Residents wary of open slather for Noosa’s major events
A push by industry groups for a return to normal major event numbers is an "existential threat" to shire residents, according to a Cooroy community leader.
Cooroy Area Residents Association president Rod Ritchie said his members supported a Noosa Council staff recommendation to hold the line on the council's cautious approach to limit major events to less than 500 people.
Councillors are due to vote at a special meeting on Tuesday on whether or not to allow an increase to event limits for events like the Noosa Triathlon.
Mr Ritchie said allowing a high intake of Noosa outsiders when there was very low rates of testing would mean a relatively poor chance of detecting a coronavirus outbreak.
He said even though the council's limits were not in line state event guidelines, it would be wise for the council to remain cautious about reducing limits too quickly.
Council staff want the 500 cap kept until next February.
"It's unlikely we'll be in a restriction free environment at any time in 2021," Mr Ritchie said.
"The effectiveness of the vaccine and the extent of the population uptake are still unknowns," he said.
However, the Noosa Hastings Street Association does not believe the capacity "needs to be ring fenced to 500 people".
Hastings Street Projects's Alesha Gooderham has made a submission to the council on behalf of the association recommending each event application be reviewed by a pandemic consultant specialist such as Noosa-based Respond Global.
"We would hope this would allow the community to recognise the level of responsibility that we place on the event delivery to protect their wellbeing and the reputation of Noosa," Ms Gooderham said.
The group also would like to see an independent economic pre-event assessment to demonstrate the "value to the local economy and the viability of the event".
"We can see the merits in aligning to the state event guidelines which provide clear understanding for industry statewide," she said
"However it does not appear to take responsibility for an underperforming operator and any ramifications of such would only be dealt with post the event, and therefore irreparable damage to the industry and Noosa community would be costly.
"We believe this assessment is in the best interest of the event organiser given the level of investment required to deliver a major event and secondly, it respects the investment by council officers in assessing event applications."
Meanwhile, Noosa Shire Residents and Ratepayers Association does not support any relaxation in the approvals process for any events involving large groups of people.
"Given the recent history in southern states and the current situation in New South Wales, it is easy to see how fast things can change," association president Adrian Williams said.
"The speed with which Queensland and therefore Noosa could be impacted shows a high risk to all communities, including ours.
"There is a high risk of insufficient control in a large event."
Noosaville Business Association's Tim Rook said he would be "happy to align with Queensland Health rather than a more conservative line due to demographic".
"I think this would assist event planners too," Mr Rook said.
"While we are aware of what is currently happening with COVID-19 and therefore restrictions that are in place to manage the current situation, being able to plan for a future event does require some form of certainty to engage sponsors."