Call to keep car parks

Traffic queues in Hastings Street.

Tewantin Noosa Lions Club has organised a petition to lobby Noosa Council to continue paid car parking in Lions Park, Hastings Street, during all school holidays and long weekends.

Noosa Chamber of Commerce is supporting this use.

Lions said their volunteers have been operating the car park at Easter and Christmas holidays for the past 20 years in exchange for half the revenue which is provided to local charities including beach mats for the disabled, bladder scanners for Noosa Care, Salvos homeless appeal, Classy Ladies Christmas Appeal, SES, Katie Rose Hospicee and Lions Childhood Cancer fund.

In 2022 $60,000 was raised through car parking for Lions and in 2023 it is expected to be $80,000.

Last month Noosa councillors voted to seek State Government approval to provide paid parking in Noosa Heads Lions Park only during the 2023 Easter and Christmas holidays, then to put its future use to the community for feedback.

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.

“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,” Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie said.

But Lions say more than 15,500 cars used the car park for the 12 months to last Christmas demonstrating its need was “vital“ and without it support for charities would be greatly reduced.

Noosa Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Ralph Rogers said the chamber strongly supported the continuation of the temporary paid car parking at Noosa Heads Lions Park during holiday periods, with parking managed by the Tewantin Noosa Lions Club.

He said council’s decision flew in the face of staff recommendations that paid parking be approved for a further 12 months during Queensland school holidays, public holidays and long weekends through to May 2024.

“This is negative demand flow management and provides no support to the local economy and a very important Noosa charity, and offers no new solution to the parking and traffic issues in the Hastings Street precinct.

“The outcome will inevitably see increased traffic congestion with cars driving round and round in the Hastings Street precinct looking for parking, and Little Cove and Noosa Sound residential streets further clogged with overflow parking,“ he said.

“The Tewantin Noosa Lions Club makes a significant contribution to the Noosa community by raising funds during holidays at Lions Park, a contribution which supplements Council community development work, thereby reducing costs of such services to ratepayers.

“Businesses in the Hastings Street precinct depend on holiday peak period revenue to subsidise low season periods and Lions Park paid parking helps facilitate this.

“The impact of parking in nearby residential streets is an issue for residents which the Lions Club managed parking partially mitigates.“

Mr Rogers said councillors had an obligation to deliver outcomes that are in the whole of the community’s best interests and that contribute to the community’s social and economic aspirations whilst reflecting Noosa’s environmental values.