A Noosa River publicferry service may help ease traffic snarls.
A Noosa River publicferry service may help ease traffic snarls.

‘A ferry poor’ response to public river transport

NOOSA River ferries are under-utilised and may hold part of the solution to easing peak traffic problems at Hastings St, according to a local transport lobbyist.

Tewantin resident Kate Gardiner (no relation to this reporter) said Mayor Tony Wellington’s council “may able to negotiate a win-win solution with Noosa ferries whereby locals can travel more cheaply”.

“After all locals are currently paying for the Go Noosa strategy via the sustainable transport levy,” she said.

To date her ongoing bid to have Noosa Council carry out a thorough investigation of her proposals is yet to be rewarded.

Her last attempt was during the first public question time in open council where a council officer admitted there had been no detailed council examination to introduce a public service.

“I have repeatedly asked council to investigate whether river transport might be part of the solution to the Hastings St traffic congestion,” Ms Gardiner said.

“Disappointingly it is three years since I (first) asked council to consider river transport options as an element of the traffic management solution.

“Today we are not much closer to solving the problem. Yes we have free bus services running through holiday periods, however we still have massive traffic jams in and out of the Hastings St precinct even with so-called ‘traffic controllers’ paid for by ratepayers,” she said.

Council has responded that it would not run a service to compete with the private river ferries and that any public service could create parking congestion around ferry terminals the council did not own.

Ms Gardiner said there are seven wharf stops along Noosa River “so vehicle traffic could potentially park anywhere in the vicinity of that 5/6 km stretch”

“Many locals and visitors have easy walking/riding access to one of the existing wharves and would not require parking,” she said.

“The use of river transport aligns well with our vision of sustainable environmental outcomes,” she said.

Ms Gardiner said Noosa Council’s annual report revealed there has been only a 2 per cent decrease in the use of private vehicles as a result of the Go Noosa campaign.

“Surely it is time for Noosa Council to at least investigate other options that could contribute to an effective and long term solution to our transport woes.”

“As we roll toward the council election, I will be looking to vote for candidates who really do listen to their community,” Ms Gardiner said.