CR MARIA SUAREZ

Division 9 – Sunshine Coast Council

October 20th, 2021

Do you travel along Verrierdale Road, Verrierdale, at any stage during your day? Please be aware that reconstruction of a 900m section of the road is in progress.

It’s quite a significant amount of work as Council will be completely removing and replacing the road base and so will need to close the road with redirections in place.

The existing road and base will be removed one lane at a time. The subgrade will then be strengthened by lime stabilisation with the placement of a cement fortified gravel to follow. Once this lane has been completed to a bitumen seal standard, works will start on the opposite lane.

The project team is keen to complete these works in a timely manner and do their best to work with the community during construction.

I understand that there will be some inconvenience for residents and businesses, but this upgrade really needs to be done and I thank you for your patience. 

If you’re able to, I’d recommend using Eumundi-Noosa Road and Emu Mountain Road while the work takes place.

If you have other issues or suggestions to discuss, please contact me on 5475 9810 or maria.suarez@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au or come along to one of my community chats on the second Wednesday of each month. Please keep an eye on my Facebook page for details.


September 8th, 2021

I’d like to start this column by saying a big thank-you to all the community groups and their volunteers who donate their precious time, energy and passion into delivering services to our community and environment.

In late August, Council partnered with 138 community groups and 19 environmental groups to provide funding for three years.

Through the Community Partnership Funding Program, 138 Sunshine Coast community organisations received a share of $990,000 each year for the next three years to help cover operational costs such as rent, communications and administration.

And through the Environment Levy Partnership Funding Program 19 groups will share in $610,000 each year for the next three years to also cover operational expenses.

This support means these groups can invest their time and energy into their core work, whether it be caring for our wildlife and natural environment, managing community halls or a sporting association, supporting business and industry through the chamber of commerce, as well as much more.

Congratulations to Coolum District Coast Care Group Inc, which operates across divisions 8 and 9, Bli Bli on Maroochy Historical Society Inc, Bli Bli Public Hall and Community Association Inc, Bli Bli Tennis Club Inc, Coolum Beach Bowls Club Incorporated, Coolum Business and Tourism Incorporated, Coolum Croquet Club Inc, Coolum District Netball Association, Coolum Tennis Club Inc, Maroochy River Rowing Club Inc and Valdora Community Hall Association Inc.

If you have issues or suggestions to discuss, please contact me on 5475 9810 or maria.suarez@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au or come along to one of my community chats on the second Wednesday of each month. Please keep an eye on my Facebook page for details.


August 11th, 2021

I’m pleased to share that the following organisations were successful with their minor grant applications: Coolum Men’s Shed Inc to construct an accessibility pathway; Coolum Business and Tourism to commission a consultant to establish advisory committees; and Coastal Community Native Nursery for equipment for use by volunteers at the community nursery.

Minor Grants will open again on September 20, 2021, while Major Grant funding applications are open now and close August 30, 2021. To learn more, visit www.sunsinecoast.qld.gov.au/grants.

Work is due to begin soon on a two-metre wide pathway along the west side of Park Crescent. The pathway will extend from the existing pathway north of Pandanus Avenue to the pathway on Yandina Coolum Road. It has been prioritised as a result of discussions with Coolum State Primary School and parents so it’s safer for the community to access the school when walking and riding.

Earlier this year, residents were asked, if they would use a garden waste or a Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) bin service.

From 7,500 responses, 84 per cent of respondents said council should provide a service to reduce organic waste in landfill and reuse it.

This vital feedback led Council to make the decision to roll out an opt-out garden waste bin service from July 2022.

The expanded garden waste service will divert garden clippings, weeds and leaves from landfill and is the first step to transitioning to a FOGO service, which will prevent one million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions being released into the atmosphere over the next 30-50 years.

