Mark McDonald.
Mark McDonald.

McDonald puts hand up for election

TIN Can Bay newsagent and long-serving community volunteer Mark McDonald has put his hand up to represent the Cooloola Coast area in the coming Gympie Regional Council election.

Having been an active member of the Bay business community for many years, he believes that since the 2011 floods, the Cooloola Coast has been neglected in the rebuilding effort that has taken place elsewhere.

"We were cut off and that, along with rainy weather generally, killed that year for the tourism sector," he said.

Mr McDonald said the ordeal had shown the Coast was too reliant on tourism.

"Last year was a wipe-out for the whole economy here.

"If the weather man puts out a bad weather report, the farmer from Longreach doesn't come here for holidays - and nor does anyone else," he said yesterday.

After years of involvement with the Tin Can Bay school, including a time as P and C president, as well as Chamber of Commerce involvement (also as a former president), Mr McDonald said yesterday he was buoyed by the number of people who had approached him about running for election.

His plan to broaden the Coast economy and promote employment included active promotion of the area with mining companies, as a fly in-fly out home for miners.

"This paradise we live in would be perfect for miners.

"Mayor Ron Dyne has said he's keen to communicate with the State Government about bringing businesses to the Gympie Region.

"I'd like the mayor to talk to them about relocating to the Cooloola Coast.

"We need to get employment. In this two-speed economy, young people are leaving.

"You can't blame young people for pursuing opportunities, but with our assets, we should be talking to mining companies about housing their people here. We need more people, within limits, to make our economy more vibrant," he said.

Gympie Times

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