Push to change Hervey Bay's name to Newport Beach
TRANSFORMING our low socio-economic region into a town of Mercedes-driving, lobster-eating residents could be as simple as stealing the name of a posh American city.
Real estate agent Chris Couper wants to rename Hervey Bay, Newport Beach.
Hailed as a surfing capital, Newport Beach in California isn't the first place you'd compare to our calm Hervey Bay.
But Mr Couper, who unsuccessfully stood for Fraser Coast Mayor in 2012, believes adopting the name of the Californian town would boost the region's profile.
"Hervey Bay is proudly part of the Fraser Coast but Hervey Bay itself needs to change its name to move forward," he said.
He's suggesting a name change to Newport Bay or Newport Beach would help shake off the "high unemployment and high council rates tag".
"For a start, real estate prices would rise, tourists would come and things would start to happen," he said.
"In America, Newport Beach is a trendy beachside city which is regarded as upmarket and an 'in' place to visit."
Major Australian cities such as Alice Springs and Darwin have changed their names in the 20th century.
Alice Springs was known as Stuart until 1933 and Palmerstone was renamed Darwin in 1911.
But despite Mr Couper's enthusiasm, Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell didn't warm to the idea.
"I think Hervey Bay has a rich history - one of the real values of the Fraser Coast is its respect for history," he said.
"It's a well-entrenched title - I think the thing that's probably more important is the region of the Fraser Coast continues to be promoted and acknowledged worldwide."
But a persistent Mr Couper called on the residents of the region to have their say to make it happen.
"We would need people power for change," he said.
"To make things happen sometimes we have to think outside the square."
What do you think? Comment below and vote in our poll.
Should Hervey Bay's name be changed to Newport Beach?
This poll ended on 19 October 2014.
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