OPINION: Farewell Fraser Coast, thanks for reading

AFTER three years of countless angry politicians, community events and a few fishing trips on the Sandy Strait, that's it for me on the Fraser Coast.

On Wednesday afternoon the sun will set on my time in the region - and what an adventure it has been.

I will head down to Tasmania to continue working in newspapers; and heavily promote the benefit of the HMAS Tobruk sinking off the Apple Isle.

As I arrived in the heritage city in January 2013, water was still lapping at the rails of the Lamington Bridge and mud still stained many Maryborough homes and businesses.

It was immediately clear about the quality of community I was about to join.

There has been many ups and downs in my journey of journalism on the Coast.

My fondest memory was with photographer Alistair Brightman after a Bay couple won $20,000 in Sunrise's cash cow.

As a cadet journalist, it was my job to dress as a cow for the photo shoot.

We arrived at an elderly couple's home, was led through their living room and to the backyard where they offered us some tea and eventually asked what we were there for.

Alistair and I had entered the wrong home and it took the kind couple several minutes to realise it was strange that a man dressed as a cow and another with a camera had arrived on their doorstep.

This council has provided some diverse stories.

Chopper chief Mike Becker describing councillors as piss-weak, the Fraser Coast Opportunities debacle, rumours of an O'Connell affair and the Darren Everard email fabrication were memorable.

Naysayers are quick to slam media as being untrustworthy and biased - particularly when their chosen politician or person is painted in a negative light.

Hayden Johnson follows the electoral trail. Photo: Valerie Horton / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Hayden Johnson follows the electoral trail. Photo: Valerie Horton / Fraser Coast Chronicle Valerie Horton

Can you imagine this Fraser Coast Regional Council without the fourth estate holding them to account?

You would not know about the council's Bunya Mountains trip, the division inside the council chamber over the sport precinct, Fraser Coast Opportunities and the office of the chief executive officer - inappropriate conduct charges also wouldn't make the public light.

The mayor's policy of offering journalists a no comment on matters is a flawed view.

It has not worked for him to date and it certainly will not work in the future.

The Fraser Coast Chronicle spends more on journalism in this region than any other company and you can depend on this capable team to continue reporting on what is being done with your money.

The saddest story was in August last year when a teary Michael and Amanda Christensen opened the door and allowed me into their Nikenbah home.

Cooper Christensen, their young superhero had just died from brain cancer.

Suddenly, all of life's problems seemed so trivial.

This region faces a unique challenge going forward.

Natural growth will ensure the Fraser Coast expands, but the quality of prosperity depends on how well the region grabs opportunities.

It needs a positive and collaborative approach from the entire community with a mindset that anything can be achieved.

Nothing soothes the soul like a golden sun set at Gatakers - make the most of it.

Until next time, thank you for your support, criticism and most importantly; reading the paper.

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