Concerns have been raised about the Noosa Heads Lions park being used for September carparking but most councillors are keen to help encourage the drive tourist market in these pandemic times.
Concerns have been raised about the Noosa Heads Lions park being used for September carparking but most councillors are keen to help encourage the drive tourist market in these pandemic times.

Council’s green space sacrifice boosts business

Despite concerns raised by deputy mayor Frank Wilkie about the need to guard against Hastings St’s green entry statement being used too often as a carpark, council has approved Noosa Heads Lions Park for a much-needed economic driver.

This strategically located open space will, for the first time, be opened up for overflow parking for the crucial September holidays.

Noosa Council will also seek state approval to use the recreation area to support local businesses for all school holidays and long weekends until the COVID-19 pandemic runs its course.

Prime parking space really pays off

Weather will make or break holiday period

Council will offer paid parking at Noosa Heads Lions Park from tomorrow to October 5 for the holidays.

It has traditionally been used for this purpose only over Christmas and Easter peak holidays,

“Although I appreciate the need of councillors to support businesses in these difficult times, I need to point out that we are crossing a threshold of sorts here in terms of principles and practices that have set Noosa apart as a key destination,” Cr Wilkie said.

“And that is the value we place on green space.

The Go Noosa free buses will eventually replace the holiday parking in the local Noosa Heads Lions park once COVID-19 moves on.
The Go Noosa free buses will eventually replace the holiday parking in the local Noosa Heads Lions park once COVID-19 moves on.

“In our Noosa design principles it actually makes a point that we need to avoid sacrificing public open space for carparking and that open space will remain a priority, even though the demand for carparking seems limitless,” he said.

Cr Wilkie, who was the sole dissenting vote at the Thursday council ordinary meeting, said he was glad the councillors were setting a defined limit as it may be very difficult to wean a community off the use off “our beautiful green space” if the practice were to continue beyond the health emergency declaration.

“Long-term if there is a constant practice of converting a green space to a carpark as an entry statement to the premier precinct, over time there’s a risk that it could reduce the visitor experience,” Cr Wilkie said.

Cr Joe Jurisevic said he appreciated Cr Wilkie’s concerns but the carpark weaning would occur with the peak time reintroduction of the Go Noosa public transport strategy with its circulating free link bus to Hastings St.

Mayor Clare Stewart said providing the extra parking spaces in September would help cater for an influx of road-tripping Queenslanders expected to arrive in the shire.

“Given the border closures, our local businesses are relying on Queensland visitors,” Cr Stewart said.

There are no free holiday buses for these holidays, but the local park beside Hastings St is converting to a carpark.
There are no free holiday buses for these holidays, but the local park beside Hastings St is converting to a carpark.

“With many of them hopping in their cars to drive here we need to do all we can to accommodate them so they can get out and about and support local businesses,” she said.

The mayor said opening up additional carparking in Noosa Heads during the September holidays could help deliver the extra patronage some businesses needed to stay afloat.

“Providing extra parking so that more people can come here and get out and about in Noosa during the holidays can only help our economy,” she said.

“The extra parking will also assist locals who are holidaying at home and want to venture into Noosa Heads during the school break,” Cr Stewart said.

“This is something simple we can do to support local traders during this challenging time. If it was business as usual we’d continue with our strategy to promote alternative forms of moving people into the Hastings St precinct.

“The council needs to be adaptable and accommodate the inevitable influx of vehicles in the short-term.”

Council will close the Lions Park to vehicles as required during wet weather, in order to minimise damage to the grass.

Tewantin-Noosa Lions Club will manage the September paid parking with 50 per cent of the proceeds going to the club, with the remaining funds to be used by council to maintain and improve the park and fund temporary fencing and signage.