OUR SAY: Election race is now underway

THE field is set and the race has started to the 2016 local government elections on March 19 with a string of late nominations expanding the field.

Three candidates will now contest the Sunshine Coast Council mayoralty with a further three seeking the position on Noosa Council.

In Noosa, voters will be experiencing a changing of the guard in a community which has been led by either Noel Playford or Bob Abbot for the past 28 years.

READ: REVEALED: Here is your final list of council candidates

Further south Mark Jamieson is attempting to become the first second-term mayor of the amalgamated Sunshine Coast Council and for central Coast voters formerly ratepayers of Maroochy Shire, the first incumbent to be re-elected since Fred Murray's nine-year reign between 1985 and 1994.

The region is poised on the cusp of the next stage of what has been a perpetual growth spurt since the late 1970s.

The next four years will help determine whether the future can experience the best of what we now enjoy while meeting the challenges that come with further rapid growth.