Ramping up boat access

Cr Tom Wegener, Mark Wacker, Cr Karen Finzel, Andrew McCarthy, Bruce Davidson, Mayor Clare Stewart, Cr Amelia Lorentson and Chicko Vella at the Doonella boat ramp. Picture: ROB MACCOLL

Margie Maccoll

Former Queensland Tourism Minister and Noosa MP Bruce Davidson has joined forces with Noosa Boating and Fishing Alliance to call on Noosa Council to urgently upgrade the Doonella Bridge boat ramp to help cut the shortfall of boat ramps needed to meet demand.

On Monday Mr Davidson, alliance members Andrew McCarthy and Craig Chicko Vella, and fishing and boating enthusiast Mark Wacker met with the Noosa Mayor and councillors at the Doonella Bridge boat ramp they propose be upgraded to accommodate 25 boat and trailer parking spaces.

Mr McCarthy told councillors Noosa boat ramps were stretched beyond capacity and had been for a long time, describing the facilities as “sub-standard”.

He said figures from an MSQ 2017 Queensland boating facilities demand forecasting study showed there were 4029 registered boats in Noosa, 93 per cent were trailer boats indicating a 50 per cent shortfall in boat ramp facilities, and recommended a new two-lane boat ramp with 45 car and trailer parks be constructed, as a priority, at Chaplin Park.

Data from a 2022 boat ramp study showed an increase in Noosa boat ownership to 4671, exceeding a 2036 forecast, and representing a 73 per cent shortfall in boat ramp facilities, he said.

Mr McCarthy said safety and equity of access were also issues with only one floating walkway providing easier access for people with mobility issues, available at Noosaville ramp.

“We have a desperate need for additional boat launching and car and trailer parking,” Mr Davidson said.

“The Noosaville ramp at peak times with delayed launching issues, is at capacity with a shortfall of more than 30 car and trailer parking spaces. This is becoming an issue for business owners and residents in the Noosaville area with cars and trailers taking up car parks in nearby streets.

“Tewantin boat ramp is at capacity most weekends and there is a major shortfall in peak periods. Moorindal Street ramp adjacent to the car ferry requires at least five dedicated car and trailer parking spaces for those boaties motoring north.

“Upgrading Doonella Bridge represents the most suitable solution. It is an existing ramp that has been operating for many years.”

Mr McCarthy said the pressure on boaties was leading to “boat ramp rage”.

“When you have a situation with not enough facilities, people get hot under the collar,” he said.

An upgrade of facilities at Doonella Bridge as proposed into a modern two-lane ramp with rigging bays, wash lane and fish cleaning area, was not the magic bullet to solving the under-supply but it would alleviate the situation, he said.

In addition, a charge to jetski access rules that would permit them to launch from Tewantin and Doonella ramps instead of only being able, at present, to launch at the Noosaville ramp, would also alleviate the pressure, he said.

Cr Amelia Lorentson thanked the fishing representatives for taking the lead on the issue.

Mayor Clare Stewart said she could prepare a Mayoral Minute on the issue to present to January council meetings, giving every councillor the opportunity to discuss the issue and determine their support.

Mr Davidson said the group would also be seeking support from Noosa MP Sandy Bolton and Maritime Safety Queensland and hoped funding could be accessed from a Maritime investment fund created from Queensland boating registrations.

An online petition has been set up at change.org/NoosaBoatRamps to garner public support.