Noosa Council will open Noosa Heads Lions Park to paid parking for the first time in the September school holidays and ask the State Government for permission to open it for all school holidays and long weekends for the length of Covid-19 Health Declaration.
This move that is in addition to opening the park for Christmas and Easter school holidays is aimed at providing extra parking spaces for the drive market expected to arrive in the shire.
“Given the border closures, our local businesses are relying on Queensland visitors. With many of them hopping in their cars to drive here we need to do all we can to accommodate them so they can get out and about and support local businesses,” Mayor Clare Stewart said.
“Providing extra parking so that more people can come here and get out and about in Noosa during the holidays can only help our economy.
“The extra parking will also assist locals who are holidaying at home and want to venture into Noosa Heads during the school break.“
At Council’s Ordinary Meeting last Thursday Cr Frank Wilkie who did not support the move said it was a good short term measure to support businesses but in the long term shutting the green space risked reducing the visitor experience to Noosa and diminishing the emphasis on transport initiatives aimed at reducing traffic to Hastings Street.
Cr Brian Stockwell pointed out that public transport had been significantly affected by fears of people over the pandemic which could extend to Noosa’s free holiday buses, and result in an increase in drive tourism.
“If it was business as usual we’d continue with our strategy to promote alternative forms of moving people into the Hastings Street precinct – such as the free buses – during peak times, as well as phase out the use of the Lions Park for parking at Christmas,” Cr Stewart said.
Council will close the Lions Park to vehicles as required during wet weather, in order to minimise damage to the grass.
Tewantin-Noosa Lions Club will manage the paid parking from 19 September to 5 October paid parking with 50 per cent of the proceeds going to the Lions Club and the other 50 per cent to be used by Council to maintain and improve the park and fund temporary fencing and signage.
Lions member Ian Grew said the income to the club would go back to the community in some form of assistance.Mr Grew said club members were happy to volunteer to run the car park and enjoyed talking to visitors as they came in. The financial gain for the club was significant with the club sometimes placing 400 cars a day.