New permit system for business use of public land
  • Tuesday 05 October 2010

A lengthy process to ensure public land is preserved for community use has come to an end with the Sunshine Coast Council approving 29 permits for commercial businesses in a range of categories to operate on community-owned land in the region.

The Commercial Use of Community Land policy adopted by council in September 2009, sets out the framework and principles for making decisions about the allocation and use of community land and waterways for commercial activities.

The tender process was introduced earlier this year in a move to improve the overall quality of these activities and fairness to commercial businesses using public land while also recognising the role commercial activities have in enhancing community enjoyment of public spaces.

Community Policy and Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay, said council developed the new policy to ensure that public land, including public beaches, rivers, foreshores and parks, is preserved for community enjoyment.

“The aim is to provide a better, fairer and safer system for commercial businesses operating across community land while still being respectful of the public’s wishes,” Cr McKay said.

“By undertaking an extensive and transparent review and consultation process, we want the new permit system to allow for the best use of our much loved beaches, foreshores and parks. We want to strike the right balance for the local business operators, the general public and any environmental impacts such businesses may cause.”

Economic Development and Council Entrepreneurship Portfolio Councillor Lew Brennan, said while community use remains paramount, the new policy allows for the operation of commercial activities in specific circumstances and under an agreed process framework.

“We have worked hard to ensure the permits are issued to the most professional and qualified operators who are accountable to council and the community, while also providing them with certainty in their business operations for the term of the permit.

“In return, the community will receive improved recreational opportunities, a level of certainty around how intensely public land is used for commercial business, and assurance that the environmental and general risks are managed. The business community will also receive the economic benefits of such activities.”

Council took a number of factors into consideration when reviewing the 63 tenders received including:

  • track record and experience
  • business planning
  • the business' environmental risk management
  • contribution to the local economy
  • resources and equipment available
  • capacity to undertake the proposed business
  • risk management and workplace health and safety practices.

Successful tenderers have been awarded permits to operate for the following:

  • Stand up paddle lessons
  • Kite surfing lessons
  • Surf dance lessons
  • Body surfing and beach awareness classes
  • Kayak hire and tours (Maroochy River)
  • Catamaran hire
  • Beach equipment hire
  • Staffed cloakroom
  • Fixed location refreshment vans
  • Mobile beach refreshments
  • Guided nature walking tour
  • Parachute landings
  • Bungy trampoline
  • Hire of radio controlled boats.

All permit holders will be able to start trading from their permitted locations from 1 November until 30 June 2013.