HOT ISSUE: Rayilee Griffiths (right) and protesters at a Sunshine Coast Hospice general meeting in October.
HOT ISSUE: Rayilee Griffiths (right) and protesters at a Sunshine Coast Hospice general meeting in October. Patrick Woods

Our biggest stories of 2016

REFLECTING on the year that was, the Noosa News reported on some big stories, small stories, heart-breaking stories, and stories of hope.

Here are some of the most memorable stories of 2016.

Katie Rose Cottage saga

While it seemed there was no end in sight for the disputes between board members and volunteers, The Katie Rose Cottage saga is finally moving forward in a positive direction.

The divide began in December 2015, when the Doonan hospice faced a funding crisis and closed.

Board director Dr Frank Lewins announced a plan to open a new purpose-built hospice to gain private hospital accreditation in February 2016.

In September, palliative care equipment at the Cottage was locked up and the Doonan property was listed for sale.

After protests and walk-outs at meetings between Sunshine Hospice volunteers and the board, a breakaway group emerged in October, lead by Sue Story and Terry Clarke-Burrows.

Sue and Terry gained charity status for Katie Rose Cottage and will begin operating from a new hospice in Cudgerie Estate, Black Mountain soon.

Petrol prices

While the rest of the state had some of the lowest petrol prices in 15 years, Noosa drivers were filling up for an extra 5c to 20c a litre.

An RACQ spokesperson said petrol could be more expensive in Noosa because stations charged a tourist destination premium.

The Village Bicycle

In August, the Noosa Council suggested limiting the Village Bicycle's opening hours to 10pm due to noise complaints from nearby residences.

In late December, the Village Bicycle reopened with a bigger venue on Sunshine Beach Rd.

This ended in a win-win for both parties - a quieter Bottlebrush Ave, and more room for late-night revellers.

Noosa Civic

It came as a shock to some when an appeal to double the Noosa Civic's retail space was rejected on Christmas week.

It looks like the shopping mall will stay just as it is. but the council is keen to hold talks with management for other uses.

Politicians visited

Tony Abbott famously dropped in on a surfer's wave at a Noosa National Park beach in March - not a very cool move, dude.

Acting PM Barnaby Joyce opened the Peregian Beach IGA in September.

Nudist beach goers

Noosa police appeared to have ramped up fines for indecent exposure this year at Alexandria Bay, the unofficial clothing optional spot, and nudists were angry. Noosa police said they acted on complaints and standard patrolling of the area.

Maddy Rice

Noosa girl Maddy Rice, 21, was on a working holiday in Scotland when she was tragically killed on the side of the road near the Isle of Skye.

With Maddy's death making headlines all around the world, a crowd-funding page set up to bring her body home raised more than $30,000 in 24 hours.

Madison Rice was believed to have been working at Kinloch Lodge in Sleat.
Noosa girl Madison Rice was remembered as "bright and bubbly”. Supplied Facebook

Maddy's step father Alix Walsh said she was "living her dream” travelling and working in the United Kingdom and she was loving life.

"Madison was a bright and bubbly person,” he said.

Peregian Springs Golf Club

After losing millions in revenue in recent years, the golf course went in to administration and then liquidation in June and July.

In November, a Victorian golf course management company was awarded the right to operate the Peregian Springs Golf Club, and it reopened in December.

Food and Wine

After two sponsors pulled out of one of Noosa's most celebrated events, the Food and Wine festivity nearly didn't happen this year.

At the 11th hour - or six weeks before show time on May 20 - Tourism Noosa stepped up and managed to deliver one of the best Food and Wine events on record.

Makepeace Island koalas

Makepeace Island owners Brett Godfrey and Sir Richard Branson are helping save Noosa's koalas.
Brett Godfrey and Sir Richard Branson announced plans to help save Noosa's koalas. Contributed

In September, entrepreneur Richard Branson announced his Noosa River getaway Makepeace Island would be set up as a conservation area for koalas. The island will deliver programs to help repopulate Noosa's koalas.