Michael Gloster.
Michael Gloster.

Tourism congestion ‘deja vu’ in Noosa: Gloster

A LONG-term campaigner for Noosa’s values has said the only answer to tourism congestion in Noosa is by capping both resident and visitor numbers can both these groups be guaranteed a quality Noosa experience into the future.

Noosa Parks Association president Michael Gloster penned an article in ta recent NPA newsletter saying the over-tourism issue was “deja vu”.

With summer holidays approaching, “once again, more residents will feel a little more like strangers in their home town,” he said.

“Once again, more visitors will feel let down that their Noosa experience fell short of expectations.

“Once again, there’ll be a larger footprint over Noosa’s environment.

“Noosa’s residents and visitors deserve better. How has it come to this?”

Dr Gloster said Noosa day-visitors had grown by more than 50 per cent in the 20 years since the region agreed to limit its population growth – and further growth was on the cards for the next 20 years.

But we’ve seen it all before, he said.

“In the 1980s and 90s, when Noosa was facing relentless overdevelopment pressures, the visionary leadership of NPA and council gradually won over the community to accepting that the only way to protect Noosa’s environment and the Noosa way of life for both residents and visitors was to embed a development cap, or a resident population cap, into a new Noosa town plan.

“It was a bold proposal, and initially Noosa’s tourism and business leaders were vehemently opposed to it, and undermined it at every turn.

“But gradually a new and more enlightened tourism and business leadership group emerged and joined with us and council in championing a Noosa Plan that embedded the development cap and, hence, the residential population cap that is the basis of today’s Noosa.

“To this end, over the past year and a half, we have been in dialogue with Tourism Noosa, Noosa Council, and business, resident and environmental groups, seeking an acknowledgment that emerging over-tourism is a fundamental threat to residents’ and visitors’ enjoyment of Noosa, and advocating a hotspot visitor cap that can complement the population cap.”

Dr Gloster said over-tourism “must and can be avoided in Noosa, just as overdevelopment needed to be and has been avoided”.

“Only by capping both resident and visitor numbers can residents and visitors be guaranteed a quality Noosa experience into the future.”

He said Mayor Tony Wellington was “howled down” by tourism and business interests when he said Noosa needed to start acting now to avoid the prospect of over-tourism and degradation of resident and visitor amenity in the decades to come.

“Regrettably, it seems Noosa’s struggles of the 1980s and 90s to avoid overdevelopment will need to be replicated in the coming years if Noosa’s residents, visitors and the environment are to dodge the bullet of over-tourism,” Mr Gloster said.