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'One heck of a ride': councillor reveals his proudest achievements after announcing exit

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A Sunshine Coast councillor who has served for the past 12 years has made the surprise announcement he will not be running in next month’s local government elections.

Peter Cox has been the Division 3 representative since 2012 but in a social media post on Sunday afternoon said he would not be recontesting the position.

He joins Mayor Mark Jamieson and Deputy Mayor Rick Baberowski in exiting the council, while Councillor Jason O’Pray won’t stand for Division 8 and is instead running for mayor.

“In what may be surprising news for some, I’ve decided not to recontest in the upcoming election,” Cr Cox said in his post.

“Representing the Division 3 electorate (which covers Currimundi, Warana, Wurtulla and surrounds) for the past 12 years has been both a privilege and honour.

“As I have reflected on my three terms, I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given to serve.

“In 2012, I felt disillusioned with where the Coast was heading and decided to run for Division 3. I had a simple objective, to ensure that better facilities and opportunities existed here for both current and future generations.

“I secured victory by a mere 66 votes in an official recount in that first election. It was a roller-coaster of emotions at the time but I relished the role. I was excited about what I might achieve and worked hard by listening to, and strongly advocating for, the local community needs. This often involved making the tough decisions, not just the popular ones.

“Staying authentic to these core values was an approach that resonated well and saw me become the councillor with the highest two-candidate-preferred count (82 per cent) at the last election in 2020.”

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson and Division 3 Councillor Peter Cox inside the region’s first Changing Places amenities at Currimundi.

Cr Cox paid tribute to his council colleagues for their support during his tenure.

“Whilst I always strived to do my best for the greater good, I simply cannot claim all the credit for the successes, I have worked with a team of incredibly talented and dedicated employees right throughout the organisation,” he said.

“They are true professionals and I have enjoyed the collaborative process of working with them over the years.

“I’m especially proud to have been part of an innovative and progressive council, a council that is well known across the nation as being a ‘leader in local government’.

“We’ve undertaken significant infrastructure projects like being Australia’s first council to build and operate its own solar farm, which offsets its entire energy needs. We’ve built a $300m-plus international runway, created Australia’s first greenfield CBD in Maroochydore and partnered with the state government to lay an underwater high-speed fibre optic cable for digital security.

“I think the Sunshine Coast residents can be truly proud of these achievements as there is no other council in Australia that has achieved these types of outcomes.

“More specifically in my division, I have championed the ongoing delivery of the Coastal Pathway, despite encountering great resistance at times. I consider this pathway one of my legacy items, along with Grahame Stewart Park, Currimundi, the first genuine all-abilities recreation park and the Sunshine Coast’s only facility for those with high-care needs.

“There have been many projects that have kept me busy over the years, far too many to recount here. I’ve met many incredible residents, who continue to make significant contributions to our wonderful region, and that’s one of the things I’ll miss the most.

“Thanks for everything. It has been one heck of a ride.”

The elections will be held on March 16. Candidate nominations officially close on February 13.

Alister Eiseman and Tim Burns have previously stated their intentions to run for Division 3.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

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