By Jolene Ogle
NOOSA could soon be the “scooter capital of Queensland” with council expected to this week approve a new transport policy.
The policy has been designed to encourage alternative transport usage throughout the shire and reduce residents’ dependency on private cars.
The policy was first presented to the Services and Organisation Committee on Tuesday 8 November.
It said that if the Noosa way of life is to be protected into the future then the “ultimate aim would be for a culture to be developed where the Noosa community can be … freed from car dependency”.
If approved at Thursday’s (17 November) ordinary meeting, the new transport policy will be used to guide all council transport and transport-related planning, infrastructure and decision-making.
Speaking in the general committee meeting on Monday (14 November), Councillor Brian Stockwell said scooters should be considered in future transport planning along with other eco methods of travel.
“There’s a congestion element to it,” he said.
“We know a lot of the workers who work down Hastings Street and other congested areas during peak times have converted to scooters because it’s a way to get to work without having to queue.”
Cr Stockwell said he believed a transport system more focused on environmentally-friendly options could become part of Noosa’s identity.
“My view is Noosa could be the scooter capital of Queensland,” he said.
“It could become part of the cultural identification when people come here. It could become natural; if you want to give the car a holiday and get around on a motorised vehicle, you hop on a scooter.”
Mayor Tony Wellington said the document acted as a guideline for future planning decisions and was not a detailed strategy.
“We began a process of consultation with the community on our transport strategy and determined that we needed to do this high-level work first before we could delve into the deep details of an actual strategy,” he said.
“So what we have now is a policy that provides the overarching principles we’re aiming for with regard to transport in the shire and the strategy components will come later.
“We’ve already started working those so we can develop some specific items that we can then run through a community consultation process. We have had one consultation process via Your Say Noosa, but that is just the beginning.”
The policy states key outcomes such as aiming for a future where residents can go about everyday business without needing a private car, easy and safe access to schools by walking, cycling and public transport, cost effective alternative transport options instead of cars, and the incorporation of new technologies in transport solutions.