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The changing face of the Coast

The Sunshine Coast is culturally diverse, says Rebecca Grisman

Opinion

The changing face of the Coast

Rebecca Grisman has noticed the Sunshine Coast becoming more culturally diverse as a younger demographic settles in.

It’s pretty exciting how the faces around us are changing as our region grows.

The Coast was once known for the steady influx of retiring people moving here for the sun and surf beaches from southern climes, out west, the hinterland ranges, large grazing properties inland and the tropical north.

We had a lot of nicknames for some suburbs that I barely hear anymore.

Regional statistics suggest to me that it’s because the new wave of seachangers and treechangers is now more likely made up of families seeking to raise their kids in a healthy, liveable, natural environment that also offers flexible working options.

Those families are also more ethnically and culturally diverse and I see the proof in the booming number of multicultural events on offer every week.

I play a game with my seven-year-old son where we spin the globe, he randomly stops it and we go find a place to eat or visit that’s connected with that country.

So far we’ve experienced a Japanese festival, Thai noodles, Brazilian music, American football, Argentinian tango, African drumming and Nepalese food, all within the boundaries of the greater Sunshine Coast.

It’s a fun challenge and it’s probably been more eye-opening for me than for him, to learn just how many diverse groups are humming within our community.

Local age demographic statistics do slippery dip again though when it comes to young people graduating school and job seeking.

We face the same perennial issue as most regional towns when it comes to retaining our school leavers.

I understand that it’s almost a rite of passage to leave the nest to take up a trade or enrol in courses anywhere but home – I did it too.

I already dread having this conversation with my kid within the next 10 years.

A new and interesting spike though, is the growing number of skilled and tertiary educated 20-somethings who are settling locally.

It’s a heartening sign that the Sunshine Coast’s increasing opportunities are clearer to people of every age and perhaps the balance between affordability and comparative wage rates is improving, so that buying a home or business and creating a career here is more attractive.

There is an accompanying upward bump in diversity and I’m pleased to see that too.

I think a lot about our future region and how it will look, feel and thrive in a decade and more.

I think about it from my own shoes as I inch towards a milestone year; from my parents’ perspective as they begin considering aged care; and on behalf of my second grader, plus all my fellow parents who are wondering what we can all create or contribute to give our kids the same or better opportunities.

Wherever we are from and however long we’ve been here ultimately doesn’t matter, not as much as what we can do to make this place better, friendlier and more robust while we share it.

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Rebecca Grisman is a communications specialist who has lived on the Sunshine Coast for more than 20 years.

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