Could Sekisui ruin Australia Day for Coolum?
Could Sekisui ruin Australia Day for Coolum?

Why one cane toad could ruin Australia Day

A CANE toad called Sekisui is threatening to mar Coolum's Australia Day celebrations.

For the past decade, the Coolum Lions Club and North Shore Realty have hosted the Australia Day cane toad race, with the toads named after popular characters making the news. The funds raised go to support charities like Cittamani Hospice, Meals on Wheels and the Salvation Army.

But some Coolum residents feel Lions Club president Don Knopke has taken it "too far" this year by naming a cane toad Sekisui - and then saying its "impeccable form" had it tipped as the favourite.

Sekisui House is an international company lobbying to develop a billion dollar high-rise development on beachfront at Yaroomba.

Long-term residents Lyn Saxton and Julie Failor were further offended the race "form guide" for another toad entry, Jamieson's Malt, was struggling against Nimby, Self Interest and Not in My Backyard who were determined to "hold him back".

"It is too over-the-top," Ms Saxton said. "It is just not funny."

Ms Failor said she had wanted to put salt on Sekisui so it could be "dead in its tracks", but had decided against it.

Coolum newspapers have been inundated with letters from others complaining about the toads' names.

Lions' boss Mr Knopke said he was hurt people had misinterpreted his intent- ions.

In 10 years Mr Knopke organising the Australia Day North Shore Cane Toad race, he said he had always had fun naming the contenders. He said he had never had a complaint before.

"They have completely misinterpreted things, to say the least," Mr Knopke said. "I made Sekisui the favourite this year because it has ruffled a few feathers. It has been the biggest talking point in town. Last year Clive (Palmer) was the favourite because he won Fairfax."

Coolum Business and Tourism president and North Shore Realty franchise owner, Noel Mooney, was also surprised at the amount of concern over the naming of Sekisui. "The Lions do heaps for the town," he said. "It's all about a bit of humour."

His biggest concern was that, so far, no one had bought Sekisui at an asking price of $125 for the day.

"We've only sold two (of the 20) toads to compete. I hope Sekisui buys it."

Other contenders in Monday's cane toad race include Corporate Clive, the 2013 winner, which has "forged a reputation all over the country since then".

There is also the "smart filly" called Fearless Fiona and No Candoo.

Mr Knopke will select the toads for Monday's event from a "friend's farm" on the weekend. Irrespective of which wins, the will all end up at the same after-party - in Mr Knopke's freezer.



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