Ripples. March 19th, 2023

The SS Noosa Council was listing and leaking again this week as it grappled with a different ‘Short Stay’ problem… the surprising announcement of the departure of CEO Scott Waters.    (see our coverage here) 

Mayor Stewart & departing CEO Scott Waters

Just 14-months since Noosa ratepayers provided his ticket back to Queensland from Darwin, Mr Waters has found greener (and better paid) pastures just to our South in the much larger Moreton Bay Council.

In the poorly spun release from Pelican Street, there was little explanation as to why our Council CEO had not batted what the commercial world would consider a ‘decent’ time at the wicket.

New Acting Council CEO Larry Sengstock with Mayor Stewart

The mayor was bailing hard to avoid the impression of a Council in turmoil. The lengthy process of finding a permanent replacement was delayed with Council Infrastructure Director and former basketball great Larry Sengstock quickly plugged into the role of acting-CEO until after the Council elections next year.

Nothing to see here folks. Mayor Clare Stewart was trying to soothe a shocked Council with a pep talk direct from Crisis HR 101 ; “it is firmly business as usual and we have the foundations to go forward, the drive to deliver and the ability to execute, and make no mistakes, we will execute.” 

Could this Council crisis management explain the Mayor’s extraordinary response to a newspaper letter from a long-time local who had the temerity to accuse the current Council of being overly “pro business”, “pro tourism” and “residents be damned”?  Five minutes in social media will confirm these views are not uncommon.

Mayor Stewart used her Noosa Today platform to mount a long and pugilistic response; accusing the writer of  “numerous false and malicious allegations “.  “Such denunciations and falsehoods disappoint me. They are ugly and unproductive” she thundered.

Some readers were more than a little surprised that such increasingly routine criticism appeared to get under the mayor’s skin. (See the Mayor’s Noosa Today column here)

LNP’s Leigh McCready and Mayor Stewart

Meanwhile, Ms Stewart’s ambitious LNP mate Leigh McCready has told her local LNP committee she’s stepping down as Noosa branch chair to seek nomination for the seat of Noosa, which could see her running against Independent MP Sandy Bolton in October next year.

Locals may remember Ms McCready’s high profile role in the last Noosa election campaign three years ago when the Independent Council Election Observer (ICEO) found she was indeed a property developer and had been supporting ‘Future Noosa’ candidates, despite misleading claims from the team that they had no connection to developers.  This could be another interesting campaign.

Finally, a few words on the loss of Alan ‘Fox’ Rogers, Noosa Council’s well-known former Director of Community Services, who died recently after a long battle with cancer.

Tony Wellington & Alan ‘Fox’ Rogers

This insight came from his mate, former mayor Tony Wellington.

“Fox was a deep thinker and armchair philosopher. He was also incredibly empathetic. This trait came into play when he took over the thorny issue of John’s Landing under the revamped Noosa Council. Around 90 adults and children were living rough in a dilapidated camping area on the Noosa River. When Council purchased the land, Fox established the Noosa Community Partnership Roundtable that brought together government agencies, service providers and welfare organisations. Under Fox’s leadership, all of the individuals living at John’s Landing were relocated, with family groups mostly being housed in the local area. In a very real way, dozens of lives were improved.”

Tony Wellington

Fox was preparing to express some of that empathy writing for us here at Noosa matters, but unfortunately that was not to be. He will be missed.


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