Have your say on the future of the Canelands
  • Wednesday 11 November 2009

Sunshine Coast canelands are an important part of our region’s landscape and character but trying to balance the outcomes desired by state and local governments, landowners and the wider community is a challenge.

Constraints such as flooding and the changing role of our canelands in terms of our economy have impacted on the future of canelands in our region.

The Sunshine Coast Council Canelands Discussion Paper, currently available for community comment as part of council’s extensive Our Place Our Future planning program, takes on the challenge by looking at the issues and possible future direction for the area.

Economic Development Portfolio holder Councillor Lew Brennan said now is the time to start looking at the economic opportunities for the canelands.

“My main aim is to support people who want to pursue productive uses of the caneland," said Cr Brennan.

“Right now, the best way to do that is for people to respond directly to the discussion paper.

“In all of our decision making we need to respect both the values of the private property owners and landholders who have contributed to the regional economy over decades—they are a part of our heritage and our future—and the environmental constraints that impact on these lands.

“There are new and exciting opportunities for caneland owners such as the cow candy business, the opportunity to generate energy from farm products and produce plastics from plants.

“However, healthy and well-managed canelands are also critical to a sustainable future for the Sunshine Coast and this land has been going through major change since the Moreton Sugar Mill closed in 2003.”

Cr Brennan said council would also like feedback on the potential uses and environmental priorities of our canelands.

“The challenge is in balancing the desires of the landowners with the needs of the community, while also taking into account the major environmental constraints, like flooding and acidic soils,” Cr Brennan said.

“Council proposes that the area stays rural and wants community views on how the land might be used in the future—whether it’s used for rural production or living, conservation programs, tourism and recreation activities, or small-scale rural businesses and industry.

“The discussion paper looks at the issues associated with these activities and proposes 12 key principles to guide future land use. It also looks at the different roles that council, landowners and the wider community may play in restoring the land to good health.”

Division nine councillor Vivien Griffin said that while this paper focuses on about 7,600 hectares of former caneland on the Maroochy River floodplain—which is in her division—many of the issues and opportunities are relevant elsewhere.

“We need everyone’s involvement to ensure the values of the land are protected and continue to contribute to the sustainability of the Sunshine Coast,” Cr Griffin said.

This discussion paper and your comments will help to both guide council activities in the canelands area inform the Sunshine Coast Rural Futures Strategy. The draft strategy will be placed on display for community feedback next year. It will become the platform for council’s future operations and discussions with other levels of government.

For more information or to have your say:

  • Visit council’s website www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au
  • Take part in an online discussion via Facebook
  • Visit a local library or council customer service centre
  • Talk to a staff member at a local roadshow display near you.

Submissions close at 4pm on Monday 7 December 2009.

The remaining roadshow dates are:

12 November, 3pm–7 pm, Beerwah and District Community Hall, Peachester Rd, Beerwah
14 November, 9am–1 pm, The Events Centre, 20 Minchinton St, Caloundra
15 November, 6.30am–12 noon, Noosa Farmers Markets, Weyba Rd, Noosaville
16 November, 9am–1 pm, Currimundi Market Place, Cnr Nicklin Way and Bellara Drv, Currimundi
16 November, 3pm–7pm, Lake Kawana Community Centre, Sportsman’s Pde, Bokarina
17 November, 3pm– 7pm, Noosa Junction, The J, 60 Noosa Drv, Noosa Heads
19 November, 3pm–7pm, Millwell Road Community Centre, 11a Millwell Rd East,, Maroochydore
21 November, Yandina Markets, Old Bruce Highway, Yandina
24 November, 9am–1pm, Palmwoods Memorial Hall, Main St, Palmwoods
26 November, 9am–1pm, Mapleton Community Hall, 31 Obi Obi Rd, Mapleton
28 November, 9am–1pm, Innovation Centre, Sunshine Coast University, 90 Sippy Downs Drv, Sippy Downs
29 November, Cotton Tree Markets, King St, Cotton Tree