Former deputy mayor Chris Thompson has launched a campaign to become mayor of the Sunshine Coast.
Former deputy mayor Chris Thompson has launched a campaign to become mayor of the Sunshine Coast. john mccutcheon

Former deputy mayor launches bid for top job

THE first candidate for Sunshine Coast Council mayor at elections to be held next year has declared he will be fighting for the region's future.

Former deputy mayor and Division Four councillor Chris Thompson said for the past 18 months he had been approached by people who had lost trust in the incumbent Mark Jamieson.

Mr Thompson was the council's head of finance, governance, corporate services and water when he stepped down at the 2016 election to spend more time with his growing family that now includes four children.

The 30-year Sunshine Coast resident served as a Division Four councillor from 2004 to 2016 before which he spent six years in the Royal Australian Navy and in senior positions with private enterprise.

The Bachelor of Business from the University of the Sunshine Coast with an MBA from the University of Queensland has described as "alarming" council financial figures to the end of August.

Mr Thompson said the council's debt position had gone from below $270 million to above $400 million while the nett cash position had plummeted from in the vicinity of $70m to negative $110m.

"I suspect the total nett debt would be over $400 million," Mr Thompson said.

"They don't publish notes with the financial reports so you can't see what's really happening.

"The forecast cash balance is diving, and all charts appear to be heading in the one direction. "The council is racking up enormous debt and living beyond its means."

Mr Thompson said people he had spoken with were concerned the Sunshine Coast was losing its lifestyle, that community concerns were being ignored and that there was no transparency in aspects of council's decision making.

"I've been considering this for some time," he said.

"We need to respond before it's too late.

"I am someone who will provide open, strong and honest leadership, and will stand up for the Sunshine Coast. It's time for change and to get the balance right."

The keen surfer said the time was now right to lead the Sunshine Coast toward a "more balanced future".

"I'm looking forward to the contest," he said.

"My wife Jane is 100 per cent supportive and the kids want me to do it."

Mr Thompson said he had initially been flattered to be considered with such high regard by those who had approached him to run but had brushed it off as a compliment.

"It became more consistent," he said.

"People in the streets and at the shops were coming to me with their concerns.

"There's two elements to it.

"A lack of trust and people can see the Sunshine Coast lifestyle evaporating with development at any cost.

"The council has been too willing to override the planning scheme with amendments outside community expectation.

"People have been surprised by planning decisions that have occurred without consultation but where the mayor appears to have been across it for a long time.

"If elected I will provide honest and transparent leadership.

"I will work with the community and business groups to ensure we have a prosperous future, while at the same time protecting the environment and our Coast lifestyle."