LOCAL RESIDENT: Clint Irwin loves the local input in Noosa Council.
LOCAL RESIDENT: Clint Irwin loves the local input in Noosa Council. Peter Gardiner

‘We’re back here to deliver for all’ says Council's Clint

FORMER Noosa lifeguard Clint Irwin, turned Sunshine Coast Regional Council administration officer, worked with "good people" in this large bureaucracy.

But as much as anyone, Clint wanted out and to get back to the Noosa community-sized scale - not because the regional juggernaut was some sort of Star Wars-style Galactic Empire bent on destroying the place he grew up in and loves dearly.

"I don't subscribe to the theory that there was ever any intent to do anything (destructive), but it's very difficult with the scale of it, when you get away from being local," Clint said.

"There was a lot of good people there (in the regional council)."

Not that he had much time for long meetings either, because the size of the regional council he was working in meant he was often on the road.

He commuted by car from Noosa to the Caloundra council offices for three years.

"You could be driving to three offices in one day just for meetings and I was working a lot out of the car."

Clint was born in Nambour Hospital, lived for a while in Rainbow Beach, but his family moved to Noosa when he started high school. He was one of the many who boarded the anti-council amalgamation buses that headed to Brisbane in 2007 to say "hands off Noosa!".

The 39-year-old first realised how good this place was as a teenager when he used to cart his surfboard out to the national park point breaks.

On March 9 last year after the vote to de-amalgamate, he'd come home elated - the same euphoria he felt coursing through his tall, athletic frame shaped by years of council lifeguarding on Peregian Beach.

"It grows on you when you're in a community and it's like a sponge: you're soaking it all up," he said. "At first you're a passive observer and then you become more involved. It's hard when you brought up here not to feel a part of it - it's about preserving - a big part of our economy is in the sustainability .

"Is this place special? Well look at Noosa North Shore, look at the backdrop - by virtue of all that has happened, I guess, yes it is.

"It's by virtue of the fact that we're smaller - with council, it's about the community and engagement with the community.

"And that's what we're doing. When we can get out to talk to people, that's the result. There's been community battles that have gone on and that's why the Noosa community gets passionate about things - they get engaged. People have done work and we're building on the work that has been done here for years and I identify with that. This place is about is the local government dealing with people. They're locals and they want to do the right thing by the community where they can.

"That's reflected right through the staff."

Clint has heard all the negative and dire warnings about Noosa staff being worse off in a smaller council and how the new council will struggle. He's not buying any of that.

"I think the staff thing is yet to play out. I don't subscribe to all the doom and gloom. I can go and talk do directly to the CEO. There is less anxiety when you can talk straight person-to-person.

"The current councillors are fired up. I just reckon give it a bit of time. I think it will get better and better."


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