Mayor wants ways to handle the coming hungry crowds
NOOSA is planning to come to grips with a future horde of more than 100,000 people massing across its border, hungry for its charms.
Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington has told a large Noosa Parks Association gathering that people pressure, loving Noosa to death, was one of his council's greatest challenges.
And he admitted his council was still trying to get a handle on the scale of the management problems ahead, especially from day trippers who threatened to clog up roads and block beach access.
"The big problem we face is the drive-in tourists from the masses of people living on our border,” Cr Wellington said.
"And that's something we're really trying to get our heads around ... how we're going to manage (that).”
Cr Wellington said all Tourism Noosa's focus was on high yield visitors from interstate and overseas.
"They're the people we want because they tend to fly in and flop,” he said.
"And when they come here, fly in and flop they also spend a whole lot more money than someone who drives in and buys and ice cream and drives out again.
"The yield is much greater and the impact is much less.
"My vision for 10 years from now is to have a Noosa where people can move around freely and in which the lifestyle, the living amenity of residents is maintained and not compromised.
"Our tourism sector is meeting the needs of the local economy, but where our local economy is also diversified into a whole lot of other areas so that if the tourism economy takes a dive and a slump there is still plenty of employment for locals.”
Cr Wellington said even under Noosa's planning development cap, "we're going to continue to grow”.
"Under the South East Queensland Regional Plan we've got expectations of around 9000 people over the next couple of decades.
"The rest of the Sunshine Coast is looking at over 100,000 people.
"That's more people who are going to want to come to Noosa for a day - drive in and drive out,” he said.
The mayor said the pressure was not going to ease up.
"Noosa, being a jewel, is going to attract people so we've got to find a way to deal with that future problem as well as deal with the problem we've already got.
"We recognise that Noosa does have to manage its success and that means it has to manage the events that are pitched at both residents and tourists.
"There are some events which are iconic and identify with Noosa and most residents are willing to bear with minor consequences of those events, but I accept that not everyone will.”
He said the council was working hand-in-hand with Tourism Noosa to manage this.
"Whether the benefits outweigh the impacts is the big issue,” he said.
"The reason we're going to a Noosa Main Beach events policy is because a number of events that are already iconic and in Noosa are saying we want to be on Noosa Main Beach too.
"A successful event will try to leverage itself up.
"Our task is to try and contain the events that occur, whether they are community events or commercial events, to ensure that we're not impeding upon the lifestyle of the residents too much.
"And that will be a balancing act.”