A WOMAN who has led the fight against a controversial development in the heart of her community will contest Division 8 at Sunshine Coast Council elections next year.
Kathryn Hyman became involved in local government affairs following the council’s decision to drive a major planning scheme amendment to allow for urban development on land between the Sunshine Motorway and Twin Waters it once considered out-of-bounds for that purpose.
She was the driving force behind the formation of the Twin Waters West and Surrounds Inc which has attracted the support of community members including engineers, planners, hydrologists, academics and property developers opposed to what they see as inappropriate development on vulnerable land.
Sunshine Coast Council is in the process of evaluating a Stockland development application for the site.
“I am announcing my intention today having been approached by many organisations and individuals over some time requesting that I throw my hat in the ring,” Ms Hyman said.
The mother-of-two has a background in education and the international tourism industry.
She said she understood the symbiotic relationship between community, the private and the public sectors and the importance of those partnerships.
“My experience and attendance at many industry body conferences has taught me that there are good people everywhere who are members of the community themselves doing a fabulous job across areas of expertise,” Ms Hyman said.
“Too often the running theme is that ‘it’s the politics and influences that get in the way of sound decision making’ – this needs to change and it starts at the local level.”
Married to husband David who works in finance and IT, Ms Hyman lives in Twin Waters.
She grew up on the Sunshine Coast and has served as president of Twin Waters West and Surrounds Inc representing members within the Maroochy River catchment, was an executive committee member for OSCAR, the peak residents and ratepayers’ body, and spent many years as volunteer coordinator for Qld Playgroup and Toy Library.
“Through my involvement and discussions with local residents and families over so many years, I have become increasingly aware that good governance in decision making for the public good requires people to be informed and involved in the political process,” she said.
“It seems to me that your local councillor should be actively advocating and informing constituents of issues impacting them, particularly when decisions have far reaching ramifications for residents, investors and the business community alike. People are busy – they are entitled to intelligent and hardworking representation”.
Ms Hyman described as a “flagrant misuse of Local Government legislation” the number of closed meetings held by Sunshine Coast Regional Council when discussing projects involving the expenditure of significant ratepayer funds.
Lack of transparency in council decision making would, as with a growing number of candidates, become a central issue of her campaign.
She has also criticised the number of planning scheme amendments and the ignoring in decision making of a document meant to provide assurance to those living and investing in the region.
“The primacy of the Planning Scheme, a heavily resourced and consulted document, should not be amended ad hoc and too often we see overriding of the Planning Scheme to accommodate influential developers, but everyday residents are required to conform to the rules.”
Division 8, which is held by Cr Jason O’Pray, has undergone a significant boundary realignment ahead of the election.