Keen surfer Cr Tom Wegener believes the Noosa North Shore wave pool has a case for approval.
Keen surfer Cr Tom Wegener believes the Noosa North Shore wave pool has a case for approval.

Support swells for North Shore wave pool

It is far too early to say “surf’s up” at a 4000sq m wave pool on Noosa North Shore but one of council’s two mad-keen surfers in Councillor Tom Wegener has indicated he’s inclined to give it the green light.

At the council planning and environment committee meeting Cr Wegener said there is a lot of interest generated by this proposal for a single dwelling development to accommodate 12 visitors with a nearby private wave pool.

Council planning staff are recommending the application made by Sunshine Coast builder Mark Bain, be refused for the 148,700 sqm site.

Cr Wegener said “as a surfer” and because of this community interest, he visited the Beach Rd property.

An aerial view of the site for the proposed wave pool and detached dwelling.
An aerial view of the site for the proposed wave pool and detached dwelling.

“I think it complies with the rules,” Cr Wegener said, “and I don’t think I could support council on this one”.

Council planners believe the wave pool should be part of the material change of use application as it was not an ancillary use as the application suggests.

“From my looking at what an ancillary use is, it’s a pool,” Cr Wegener said.

“There’s lots of pools over there on the North Shore already, it’s just a slightly bigger pool with a pump on one end.

“It’s making it look like that it’s going to be a tourist attraction and that the house is just a small part of it … the pool is the actual tourist attraction, is that right?” he said of the council report.

Artist's impression of accommodation for 12 at the Noosa North Shore site.
Artist's impression of accommodation for 12 at the Noosa North Shore site.

Council development assessment manager Kerri Coyle said planning staff think this is not an “ancillary” use because of the pool scale and “potential impacts it brings”.

“It will also be the main attractor to the site, people aren’t necessarily going to go there for the accommodation, they’re more likely to go there because of the offering of the wave pool on the site,” she said.

“If it was a swimming pool, a typical swimming pool, I’d call that ancillary, but a wave park such as proposed … 4000 sq m is not considered ancillary given the impacts it will have, ” Ms Coyle said.

Planning committee chair Cr Brian Stockwell said this was about one acre of pool area under the old terminology.

Cr Wegener, the master surfboard shaper, who along with Cr Amelia Lorentson are deeply entrenched in the Noosa surf community, was not allowed to argue his case further as the matter has been referred on to council’s general committee meeting where councillors’ positions will be put on Monday.

However councillors were allowed to ask questions of staff and Mayor Clare Stewart asked about the accommodation proposal to accommodate 12 guests in a two-bedroom, three-bedroom detached dwelling.

“I’m just confused as to what it’s going to be used for,” Cr Stewart said.

Ms Coyle said the application to fit this number of people in to such a dwelling “doesn’t make sense to me”.

Koala habitat mapping on the Noosa North Shore proposed wave pool site.
Koala habitat mapping on the Noosa North Shore proposed wave pool site.

Cr Stewart was told by Ms Coyle the potential accommodation capacity for this site under the new plan was possibly about six cabins.

Ms Stewart, referring to information in the council report indicating it will take 300 trucks to fill the wave pool up with water, asked what would be the impact of having so much heavy vehicle traffic on the river ferry service and on local residents.

The applicant maintains the pool would fill by natural rainfall, but Ms Coyle said council estimated this would take a year to achieve.

“We can ask the applicant how long it may take,” she said.

“We can try and work out how long we think it would take for 300 trucks to go over the ferry.”

Ms Coyle said there would also be an impact on those living along the truck haul route.

Cr Brian Stockwell said he understood this was to be a freshwater wave pool, but there appeared to be an alternative option to pump water out of the river to fill it up.

“Does that then make it a saltwater pool?”

Ms Coyle said it may be that the developer planned to “treat it (the water) in some way”.

The 4000 sqm pool as it sits on the North Shore land.
The 4000 sqm pool as it sits on the North Shore land.

Cr Wegener said he would also like to have more information on “how this was likely to adversely impact on the amenity of visitors and residents of Noosa North Shore”.

Ms Coyle said: “What (council planning) officers were saying is that it has potential to have impact on the route to fill the lagoon up initially, but to also top up the lagoon over time.”

“The other concern is that because we don’t know what type of system it is, it’s difficult to assess any noise impacts from the equipment used to operate the lagoon itself and the wave action,” she said.

Ms Coyle said there was a proposal to put some of the equipment under ground “which sounds like a good option in terms of mitigating impact”.

“There is some limited certainty to what it is because they haven’t actually chosen the type of wave pool yet,” Ms Coyle said.

Cr Stockwell wanted more information about possibly disturbing acid sulfate soils from the excavations of the ground on site.

Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie said staff maintain there will be clearing of more than a hectare of threatened species habitat and asked what species were involved.

Ms Coyle said the site is mapped as koala habitat by the state so koala food trees are likely to be a dominant species.

Species put forward in the meeting included swamp crayfish in the North Shore wetlands, glossy black cockatoos, koalas and the wallum froglet.