Noosa’s natural charms is a magnet for visitors.
Noosa’s natural charms is a magnet for visitors.

Working to keep Noosa special needs us to stay on the ball

AS MANY Noosa businesses enjoy another bumper tourist season, it’s worth remembering what makes Noosa so attractive.

Back in September, the Noosa News reported on an academic study that found Noosa Heads National Park to be “the best park in the world”. International visitors said “they knew about the national park before they even came to Australia.”

Interstate visitors typically said that it was the only national park they wanted to come back to.

The UQ academic leading the study referred to repeated responses that defined Noosa as a “one-of-a-kind experience”.

But Noosa’s allure didn’t just happen as if by magic.

Back in the 1960s, the council of the day planned to build a road right around the headland with a view to developing the foreshore. It was the early Noosa Parks Association, led by Dr Arthur Harrold, that stymied the council’s plans and convinced the state government to protect the entire headland as national park.

This was the beginning of the activism that has since defined Noosa and contributed to its attractiveness to visitors and locals. Homegrown passion has ensured Noosa didn’t end up like so many other coastal locales.

The Noel Playford-led councils of 1988 to 1997 introduced pioneering development controls. They shunned big city symbols like high-rise buildings, traffic lights and advertising hoardings. They also idealised a maximum carrying capacity for the shire, which became known as a population cap.

These councils also fought off numerous large-scale developments that would have irreversibly changed the very nature of Noosa. And they placed a radical emphasis on protecting the natural environment and thus Noosa’s scenic amenity.

Come 2008, and Noosa’s uniqueness was again under threat, but this time by forced amalgamation with neighbouring councils. Those who refused to capitulate were again local activists. For years, people like Bob Ansett kept the de-amalgamation fervour alive.

Of course, many people have been involved in the various stages of Noosa’s modern history, and everyone who lent a hand should feel rightly proud of what has been achieved. Their legacy is not just the lifestyle we all enjoy, but also the thriving economy that is reliant on Noosa’s attributes.