Parking plan put on hold

Noosa's visionary plans for underground parking around tourist Mecca Hastings Street have stalled pending the cosmopolitan street's $7 million revamp, which is due for completion before the end of the year.

Noosa Council Works and Community Services chair Vivien Griffin this week said a decision on whether to proceed with the ground-breaking scheme depended on whether there was clear need for the 100 or so additional spaces it would provide ? given the success of the seasonal park and ride buses ? and whether the $17 million cost could be recouped through paid parking.

"Because the Hastings Street streetscaping is happening this year and will involve very significant disruption to business on the street, I understand the project has been deferred to allow that to be completed," Ms Griffin said.

The proposal followed consultation between council, the Hastings Street Association and the Environment Sector Board back in 2005 over how to relieve the street's traffic and parking chaos in the long term.

The groups agreed replacing existing parking with a large underground facility to be topped with green space was the best solution, with various options by consultant SKM costing up to $17 million.

The most expensive option would include 5000 square metres of green space extend from the Noosa Heads Lions Park across Noosa Parade, through the existing maze carpark on the corner of Hastings Street, and replace the existing Noosa Heads surf club car park.

New retail shops for the existing maze car park site were proposed to further help cover council costs.

Ms Griffin said the idea, which was only ever seen as a long-term solution, would be re-evaluated after Hastings Street's $7 million face lift was completed.

"Then we will see how the rest of the season goes because council didn't want to embark on a major capital works project without some reassurance that projected income from fees would be sufficient," Ms Griffin said.

"We would have to introduce parking fees ahead of the project, and the streetscape project needs to be completed before we re-evaluate whether that project still has merit or whether, through the holiday bus service, we have avoided the gridlock."

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