‘Better, more wonderful’: What’s next for beachfront parkland

Sunshine Coast Council

The design concepts for the next wave of improvements to the region’s largest beachfront parkland destination have been revealed.

Community engagement will begin today, Wednesday, September 28, to help guide the next stage of the Mooloolaba Foreshore Revitalisation – the Central Meeting Place.

The community can now share their thoughts on the designs, referred to as Concept Blue and Concept Yellow, via council’s survey page.

The Stage Two Central Meeting Place involves addressing the existing Loo with a View, its aged state and accessibility issues – while still maintaining public amenities in the same location.

Both the Blue and Yellow design concepts highlight Mooloolaba’s famed ocean views and feature accessible public amenities, including a Changing Places facility.

The designs offer similar functionality and amenity with viewing decks, meeting places, picnic areas, public toilets, beach showers, landscaping, integrated seawall and a coastal pathway all part of both concepts.

The key difference between the two concepts is one separates these elements to prioritise public space and enable more expansive beach views, while the other has the public amenities, viewing platform and event space located in one larger building as occurs with the current facility.

Community input will help council determine the final design of the Central Meeting Place, including its new public amenities, which may be reimagined in a new-style building or rebuilt in a similar style.

Bark Architects Co-director Lindy Atkin, who has been engaged by council for the Mooloolaba Foreshore Revitalisation project, said the issues with the existing public amenities building presented an opportunity to “create something better, even more wonderful, and to celebrate where Mooloolaba is today”.

Ms Atkin said there were extensive design constraints in trying to refurbish the existing structure.

“There are significant accessibility issues with the aged Loo with a View and it’s not as simple as just adding extra wheelchair ramps,” Ms Atkin said.

“The two design concepts have been considered from the point of Universal Accessibility and both outcomes include Changing Places amenities, family change rooms, and improved connectivity between the beach and the Esplanade.

“We would normally love to keep existing buildings – we do that in our work all the time.

“But there does come a time when many of the building elements reach the end of their usable life.

“In this instance, to retain the look of the existing structure and bring it up to modern standards, we will need to demolish the whole building and then completely rebuild it.

“We have had conversations with the original Architects, Clare Design, about this project, and even they have said that if you needed to rebuild the building, you wouldn’t build it the same.”

Architect of the original 1987 Loo with a View, Lindsay Clare, said he was supportive of the design that Lindy Atkin and Stephen Guthrie had created with landscape architects, Place Design Group.

“Mooloolaba’s natural beauty should be first and foremost,” Mr Clare said.

“Any intervention needs to defer to the beach, the views to the headland and spit, and the natural and endemic vegetation.

“We have a strong connection to Mooloolaba, and we are pleased to stitch a small piece into the fabric of the foreshore.”

Sunshine Coast Council Division 4 Councillor Joe Natoli said it was an exciting opportunity for the community to help shape the future of the Mooloolaba foreshore.

“The Central Meeting Place will further elevate Mooloolaba’s reputation as a world class destination for residents and visitors,” Cr Natoli said.

“There are two great options to consider, and I am pleased that one of the options retains the look and feel of the Loo with a View which a large number of people in our community had asked for.

“The other is a completely new concept.

“I urge the community to get involved and have their say”.

Sunshine Coast Council’s Acting Group Executive for Liveability and Natural Assets Chris Sturgess said two independent engineering and access reports had deemed many components of the 35-year-old Loo with a View building* as “close to the end of life”.

“While currently safe and functional, the building’s roof, timber decking and steel structure are suffering the impacts of its highly corrosive beach environment,” Mr Sturgess said.

“The facility requires significant ongoing maintenance, and it is not compliant with current People with Disability Access or modern sustainable building design standards.

“Its surrounding decks and pathways provide limited access for those in our community with a disability, parents, carers, and those using mobility devices or prams.”

Mr Sturgess said problems had also been identified with the current structure’s security, ventilation and ability to withstand extreme weather events.”

BLUE AND YELLOW: Design concepts revealed

The design concepts for the Stage Two Central Meeting Place have many things in common, including accessible public amenities with a Changing Places facility and family rooms, beach showers, viewing decks, meeting places, picnic areas, landscaping, integrated seawall and a coastal pathway.

A summary of the key differences between the concepts is provided below:

Concept Blue

  • This reimagines Mooloolaba’s beachfront arrival experience and celebrates the beach and natural beauty as the hero of the foreshore.
  • A new, open-sided, shade canopy inspired by nature, creates a new meeting place and event space, which flows onto a large, grassed area.
  • This open-plan design allows for increased beachfront parkland with new viewing decks, grassed areas and terraced seating.
  • New fully accessible public amenities, with Changing Places facilities and family change rooms, are located on the same level as Mooloolaba Esplanade for direct and easy access from the coastal pathway.
  • The public amenities are housed in ‘pods’ in the same architectural style as Stage One Northern Parkland. Walkways and breezeways provide enhanced ventilation and views from the Esplanade to the ocean.

Concept Yellow

  • This reflects on Mooloolaba’s recent history and involves the construction of a new and extended building that is strongly influenced by the existing Loo with a View architectural design.
  • A meeting place, on top of the public amenities block, is consistent with the existing structure, while a connected lower viewing deck offers a meeting place and event space.
  • Views of the beach and Point Cartwright are appreciated from an open, boat inspired, timber deck.
  • New public amenities are located on the lower viewing deck, with entry via stairs or disability complaint ramps, set down from the Mooloolaba Esplanade level.

Discover detailed plans, artist impressions, explanatory videos and virtual experiences available online or in-person at community pop-up days on Thursday 29 September, Tuesday 4 October and Saturday 8 October.

For details on the Mooloolaba Foreshore Revitalisation or to subscribe to project updates, including the upcoming community engagement, visit sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/mfr.

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