Channelling Gandhi in Noosa.
Channelling Gandhi in Noosa.

Noosa turns to Gandhi to house the needy

A councillor has channelled the wisdom of Gandhi in successfully advocating for a two-year monitoring and review of how successful the newly adopted Noosa Plan is in providing affordable community housing.

Cr Karen Finzel has received unanimous councillor support for her push to provide roofs over the heads of “those in our community on low incomes, with special needs or in identified groups in need of community and affordable housing”.

Also read: Driving a wedge through council ranks

Cr Karen Finzel.
Cr Karen Finzel.

Councillor raises a new Noosa Plan rethink

“Gandhi states the true measure of any society can be measured in how it treats its most vulnerable members,” Cr Finzel said.

“I would like to see that this shire is innovative, progressive and contemporary in meeting the needs of those of us who are less fortunate.

“This is vital and important as we head towards a future where no one is left behind.”

Cr Finzel said those the plan was intended to help included “our key workers, young people, people on low incomes or special needs”.

“Council will continue to pursue these outcomes for its community and the plan will continue to play and important part in achieving more affordable and diverse housing for our community,” she said.

Mayor Clare Stewart said she supported the council’s role to “advocate for affordable and community housing”.

“They took on new meaning for me yesterday when I attended United Synergies (community support centre in Tewantin) and I walked around that incredible resource that we have available in our community,” Cr Stewart said.

“I spoke to them about the people who are homeless who came and had showers, about the children in our community who are sleeping in their cars and are coming there.

“And that is not acceptable, not acceptable.

The mayor said the council was “doing so much, but there is so much more that we can do”. “Affordable housing is mandatory and we must fight the good fight and get it through.

“We must help those who can’t help themselves and I wholly support this.

Cr Amelia Lorentson said the council had an obligation to ensure local residents were able to access a range of diverse housing options based on their needs.

She said the objective needed to be locally driven, and not left to the State Government.

“We need to undertake our own housing market analysis and use this data to create strategies for action and to facilitate more affordable housing for our community,” Cr Lorentson said.

The Coles-owned site at Noosa Junction which saw a defunct bowls clubhouse demolished recently.
The Coles-owned site at Noosa Junction which saw a defunct bowls clubhouse demolished recently.

Cr Brian Stockwell said the scheme had a raft of initiatives to provide private investment in affordable housing.

“It gives inducements for small housing to fit the needs of our ever-shrinking household size,” he said.

He and other councillors were disappointed that the plan’s ministerial review forced them to strike out the mandatory provision of affordable housing at key development sites at the Coles vacant land in Noosa Junction and at the Noosa Civic’s business in return for high density development designation.

Cr Stockwell said the sites were “very close to the employment hubs” of Noosa Junction and Hastings St, and the Civic retail centre.

Cr Joe Jurisevic said there was a distinct need for affordable housing in the region.

“Of course through the COVID environment, one of the things that seems to be hitting the news headlines this week in particular is the need for social needs housing.”

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