Jul 7, 2024 | Local News

‘Leave our Noosa River foreshore alone’ locals tell council

Vivienne Wynter

A vocal group of residents is calling on Noosa Council to scrap or amend its Noosaville Foreshore Infrastructure Plan because it will change the area too much.

Council plans to reinforce the foreshore with elevated sand dunes and new sea walls, remove over 100 car parks and relocate a riverside tennis court built in the 1940s to make way for an all-abilities playground.

Artist’s impression of the foreshore redevelopment showing sand dunes

The first council to declare a Climate Emergency, Noosa Council governs a coastal area vulnerable to climate change with conservative projections that sea level will rise by 0.8m in the region by the year 2100.

Council says the goal of the foreshore plan is to mitigate future flooding and  ‘…create and enhance a peaceful, relaxing public open space for people to enjoy the river into the future, whilst adapting to and responding to the growing impacts of climate change’.

The plan also says it aims to ‘serve as an example of climate led design’.

Not happy, Jan

A significant proportion of Noosa residents are not buying it.

In July. Noosa locals rallied against the Noosa River foreshore redevelopment plan. IMAGE: Vivienne Wynter

Of the 58,000 residents, a couple of thousand have signed petitions against the foreshore plan and the same number have made submissions to council (though it’s not known how many are for or against).

Around two hundred residents attended a rally at the Gympie Terrace Tennis Court in early July to hear speakers opposed to the plan.

Noosaville Tennis Club Secretary Rachel Upton. IMAGE Vivienne Wynter

‘The soul of Noosa’

Rally organiser and business owner Andrew McCarthy said the Noosa foreshore plan was more suited to a capital city than Noosaville.

‘I grew up on the Noosa foreshore: it’s the soul of Noosa for locals.

‘Hastings Street is too busy and this is where we have all our family and community events,’ Mr McCarthy said.

‘Any changes to our beautiful Noosaville foreshore needs the lightest touch or we risk losing our heritage.

‘The Noosa Foreshore Plan will change the look, feel and soul of the area.

‘Sure, fix the old and broken stuff but don’t reduce our access and change how it looks.’

‘Leave our Noosa foreshore alone and leave our riverside car parks alone.’

Removal of car parks and tennis court key issues          

Fellow organiser Debra Walz said the loss of car parks and the riverside tennis court were the biggest issues.

‘Reducing car parks affects all the businesses,’ Ms Walz said.

‘The tennis court should be heritage listed, not removed.

‘We don’t think council have provided enough evidence that climate change justifies the foreshore plan.

‘Council have to listen to us. We elected them.’

Long-time Noosaville resident Trevor Clarey dressed as John McEnroe as light relief for the rally, but he had a serious message.

‘The tennis court is part of Noosaville,’ Mr Clarey said.

‘I won the B Grade Championship here in 1960 when I was 16.

‘The court is important to so many early families here. Don’t destroy it. Make it part of the redevelopment.’

Noosa Councillor Amelia Lorentson attended the rally and said council should listen to the community.

‘This rally is a really great reminder of who our bosses are. My job is to listen,’ Cr Lorentson said.

The Pineapple’s search of social media discussion of the foreshore plan revealed intense opposition from residents and few positive comments.

One Noosa ratepayer, Clare Jericho, has mixed feelings.

‘Whilst some of the plan isn’t ideal there are parts of foreshore management that need to be addressed to help resisilence during major weather events especially as now there is a lot more infrastructure, houses and people,’ Ms Jericho said.

Mayor tells residents council will listen

In a letter sent to the rally, Noosa Mayor Frank Wilkie (who was away on leave) said council was committed to improving the foreshore.

‘We all want to see the improvements the community flagged last year in the first phase of the public consultation become realised and we have a genuine commitment to achieve them.

‘Improved access, upgraded all-abilities playgrounds, furniture and public facilities, safer pathways and more space for everyone to enjoy were the clear priorities,’ Mayor Wilkie wrote.

Map of the section of the Noosa River council plans to redevelop

‘Your feedback from this second phase of public consultation will help guide more refined plans of a foreshore we all can be proud of.

‘I can assure you, all of your elected representatives and council staff are listening and carefully considering the feedback in good faith.’

Council says it’s about resilience to coastal hazards, climate change

Noosa Infrastructure Services Director, Shaun Walsh said the draft foreshore plan incorporated strategies from council’s Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan and Climate Change Response Plan to tackle challenges such as flooding, sea-level rise and storm tides.

“Upgrading our infrastructure to meet the diverse needs of our community while ensuring the foreshore is resilient to the impacts of climate change is a top priority,” Mr Walsh said.

Gympie Terrace, on the southern bank of the Noosa River, floods during high rain events and the foreshore plan says council’s goal in building sand dunes and new seawalls is to ‘increase inundation resilience as well as erosion protection’.

Council wants to make the Noosa River foreshore more resilient to climate change and flooding. IMAGE Vivienne Wynter

Council said the new infrastructure plan would guide the rollout of new assets along the foreshore such as amenities, playground facilities, lookouts, seating hubs, barbecues, gazebos, park furniture, pathways, lighting, fitness equipment and trees.

The plan says there are ‘opportunities’ for around 90 new car parks located in side streets leading to the Noosa River.

Council aims to have the Noosa Foreshore Infrastructure Plan completed by late 2024.

The second phase of Community consultation on the plan closed on 7 July 2024.

For details of the Noosa Council Infrastructure Plan, go to the Your Say Noosa Council website


PHOTO at top of story: Noosa business owner Craig Vella was MC at the rally. IMAGE: Vivienne Wynter


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