Noosa councillors have criticised the scope of a state government draft report into managing the growth of boating and trailer facilities in Queensland, including Noosa River.
The draft report identifies seven priority projects in Noosa boat ramps, where further discussions with Maritime Services Queensland (MSQ) can “support expedient placement of the Noosa Woods Pontoon, Gympie Terrace Noosaville Pontoon and Lake Street Tewantin Pontoon to assist in improving boating access to the Noosa River”.
It also recommends council initiates “planning processes jointly with MSQ and TMR (Transport and Main Roads) to upgrade facilities at Albert/Thomas Street Boat Ramp, Hilton Esplanade Boat Ramp, Lake Street Boat Ramp and Moorindil Street Boat Ramp”.
It suggests a new ramp should be installed at Chaplin Park on Gympie Terrace as one of the seven priorities.
No upgrades of facilities have been considered since 2006. The state budget for facilities upgrades across Queensland is $138 million, but only $5 million is allocated at this stage for Noosa.
The report goes on to mention the dearth of deep-draft facilities at Noosa River, suggesting at least one facility should be created to handle larger boats.
It indicates further funding would be considered for dealing with the ‘onshore’ facilities required to support these ‘offshore’ facilities.
Councillors welcomed the upgrades but said the draft report represented a one-size-fits-all approach to the problem and focused on river access without taking into account the environmental, traffic and trailer-parking impacts on the foreshore, which are particularly acute in a small location like Noosa River, causing complaints from residents whose streets are being blocked by boat trailer parking.
Noosa problems need a Noosa response
Cr Brian Stockwell said the report assumes increased “unrestrained” demand which will have an equal impact on all facilities across the state.
“The study does not mention the capacity or ability for the Noosa River to absorb growth – which is a flaw in the methodology,” he said.
“It is a huge gap in the thinking. To me it’s really important that when staff do talk to them they tell them that this council does not plan like that.
“Growth, and facilitation of growth, is not demand management.
“What the purpose of this study should be is how to create safe, enjoyable opportunities on the Noosa River for the boating public.
Cr Stockwell said the planning should “not be silly enough” to facilitate for more cars and trailers.
The meeting unanimously endorsed the recommendation to pursue upgrades and work with MSQ to improve the review – but reject any plans for a facility at Chaplin Park due to foreshore environmental factors.