Have your say on public open space
  • Thursday 26 November 2009

Do you want Sunshine Coast beaches, waterways and foreshores kept as public open space, or should council allow boat hire, surf schools and other businesses to operate there?

Dozens of businesses have told council they want to use Coast beaches, foreshores and parks to run everything from ice cream and coffee vans to surf schools and jet boat rides.

And now the Sunshine Coast Council wants to hear how residents feel about community land being used for such purposes.

Businesses were responding to council’s recent call for expressions of interest as part of a new permit system for use of community land.

A list of all the proposed activities nominated by businesses is now included in an online survey that residents can use to have their say. Proposed activities include:

  • Beach massage
  • Surf lessons
  • Stand up paddle board/kite surfing lessons
  • Food and drink mobile vendors
  • Ice cream and coffee vans at fixed locations
  • Bungy trampoline
  • Jet boat rides/jet ski hire
  • Parachute landings
  • Boat/catamaran hire

Council’s Community Policy and Programs portfolio holder Cr Jenny McKay said council was trying to strike a balance between allowing beachside businesses to operate while respecting the public’s wishes for community land to be managed for the common good.

"The Registration of Interest process that was conducted recently resulted in quite a number of enquiries from potential business operators,” Cr McKay said.

“While we were seeking interest from across the entire region, the most popular businesses were those that operate on our beautiful beaches and foreshore reserves – beach equipment hire, boat and catamaran hire, surf schools and refreshment vans."

Cr McKay said council staff had now assessed the business proposals against the new policy and compiled a list that residents can use to say how they feel about the level of commercial activity they regard as acceptable on public land.

“We really want to hear from residents all over the Sunshine Coast about how they would like to see our beloved beaches, foreshores and parks used,” she said.

“We want to hear from people regardless of whether they like the idea of having more activities available, or if they think these should be limited.”

A feedback survey is available at www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au under the Get Involved section and at all council libraries and Customer Service Centres. Residents have until 24 December to complete a survey.

It lists the activities being proposed and the locations where they would take place, including Happy Valley, Cotton Tree foreshore, Noosa Main Beach and the Maroochy River.

The results of the survey will be taken into consideration by council next year when deciding on which business activities will go to tender for a permit to operate there.

Under the new permit system, endorsed by council in September, permits will be issued to successful tender applicants until June 2013. After then, a three-year tender process will operate and permit holders will have to re-apply every three years.