Losing paradise: Noosa’s top five lifestyle threats
Sunshine Beach businessman and lifesaving stalwart Warick Redwood fears for the resort town's future if Noosa does not protect what makes it a special destination.
Mr Redwood, who operates a successful landscaping business and runs the Flashpackers Noosa hostel, believes Noosa has to provide more affordable accommodation or face the prospect of having to bus in hospitality workers from cheaper regions.
He said accommodation providers also had to be held accountable for preserving the neighbouring amenity and his night manager was on call to deal with any complaints.
However, he said his own home was surrounded by three short stay rentals and he had to ask rental guests to stop swimming at midnight so he could get up and work in the morning.
"I've got no problem with people renting their houses to Airbnb, because we need people and more variety," he said.
Mr Redwood said the affordable housing situation in Noosa was "outrageous".
"We have between 35 and 40 international guests who have been staying with us for over three months," he said.
"They've all got hospitality jobs. They're all trying to find share houses to move into … there is just none, or if there is it's at a price that is ridiculous," he said.
Mr Redwood said Noosa locals had witnessed during the pandemic the town lose the dynamic vibe generated by many young overseas backpackers.
He warned there were plenty of "equally beautiful" destinations around the world where people would be looking to lure the lucrative young travellers.
He said a world class boardwalk, similar to the national park, from Noosaville's Weyba Creek section connecting to Hastings St would be a good addition.
"We don't have to necessarily reinvent, Noosa has the national park, the low rise, all the things we've moved here for or grew up and say this is ideal," Mr Redwood said.
He said Noosa was already adapting to the challenges of climate change and building in erosion prone zones.
"But people with obscene amounts of money, if they push hard enough and long enough they get what they want," he said.
One of the shapers of Noosa's future, former mayor Bob Abbot, wants the council to "hold the line" against inappropriate developments and to look after residents.
Mr Abbot said the pressures of visitor numbers impacting on the lifestyle of locals loomed large for Noosa's future wellbeing.
He said a suggestion for free parking stickers while charging visitors to park at popular locations like Main Beach was something he did not consider necessary in his day.
"I don't think it's that far away when that sort of issue is going to have to be considered," he said.
Mr Abbot said Noosa Council had to "absolutely" protect the Noosa Plan.
"The whole planning scheme is based on the premise that the community is willing to defend the line, without that it's just a fizzle, you might as well not have it," he said.
Mr Abbot said one of the future challenges was delivering on decades of promising to promote the "knowledge economy".
"The Peregian Digital hub is important for that, but I harp back to the things that (former councillor) Llew Brennan did, he was the councillor that got the universities in here," he said.
"That's the sort of stuff that needs to be done and that's the sort of effervescence that needs to be applied, you just can't sit back and look."
Five Challenges Facing Noosa's future prosperity:
1. Who will be able to afford to live, work and play in Noosa? Where are the workers coming from? - making housing affordable in the shire - Airbnb versus permanent rentals.
2. Local vibe versus the almighty tourist dollar. Council has capped major events in the Hastings St hot zone, should it introduce paid parking with free stay stickers for local vehicles?
3. Keep the look and feel of Noosa. Noosa in seen by some outsiders as haughty with its disdain for big city symbols, high rise, billboards, parking meters … and promoting itself via its Noosa Biosphere and World Surfing Reserve.
4. Climate change and holding the development line as Noosa works on its climate change adaptation plan after declaring a climate emergency. Council is facing increasing legal challenges from homeowners wanting to build in erosion prone zones.
5. What future will it invest in: For 20 years Noosa has advocated attracting a knowledge economy. The business centre was created with that in mind and the council is developing the Peregian Digital Hub.