Mayoral candidates Chris Loft and Gerard O'Connell.
Mayoral candidates Chris Loft and Gerard O'Connell. Contributed

FCO to be scrapped if Cr Loft elected mayor

THE region's peak tourism and economic development body Fraser Coast Opportunities will be scrapped if Chris Loft is elected mayor.

Addressing the crowd at the Chronicle's mayoral forums last week, Cr Loft said he would close the entity and restructure its tourism arm.

Justifying his cut, Cr Loft told the crowd international visitors to the Fraser Coast were down 11% and the entity had "been a failure".

Who would you vote for to become Fraser Coast mayor?

This poll ended on 09 March 2016.

Current Results

Lee Carter

0%

Gerard O'Connell

23%

Jannean Dean

22%

Chris Loft

46%

Steven Coleman

4%

Greg Schmidt

2%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

But regional statistics provided by Tourism and Events Queensland in September 2015 showed the number of international visitors had risen 6.8% annually.

With the inception of FCO driven by incumbent mayor Gerard O'Connell, it faced early challenges in 2014 with the resignation of several managers and board members.

But in the past year the entity has stabilised with interim general manager Leigh Bennett talking the helm.

Cr O'Connell said the entity would continue as planned if he was re-elected mayor.

Fellow mayoral candidate Jannean Dean said the entity "should go" - but could not say how economic investment and tourism would be structured once FCO was scrapped.

Steve Coleman said the entity was costing a lot of money (about $3 million each year), but he was not in favour of "slashing FCO at the ankles".

"It would be criminal to lose it; we need to nurture it and put it in the right direction," he said.

Greg Schmidt agreed with Cr Loft, pushing to wind up the entity to save money.