NOT HAPPY: Andrea Fox explains to five Noosa councillors why residents are not happy with the proposed park upgrades.
NOT HAPPY: Andrea Fox explains to five Noosa councillors why residents are not happy with the proposed park upgrades. Peter gardiner

A pathway to public outcry over foreshore upgrades

CONCERNED residents along a former mangrove and wetland stretch of Noosaville foreshore have been told a development covenant does not protect a strip of parkland from council upgrades.

More than 40 residents met with five Noosa councillors - Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie, Joe Jurisevic, Ingrid Jackson, Frank Pardon and Brian Stockwell - on Thursday under "the statement tree” in the park on Thursday demanding their Hilton Tce strip of mostly green grass remain untouched.

Residents insisted this land was bequeathed to the council "on the basis that no development will ever be undertaken” and the upgrades breached that agreement.

One woman insisted she was told by council staff that nothing would happen there in her lifetime but now they are battling to scrap the Noosaville Foreshore land use master plan draft proposals there.

Another woman said she was told by the title office and public records the bequeathing clause "hypothetically cannot be overturned”.

"Council should have been aware of the status of this park before briefing planners,” she said.

However Cr Stockwell, who has worked as a state land principal planner, said the Land Act does not give that level of protection.

"If a reserve is reserved for the purpose of recreation, then recreational improvements are then what is intended,” he said.

"To get people's hopes up that there is some legal mechanism which says there should be no parkland development on this land I think is something you'd have to research a fair bit more to prove to me that there is some peculiarity about it.”

Residents also fear that if the new walkway goes ahead, the 3.4m concrete pathway drawn on the draft master plan, nearly 7m of mangroves would have to be removed while any new lighting and facilities will draw a night-time seedy element to the area.

One man said the area must remain passive recreation and a fenced dog exercise area should be located further down river where there is active recreation.

Cr Wilkie said if the council does decide to put in pathways, residents would be consulted.

"This is about land usage - the whole stretch - what remains recreation, what remains commercial,” he said.

"I can tell you there's no funding or anything in any budget or no designs for any pathways or anything like that.”

One resident said he has lived near the park for 10 years and six times a year "the entire park goes under water”.

"Once every two years the water goes halfway up our retainer wall.”

He said spending ratepayers' money in a flood plain on these works would be a waste.

Residents insist the works would dam flood waters. Local resident and meeting chair Andrea Fox said the gathering showed "we're very concerned citizens”.

"Our main concern is environmental - this started off as full of mangroves ... we've now cleared this much mangroves, we don't want to clear more,” Ms Fox said.

"And doing a concrete path all the way around, which is what is coming through, is of great concern to us. We believe it will act as a retainer for all water and it will require a lot of maintenance. In other words it will be very, very costly to the shire.”

Residents claim clearing the mangroves would impact on the bird life in an area where 22 species were identified in a recent count.

Cr Jurisevic said he had come from the dog off-leash area on Noosa Spit that day where he had seen plenty of bird life.”

However Ms Fox said when she visited a Lake Weyba dog exercise area there was a massive dog fight.

Cr Pardon said no councillor would vote to remove any mangroves.

"It's just not on. We protect the shire and it's illegal anyway, you get fined if you cut down mangroves,” he said.

"So just lay that to bed, that won't be happening.”

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