CR MARK EDWARDS WILL LEAVE AN ISLAND LEGACY HARD TO MATCH!
So, Councillor Mark Edwards has announced he will not be standing for re-election when the next Local Government elections are held in 2024. The announcement by the councillor does not come as a total surprise. He said in his column in the April edition of The Friendly Bay Islander : “I have never thought that any political position should be a position of ‘right’ and that change of representation and views is an important feature for our Australian democratic political health. “My decision to not re-contest the next council election is to ensure that our community has a new councillor with a different perspective yet is dedicated to serve us all. “In making this announcement two years out from the election, it will allow sufficient time for prospective candidates to consider the role, be prepared, engage with the community and more importantly be able to transition from their employment or business commitments to a political role.” Councillor Edwards took over as Divison 5 Councillor for Redland City Council at the Local Government elections in 2012. That election was notable for a dramatic change that occurred at that time. It was a case of ‘out with the old and in with the new’. It was also the first election that Mayor Karen Williams was elected to the Mayoral position. Their election changed the face of council, despite some protagonists still in the fray. What was previously seen as an ‘anti islands’ council was replaced with a more ‘pro-islands’ body. Mark Edwards and Karen Williams were central to that new direction. Finally, after years of neglect, some funding started coming to our islands. The two key elements to the change were the island green seal road program that was ‘pioneered’ by Cr Edwards; and the deal that was struck with the then LNP State Government that involved Translink taking over island transport. Free travel between islands was a huge social winner and islanders started to change and notice a real difference. The other masterstroke by Cr Mark Edwards was his ‘analysis’ of our island history that instead of being the negative burden on Redland City Council as had always been portrayed, we actually ‘saved’ the council when the islands were handed over by the State Government to the Redlands in the 1970’s. Cr Edwards ‘proved’ that income from the island land and property sales were used by continuing Redland City Councils back in the day to fund the development of the mainland part of the Redlands, to the detriment of the islands. The days of councillors holding up a sign at election time saying: “Make the Islands Pay” is a thing of the past. It is fair to say that the islands are finally getting their ‘fair share’ of Council and State expenditure, but it is not before time. Mark Edwards is an astute politician and, as a former senior bank manager, his knowledge and skill has stood the test of time and has advantaged our island community considerably. We will be sorry to see him go as our Division 5 islands and Redland Bay representative at the Redland City Council table. Fortunately, he will still be around for the next two years, which will allow him to 'cross off’ some other important objectives for our islands.