Time has all but run out out to have a say on the draft Noosa River Plan.
Time has all but run out out to have a say on the draft Noosa River Plan.

Council ‘misses the boat’ on river plan

AS THE public consultation closes today, Monday January 13, on the draft Noosa River Plan, the local commercial boat traders are adamant the council has missed the mark in key areas.

The Noosa Commercial Boatmans' Association on social media has declared the second draft of the plan is "a missed opportunity" and have called on the council to establish a river management committee or trust to so it can work with the community "in a cooperative partnership to complete the plan".

The NCBA also council's commitment to safeguarding the long-term future of the Noosa River.

Association member David Stielow of the Noosa Ferry said group is "very disappointed that the revised draft still only aspires to be a compliance program and not the comprehensive strategy that the river needs".

"This is a missed opportunity for council to partner with the community and business to protect the river's health for future decades," Mr Stielow said.

Greg Patrick, co-owner of T-Boats said the NCBA called on the council to commit to a comprehensive plan "that is aligned to federal and state legislation along with international marine regulations".

"The latest draft is another attempt by council to 'take control of the river' rather than focus on what really needs to be done to protect the river and its users," he said.

The NCBA submission to council cited flaws such "no reference to leakage from council's own sewerage infrastructure, no reference to flooding impacts and mitigation strategies, an exceptionally large focus on (ocean) turtles living outside the river compared to any other species in ocean or river".

The group said the plan also recommends a range of actions that are not linked to any identified issues which appear to be political ambitions unrelated to river health and safety, the NCBA release said.

Craig McGovern of Pelican Boat Hire said: "The report should be ringing alarm bells for river users as the plan lacks detail on things like a 'multi-use marine protected area to be established in the Noosa Area' and suggests recreational and commercial boat use is excessive and needs to be capped or subject to fees and permits to reduce usage to council's assessment of the river's ideal carrying capacity".

He said Mayor Tony Wellington recently announced his delight that Marine Safety Queensland were positioning a full-time officer in Noosa however this river plan does not refer to the initiative and still proposes council take over enforcement and compliance.

The NCBA has put forward this proposed actions by council:

1. Commit to delivering a comprehensive river plan.

2. Establish a river management committee or trust to ensure the Council and community work in a cooperative partnership to complete the plan, resolve the second draft shortfalls and strive to support a healthy river.

3. Ensure the draft plan:

a. Is aligned to State and Federal legislation and international regulations;

b. Reinstates community wellbeing in its vision (a change to the staff recommendation made at the last minute by Councillors) so it is consistent with the new draft Noosa Plan, Noosa Council's Corporate Plan, Noosa's Local Economic Plan, Noosa's Social Strategy and its Environment Strategy as well as Council's own Fishing Futures report.

c. Responds to industry and community feedback.

d. Ensures the plan's targets and outcomes are clearly defined and measurable.

4. Extend the immediate consultation deadline of today, Monday January 13 to allow proper community input and allow the next council to lead the implementation.

as the current Council has wasted four more years of report writing.

The NCBA represents the marine tourism and related industries operating in the Noosa Shire and members have operated continuously on the Noosa River for 70 years and are some of Noosa's oldest operating businesses.

"We represent charter boat operators, commercial jetty / boat hire operators, tourism companies, transport companies, marine repair and service business, construction businesses, fuel suppliers, retailers and hospitality businesses who work on and around the iconic Noosa River and are its major employer group."