Leaders battle for playground supremacy

Two Noosa community leaders are at loggerheads over the scale and scope of the $5.2 million hinterland adventure park in the heart of Cooroy.

Cooroy Area Residents Association president Rod Ritchie says Noosa Council has realised the park is over budget and will have to reduce its original grand design.

Cooroy will cash in from playground

$5 million for playground a COVID misadventure

However, Noosa Hinterland Residents Association head Rob Neely is urging the council to deliver its outdoor recreation vision in full.

Mr Neely said criticism aimed at the adventure playground beside the library were “red herrings and nonsense”.

Adventure is child's play in Cooroy as Noosa Council continues to plan for a major hinterland investment.
Adventure is child's play in Cooroy as Noosa Council continues to plan for a major hinterland investment.

“For them to build that it’s going to be a game changer,” Mr Neely said.

“This is going to create 27 full-time jobs during the construction.

“The playground is a well thought out and completely financed project.”

He said the council-commissioned financial report carried out by consultant AEC highlighted the adventure playground’s worth as an economic driver, estimating a $1.2 million a year would flow into the town.

He said the report found another 17 full-time positions would be required to run the park during a year.

“One of the areas that we need to really focus on is the idea of this is to get the kids out of their lounge rooms and off their iPads and everything else, outside in the fresh air to stimulate their minds and bodies,” Mr Neely said.

He said Cooroy Area Residents Association’s concerns over a lack of adequate parking did not factor in the availability of about 60 or 70 nearby library car spaces for most of the weekend when the library was closed.

The original designs for the $5.2 million Hinterland Adventure Playground released by Noosa Council.
The original designs for the $5.2 million Hinterland Adventure Playground released by Noosa Council.

“We were down there on a Thursday afternoon and there were probably 75 to 80 per cent of the spots at the library were free and all of the spots on the road were free,” he said.

“Council’s going to put in another 60 spots apparently.

Mr Ritchie said the whole process to date had been delayed by COVID-19, but his members had accepted the project was going ahead.

“It’s well over the budget, they got 2.8 (million dollars) from the state and committed 2.4 (million dollars), so that’s 5.2,” he said.

“They’re obviously going to have to cut the costs to suit the budget.

“What we’re saying is ‘yes, if you’re going to redesign it, please consult with the community because to date there’s been no consultation’,” Mr Ritchie said.

He said it was always over-scale for the site and original design would have created other problems for the town with traffic congestion.

.