This change will mean the current charge will decrease, due to economies of scale.  It is likely that the State Levy rebate will be removed in the future, which would have resulted in approximately $60 charge to residents for no new service at all! So, in the long run, there will be financial savings for existing and future users and a big reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Some properties will be exempt, however, the conditions of the exemption are yet to be finalised. Council will keep residents informed of planned changes which won’t start until July 2022. 


July 8th, 2021

Council adopted its budget for the 2021/22 financial year and I’m pleased to be able to progress projects which have been on the community wish list for some time. This includes funding for community consultation for a new Peregian Springs Community Centre and $103,000 to construct a pathway at Park Crescent, Coolum Beach.

Road improvements and sealing of unsealed roads remains a priority and the budget has allocated $300,000 to improve the safety of and upgrade the Coolum Sports intersection at David Low Way, Coolum with a number of unsealed roads getting upgrades throughout Division 9

A missing link of the coastal pathway at Coolum Beach between Lions Park and Norrie Job Park will be built as well as a new amenity block at Jack Morgan Park.

Planning for a new community park at our Blue Heart at Yandina Creek will begin as well as upgrades to other playground and fitness equipment at Cordellia Street, Coolum Beach and Grove Park, Peregian Springs. I’ll update on other projects planned for division 9 in the coming year.

Council acquired 94 hectares of land to expand the existing Doonan Creek Environment Reserve, bringing it to an impressive 474 hectares. This purchase was made possible thanks to Environment Levy funds. On June 5, I joined in with the community to celebrate this as part of World Environment Day, by helping to plant 1200 native trees, shrubs and ground covers on the reserve. Doonan Creek Environment Reserve is a special place, and I’m looking forward to this area being publicly accessible in the future – so everyone has the opportunity to enjoy it.

Development continues to be closely followed and the community is asking questions about recent applications in Peregian Springs.  Development.i on council’s website provides all documentation and the ability to lodge comments or submissions on current applications.

If you have other issues or suggestions to discuss, please contact me on 5475 9810 or maria.suarez@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au or come along to one of my community chats usually on the second Wednesday of each month. Changed to Tuesday July 13 for this month. Please keep an eye on my Facebook page for updates.


June 10th, 2021

Trees being planted by members of the community at Doonan Creek Environment Reserve on Saturday June 5. Photo: Contributed

I urge you to have your say on the Mass Transit Project before consultation closes on June 22, 2021. In previous correspondence, I highlighted that better public transport is an issue that’s been raised by Division 9 residents. Even though the plan is for south of the river, it will affect you.

Do you work or travel to the hospital, the University, Maroochydore, Kawana or Caloundra? How do you plan on getting there in the future when the population has grown and traffic is worse?

The options propose a high frequency bus network, which will cut through Coolum and Peregian. Will you use these buses? How will you get to the bus stop? Where will you park? Will you continue to drive? Why? Will you have parking options when you get there? How will you travel in the future? Please tell council what you need and want.

There is a lot of information to get through and some fact sheets to help. Email the team if you have questions and find the survey and contact details for the project at haveyoursay.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.

Council recently acquired 94 hectares of additional land to expand the existing Doonan Creek Environment Reserve, bringing it to an impressive 474 hectares. This purchase was only made possible thanks to the funds generated by the Environment Levy. On June 5, I joined in with the community to celebrate this as part of World Environment Day, where 1200 native trees, shrubs and ground covers were planted on the reserve. The event was a partnership between council and the Sunshine Coast Environment Council. Around 200 people came together to share environmental stories, information, projects and causes. Doonan Creek Environment Reserve is a special place, and I’m looking forward to this area being publicly accessible in the future.

If you have other issues or suggestions to discuss, please contact me on 5475 9810 or maria.suarez@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.


