructure and jobs are all geared to improving the liveability of our region,” Mayor Jamieson said.

The State of our Region story is available now on the following council platforms:

Website: https://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Experience-Sunshine-Coast/Healthy-Smart-Creative/State-of-our-Region

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SunshineCoastCouncil/

YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/NnajD2QHY3U

View more council highlights here: https://oursc.com.au/

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