Al fresco diners at Bistro C on Noosa Main Beach beside the artificial turf that may soon make way for a new look.
Al fresco diners at Bistro C on Noosa Main Beach beside the artificial turf that may soon make way for a new look.

Council has appetite to approve Coast eatery upgrade

One of Noosa’s signature Hasting St beachfront eateries Bistro C will have to put in a flood gate against encroaching seas and the fake grass will have to go, as its plans for a modern makeover look set for a council wave of approval.

Makeover planned for favourite Noosa eatery

Council’s general committee meeting on Monday rejected councillor Tom Wegener’s push to refuse Bistro’s C development application which seeks retrospective approvals, while replacing the existing enclosed outdoor dining area.

The eatery is planning a more a visually-appealing, permanent structure with opening bi-fold doors.

The two areas of dining that require approvals cover the existing front outside terrace and a 3m back section of Bistro C, which was an outdoor area enclosed without council permission.

Mayor Clare Stewart, deputy mayor Frank Wilkie, Cr Amelia Lorentson, Cr Joe Jurisevic and Cr Karen Finzel all look set to approve the minor development change at council’s ordinary meeting final vote on Thursday.

Cr Brian Stockwell is seeking more information before he makes up his mind on which way to vote, admitting to being “very 50-50” about this development.

Cr Wegener claimed the proposed alterations presented excessive bulk not in keeping with the rest of the surroundings.

He said they were not a minor change and not the amenity that Noosa stands for.

“That is a big area, it is not a small structure, it is a very permanent-looking structure,” he said.

Bistro C at Noosa Main Beach is looking for a brand new dining outlook.
Bistro C at Noosa Main Beach is looking for a brand new dining outlook.

“The proposed changes will dramatically change the approved built form in terms of scale, bulk and appearance,” Cr Wegener said.

The keen surfer also said he had in the past seen waves crashing over the rock wall at this site and council was being asked to approve an “incredibly dangerous” situation.

“It goes completely against our coastal hazards adaptation plan to approve this,” Cr Wegener said.

He said Bistro C’s outside walls would funnel the surging wave action into the property and would not stop until they reached the restaurant cash registers.

Council planners are proposing a condition for approval would be a floodgate barrier for the entire building complex, not just Bistro C, which could be put in place during dangerous sea conditions.

The beachfront artificial turf area would also be ripped up and replaced as well with landscaping.

“I think this will be hard to sell to the community,” Cr Wegener said.

“Once you approve something you can’t take it back, so we need to consider this much, much further.

“I think it’s our time to say enough is enough.”

Cr Wegener has also asked for a legal opinion over council liability if it approves a development with a floodgate.

Council’s development assessment manager Kerri Coyle said Bistro C’s plans would not be out of character with its built environment.

“It’s about whether this development looks out of place in terms of other developments along Hastings St,” Ms Coyle said.

The Bistro C proposed plans for the frontage makeover.
The Bistro C proposed plans for the frontage makeover.

“Many developments were built under old planning schemes and so would also not comply with the (building) site cover requirement today.

“This development is in keeping with a lot of development that exists and built some time ago.”

Ms Coyle said there are also other up-market neighbouring eateries whose dining areas over the years have encroached well past a designated 10m setback with some right on or almost out to their property lines.

The senior planner also defended the recommendation for council to accept a $24,000 financial payment in lieu of providing more carparking, saying extra parking is the last thing Hastings St needs.

“I think we’re better off looking at public transport and footpaths in that area,” Ms Coyle said.

Deputy mayor Frank Wilkie supported the proposed upgrade for its improved amenity and said an approval would be a pragmatic decision by council.

Mayor Stewart said these proposed building changes were minor and improved the dining area without impacting visually and acoustically on nearby premises.

“It does not present an appearance of excessive bulk to adjacent properties, roads or other areas in the vicinity of the site,” Cr Stewart said.

Cr Amelia Lorentson, who declared a perceived conflict of interest having dropped off election material at Bistro C during her campaign, was allowed to take part in the decision process as councillors decided she had no close relationship with Bistro C owner Lorri Banks.

Cr Lorentson agreed with staff’s assessment that this was a consistent development and praised Noosa Council for applying flexibility in this matter.

“I applaud and thank Bistro C and Lorri Banks for employing our locals, for keeping small businesses alive and showing us that hard work pays off,” Cr Lorentson said.

Cr Jurisevic said he agreed with staff recommendation was an improvement for this iconic restaurant that has existed for a long period of time with a beautiful outdoor dining experience.

“I think this is an enhancement that will improve that for years to come,” he said.


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