KEVIN Byrne believes his failure to shed the "false" image that he is a developers' best friend cost him his third consecutive term as mayor.
The Unity Team leader was crushed yesterday after conceding defeat to Val Schier in the Cairns Regional Council election.
“I'm shattered,”"Mr Byrne told The Cairns Post.
His eight-year reign ended at the weekend when he polled about 1400 fewer votes than Ms Schier.
Mr Byrne said he struggled to counter the "false" perception painted by his opponents that he was pro-development.
He said he was effectively “destroyed” at the polling booths by residents in the northern beaches suburbs and the former Douglas shire who believed he had a "bulldozer waiting at the gates".
“We all know that's not the case," he said.
“You cannot change city or town plans, not even me, without due process.
“There was the perception that this council, and me in particular, was pro-development. What I tried to do was manage it because this place will grow whether I'm mayor or not.”
Mr Byrne was first elected mayor in 1992 but ousted in 1995.
He was re-elected in 2000 and became the second longest serving mayor in the Cairns council's history.
Mr Byrne said he was looking forward to spending time with wife Amanda and daughter Isabel before planning his future in the private sector.
“I’ve still got a lot to offer but not in public life,” he said.
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Numbers up: Kevin Byrne reads the writing on the wall signalling the end of his bid for a third successive term as mayor.