By JONATHON HOWARD
NOOSA Coast Guard Commander John Milland is hoping there’s still a chance to pitch the memorial wall idea at Noosa spit to Noosa Council during its ordinary meeting tonight.
In what has been touted as an unexpected division, Noosa councillors were split on the matter with the motion leaning towards denying the memorial wall, with an amendment allowing for another proposed site.
Councillors opposed to the move included Cr Tony Wellington, Cr Frank Wilkie and Cr Noel Playford.
Councillors Bob Abbot, Cr Frank Pardon and Cr Sandy Bolton were for the motion and Cr Joe Jurisevic abstained from the vote.
Those opposed expressed concerns with the proposed location and feared the spit becoming a future cemetery site.
Other concerns ranged from Noosa being too unique a destination to house a memorial wall at the spit and suggestions the wall should be “Noosa-fied”.
However, Cr Bob Abbot shot back at suggestions Noosa was somehow more or less significant than other coastal towns.
“I think it’s over the top to suggest Noosa is somehow better than other places and the Caloundra memorial wall offers just as spectacular a setting as anywhere on the coast,” he said.
Cr Abbot said the idea would add value to Noosa’s community.
On the flipside, Mayor Noel Playford said he would prefer to be remembered by the stories and in the minds of loved ones rather than with a plaque – similar to customs undertaken by local Indigenous people.
Cr Playford highlighted recent issues with people gluing plaques and painting images on rocks at Double Island Point in memory of lost loved ones.
“I think there should be more reflection and storytelling rather than plaques and memorial walls – I don’t think this is the right way,” he said.
Were it approved, the wall would be available to anyone in the public for a nominal fee, with the funds being used to purchase a new sea rescue vessel.
According to Noosa Coast Guard section and media officer Ian Hall, the coast guard needs to replace one of its current rescue vessels within the next eight years.
“It might seem like a long way off, but when you’re potentially talking about $1 million roughly for a new rescue vessel, we really need to start fund-raising now,” he said.
The proposed spot overlooks an incredible seascape and was a similar design to a memorial wall in Caloundra, where plaques are mounted.
Mr Milland said the initial vote came as a shock, but he did not want to speculate on the matter until the ordinary meeting was adjourned.