YES! The vote gives us hope for a better future

THEY are three people from different walks of life who share the same sort of burning passion for their community as more than 80% of their fellow Noosa "tragics".

Now, on the eve of the first anniversary of Noosa's historic de-amalgamation vote - this Sunday, March 9 - the trio has spoken on behalf of the thousands upon thousands who raged against forced amalga- mation and threw their communal weight, sledge- hammer hard, behind the Free Noosa campaign.

Noosa Festival of Surfing lynchpin Sam Smith is the mother of two "grommets".

Clint Irwin is the former Noosa lifeguard turned senior council administrator who was "swallowed" by the forced Coast council amalgamations in 2008, and Micky Massoud is the daughter of the late Noosa identity Maisie, whose absolute love of the Noosa River is in Micky's blood.

They share the same conviction that they owe it to future generations, fortunate enough to live in a UNESCO Biosphere, to keep Noosa special. And by that they do not mean remote and elite, but intimate and welcoming - free of the bland, big city symbols of high rise, parking meters, in-your-face billboards and stifling traffic lights.

Sam Smith, daughter of local surf writer and Noosa Festival of Surfing director Phil Jarratt, was part of the ecstatic Free Noosa de-amalgamation vote beach party on Main Beach this time last year when a crushing 81.38% elected to leave the unwieldy, unresponsive Sunshine Coast Regional Council.

"I think when we were with the Sunshine Coast Council we were just too wide an area - we were lost," Sam said.

"It was very hard to get people to take notice because they were not based in Noosa."

Clint believes Noosa people owe the de-amalgamation vote to those who have gone before, like Dr Arthur Harrold, and "60 years of activism". And also to Clint's own son, 5, and daughter, 3 - and to their kids.

"It's almost as if you're passing on the baton to the next generation, to your kids, to protect the values, and people come here to enjoy what's here," he said.

"We've had a measured approach driven here by the community. When you come here you see trees and natural beauty, like that section from Sunrise down to Peregian.

"The community has been through a lot - they fought for stuff. This goes right back to the battles they've fought, whether it be on the environment front or elsewhere.

"Noosa people don't want all grass and concrete - just another soulless place," Clint said.

Micky, 61, said she only wished her mother Maisie - a proud part of the pioneering Massoud fishing clan - could have been alive to celebrate on March 9, 2013.

That was when Micky was part of the jubilant throng outside the Tewantin Council chambers to see the raising of the Noosa flag.

"It was bigger than Ben-Hur," she said.

Noosa had pulled off what many had thought could never be done - people power had prevailed.


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