CROWD CONTROL: Noosa looks to limit big events
Mass participation events of 500 or more may be banned by Noosa Council as of Monday, potentially thwarting the prospects of staging major drawcard the Noosa Triathlon in November.
Keeping numbers below 500 is one of the options Noosa Council will consider at a special meeting on Monday.
A ban on all temporary events on community land including markets is another option.
Council staff have recommended the first "cautionary" option be reviewed in February along with the establishment of a COVID-19 reference group including community groups to consider ongoing issues.
If approved, event organisers would have to complete a COVID Safe checklist, with the council focusing on approving events designed for Sunshine Coast only participants.
The Hastings Street Association and Noosaville Business Association have both told the council they want to see a scaled-back Noosa Triathlon to receive the green light.
This would result in a cap of 3500 Queensland-only competitors, no spectator clusters and visitor stays restricted to three nights.
The Noosa Junction Association supports the triathlon if the event can be staged with "adequate COVID safety measures".
All three business groups have told the council the recent Ekka long weekend resulted in Noosa successfully accommodating crowds booked into 5000 rooms.
They believe triathlon visitors could be better managed than the "transient public" visiting Noosa.
Council CEO Brett de Chastel said any outbreak and a return of restrictions could prove a massive setback for businesses and the local economy.
"A second wave lockdown is a situation we all want to avoid," he said.
"These are all matters that individual councils will need to consider as part of their own decisions about event permits during the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation.
"The world over, major sporting events such as Wimbledon, the Olympics and the City to Surf, and events where large crowds gather, such as the Ekka down the road in Brisbane, have already been cancelled or postponed, so the threat posed by the virus is being taken very seriously," Mr de Chastel said.
Council property manager Clint Irwin said investigations showed there were currently no insurance products available which were free of COVID-19 exclusions.
"Council takes on increased financial risk by allowing large events to proceed without adequate insurance coverage for COVID-19 due to the risk of incurring COVID related litigation," Mr Irwin said.
And there was also the risk of doing damage to the Noosa brand which has been established over many years.
"Arguably, business owners and tourism bodies will lose much more by reintroduced lockdowns than they would have ever gained economically in the short term from an approved event," Mr Irwin said.