Council has honoured a commitment to return Noosa Heads Lions Park to the community on long weekends and school holidays once COVID restrictions had eased.
Council’s free weekend bus trial offers residents and visitors a quick and easy way to access the Hastings Street precinct on weekends without taking the car.
The decision at last night’s Ordinary Meeting could also see this greenspace eventually no longer used for paid holiday carparking.
Noosa Council will seek State Government approval to again provide paid parking in Noosa Heads Lions Park during the upcoming Easter and Christmas holidays.
However, Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie said the park’s continued use for parking beyond 2023 will be put to the community for feedback.
“This decision honours the commitment we made regarding the temporary use of this much-loved greenspace for carparking.
“And taking into account increased free bus services and other planned transport measures, we’d like the community to have a say in the future of this much-loved parkland,” he said.
Use of the Noosa Heads Lions Park for carparking is contrary to the Department of Resources park designation, the Noosa planning scheme, the Noosa Transport Strategy and the Noosa Design Principles.
In 2020 Council approved the Lions Park’s use for paid parking on long weekends and school holidays during the Queensland COVID-19 public health declaration.
The aim was to encourage drive tourism, while travel restrictions and border closures were in place.
“It was not intended to be an ongoing arrangement and now the Queensland public health declaration has ended and travel restrictions have lifted, we no longer need to encourage the drive market.
“With 14,000 vehicles accessing the Hastings Street precinct during peak periods, the 150-200 spaces offered in Lions Park don’t significantly improve supply or demand but do provide an incentive for motorists to enter the precinct, which increases congestion,” Cr Wilkie said.
“Since the pandemic began, we’ve also launched the free weekend bus trial to move people around – including in and out of the Hastings Street precinct – to help reduce traffic congestion and parking demand.
“The ongoing use of this public green space for parking is something the community should rightly be given an opportunity to have a say on,” Cr Wilkie said.
Not-for-profit Tewantin-Noosa Lions Club will continue to manage paid parking in the park this Easter and Christmas and collect 50% of the income to support the organisation’s work.
“The Lions Park paid carparking has been a welcome source of income for the Lions Club and Council will support them to review pricing arrangements and find alternative fundraising opportunities to offset downturns in revenue,” the Deputy Mayor said.