Powering past a sunset clause along park trails

QUAD bike tours through a national park at Cooran look set to continue well into the future as Noosa Council planning staff recommend a sunset clause for approved use of the tour base be scrapped.

The original approval for the Noosa Quad Bike Tours run by Charles Marais, set up on Tablelands Rd, which then carries out tours through Woondum National park, was to lapse unless further extended by council.

In June 2015 council agreed to extend the approval date for the use until March 31 this year.

"The tours commenced in early 2013. Up to two by three hour tours a day are allowed Monday to Saturday. A maximum of 10 tourists take part led by two guides," a council report said.

"Once at the site they undertake a 20-30 minute briefing and induction.

"Tours then proceed from the site on the quad bikes, approximately 500m along Tablelands Road to the Woondum National Park entrance, on the quad bikes."

The report said the bikes' speed is restricted to 30kph and must travel single file behind the tour operator for the journey through the park.

"It is important to note council's development approval only relates to the use of the subject site and not the majority of the tour, which is off site.

"A commercial activity permit was issued by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection allowing the tours within the national park.

"Queensland Police also issued a permit for the quad bikes to use Tablelands Rd and the access tracks in the park."

The report said since operations began the tours have operated in accordance with council's conditions and "has not caused any significant impacts on the amenity of the area or led to any complaints".

Mr Marais said he hoped to get the council nod.

"We've been doing right thing, national parks are very happy with us,” he said.

"We've probably removed about five tonnes of rubbish out of there if not more. We've also managed to stop people dumping in there.

"Now that they know we come through quite often and that we have cameras, people (illegal dumpers) are scare and they don't come through.”

Mr Marais said his tours have also scared off the dirt bike riders on unregistered machines. He said his company has worked with the Department of Workplace Health and Safety on new quad bike rules and with training.

"We haven't had a major accident or incident in the entire time that we've operated,” he said.

He said these tours rank in the top three or four of TripAdviser's "things to do in Noosa”.


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