May 13th, 2021

recently, Sue (my assistant) and I spent the morning delivering meals to Coolum Beach residents, with the local Meals on Wheels team. Sorry if we were a tad later than your usual delivery time, it was too hard not to chat with everyone!  There is a huge effort behind the scenes from a great group of volunteers who are truly making a difference to people’s lives. It’s impressive the amount of work that goes into the organisation and coordination to cook and deliver the meals. The group is calling out for more volunteers in the kitchen and as drivers as client numbers continue to grow. To contact Meals on Wheels visit www.coolummealsonwheels.org or call 5446 1000.

It’s been a year since I began my role as your Division 9 councillor and I have learnt so much, it’s been interesting learning about the vast and varied work of council. Some of my previous misconceptions have been dismissed, others have been confirmed. I’ve enjoyed working with the other Sunshine Coast councillors, who are a positive and respectful group open to working collaboratively on issues. Please head to my Facebook page @MariaSuarezDivision9 to hear my full overview of my first year as a Sunshine Coast councillor.

Council is considering options for an improved public transport system and wants to know your thoughts about what’s being considered, from road upgrades, a quality bus corridor, rapid bus services to trackless trams, light rail and more. I encourage participation from the Coolum community, even though our region is located outside of the southern coastal corridor, the outcome will still affect the way you travel when heading south for work, appointments or leisure.

Learn more at haveyoursay.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au before June 22 or come along and chat to the Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Project team in person on Tuesday June 1, from 10am to 12noon at the Coolum Library.

A reminder that on the second Wednesday of every month, from 8am to 4pm, I’ll be at out and about in Division 9 to chat to you about any local government issues. I’m basing myself at the Art Shelter in Tickle Park from 11am-1pm, however keep an eye on my Facebook page in case details change.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me on 5475 9810, maria.suarez@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au or via my Facebook page @MariaSuarezDivision9 however if your issue is operational in nature, like a missed bin, pot holes, report graffiti, pets etc. the quickest and simplest way to get a response from council is via the contact options on the website at – sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.


April 8th, 2021

Repairs and upgrades to the Coolum Tennis Courts are finished and look great. The project involved relocating some of the lights to achieve four tournament compliant courts and new concrete bases to replace the asphalt base, which had deteriorated to a level of reduced playability, particularly after wet weather. The project also included new fences gates and perimeter pathways to match the new court heights. Council received funding from the Queensland Government COVID Works for Queensland grant program to complete the project.

It was lovely to be invited to Quota Club of Coolum Beach for their renaming ceremony.  Unfortunately, I had to leave quite early and did not witness the large number of cheques they handed out to other local charities. Well done ladies, it is a fantastic effort and your new shirts looked great!

On the second Wednesday of every month, from 8am to 4pm, I’ll be at out and about in Division 9 to chat to you about any local government issues. I’m basing myself at the Art Shelter in Tickle Park from 11am-1pm, however keep an eye on my Facebook page in case details change.

Council’s Environment and Liveability Strategy has won a Banksia Sustainability Award from the Banksia Foundation, in the Government category. The Banksia Judges were impressed with the comprehensive framework of plans, policies, guidelines and projects that integrate sustainability across the Sunshine Coast. This is a significant achievement as the awards are regarded as the most prestigious of their kind in Australia. Congratulations to all staff who have been involved in delivering the actions from this strategy ever since its inception. It was a privilege to be with them as they accepted the award.

Council is accepting applications for its Community Grants Program until May 4.  Not-for-profit organisations can apply for up to $2000 to deliver one-off projects, events and activities that provide community benefit. Please visit Council’s website for more information and to apply online.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me on 5475 9810, maria.suarez@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au or via my Facebook page @MariaSuarezDivision9


March 11th, 2021

Kids steal the spotlight

If you are connected to a primary-school student, I encourage you to let them know about the chance to win great prizes by entering the 2021 Sunshine Coast Get Ready Schools Competition! They need to create a 30-second video highlighting the importance of having a “WHAT-IF-PLAN” so everyone knows what to do when disaster strikes. Visit haveyoursay.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au to enter by midnight Friday April 30, 2021.

Have your say on animals and parks

Whether you are a pet owner or not, council wants to hear your thoughts on responsible pet ownership across the region. Council has put together an updated Domestic Animal Management Plan for cats and dogs that will guide pet ownership activities for the next 10 years.

Whether you’re picnicking with friends, exploring playgrounds with little ones, connecting with nature, improving your fitness or celebrating a special occasion – our Sunshine Coast parks matter to many people for many reasons. The parks plan will be a roadmap and a planning tool that supports council’s commitment to preserving spaces and parks that enhance the natural character of the Sunshine Coast’s environment.

Check out the plans and share your thoughts via the survey on council’s Have Your Say website. Survey closes March 31.

If you have other suggestions, please contact me on 54759810 or maria.suarez@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au 


February 11th, 2021

Information Management

Members of the community have called for council to be more “open and transparent” particularly with the way information is classified and handled.  Recent changes such as live-streaming council meetings and halving confidential items readily available have made accessibility to information easier for the community.  A review will soon be conducted to further improve upon the internal practice of information management to better meet the community’s expectation of information accessibility.  The panel will consist of councillors, executive staff and members of the community. I’m looking forward to being a part of this process.

New Planning Scheme

The process to develop a new planning scheme for the region is set to start soon and will play out over a number of years. It’s time to start thinking about what you need to understand to make sure you can make a good quality submission for a new scheme.  Issues that are currently raised by the community are excessive site cover, height and density, and the environmental impacts on flood plains, remnant vegetation and lack of green spaces and natural shade.  I’ll be keeping you updated on key dates and activities and encouraging you to get involved.

Have your say on the future of waste

Over half of the rubbish in household garbage bins is organic waste like food scraps and lawn clippings and this type of waste creates vast amounts of green-house gas emissions. To reduce these emissions council is seeking community feedback on a proposal to introduce an opt-out third bin for garden waste which could transition to a food organics and garden organics bin service, also known as a FOGO bin.

We want to your feedback before any decision is made so have your say at haveyoursay.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/our-future-wastebefore 5pm, Tuesday March 2, 2021.

If you have other suggestions, please contact me on 5475 9810 or maria.suarez@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au 


January 21st, 2021

New year

Hopefully everyone had a chance to connect with their loved ones and had some down time recently.  Reflecting on activities from 2020, the number of reports considered in confidential session has decreased markedly and more information is provided as to why entire or parts of reports are confidential.  I’ve discussed with my councillor colleagues’ processes around development applications, learned about the environment, Blue Heart project and Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy and reviewed policies and projects.

There is still much to be done and I’ll continue to discuss work on roads and pathways, the new Planning Scheme, consideration of kerbside collection or vouchers, community consultation, public transport options, better outcomes for community groups, community facilities, hard to locate sports, flight path issues, and traffic and parking reviews.

Clean up for the hatchlings
Clean up for the Hatchlings is on Saturday January 30 from 6am at local locations including Coolum, Point Arkwright, Marcoola and North Shore. If you’d like to help clean up our beaches, please register via the ‘What’s On’ page on council’s website.

Nominate a young conservationist
Do you know a young eco-warrior who’s striving for change at their school, protecting native animals or raising awareness about conservation on the Sunshine Coast? Nominate them for the Les Hall Young Conservationist Award at www.sunsinecoast.qld.gov.au/leshallawardss. Nominations are open to under 18’s either as individuals or groups and close February 28.

Register for The Lift Project
Registrations are closing soon for the online wellbeing program called The Lift Project Sunshine Coast, which is free for all local residents. It begins on February 8 and is a popular program. Previous participants say it’s made a positive impact on their life, during a tough year.

Healthy Sunshine Coast

Healthy Sunshine Coast is back from February, offering free and low cost activities in your community that are suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Head to www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/healthysunshinecoast to find out what’s on near you. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me on 5475 9810, maria.suarez@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au or via my Facebook page @MariaSuarezDivision9