Strategy looks to create a more active, healthy Noosa


More people walking, cycling plus the delivery of critical infrastructure form part of a new blueprint to create an active community in Noosa.

The Noosa Cycling and Walking Strategy to be adopted at Thursday’s Ordinary Meeting marks a significant milestone in council’s commitment to address future congestion issues, reduce emissions and increase the uptake of active travel in the shire.

Council’s 2021/22 capital works plan includes funding of $12.8 million for a range of specific priority projects over the next two financial years.

These include the installation of pathways of major projects such as the Noosa Parade Corridor Upgrade, Garth Prowd Bridge replacement and Beckmans Road Bypass Stage 1.

“A feature of the strategy is the work of a community-based Project Reference Group, which identified 22 low-cost projects to help achieve immediate benefits,” said Project Reference Group member Cr Brian Stockwell.

He said the strategy was largely driven by community input.

“We received a great deal of feedback through a series of consultations that guided the priorities set in this bold new strategy,” he said.

The community identified three actions to encourage more bike riding and walking across the shire, including more separated bike riding paths, better connections between paths and shops plus more off-road paths and bikeways.

An avid trail bike rider, Cr Stockwell said the pandemic had clearly demonstrated the importance of creating an active, healthy environment.

“The health and wellbeing plus environmental benefits of cycling and walking are well documented,

“This strategy endeavours to create an environment that makes riding a bike and walking so convenient and safe that it is the preferred mode of transport for our residents and visitors.” Cr Stockwell said.

Noosa business owner and keen cyclist Tracey Watt from Bike On said the strategy is an important moment for Noosa.

“It’s been a pleasure to be a small part of a dedicated group to drive change and produce a blueprint which should shape the future of cycling and walking activities in the shire,” she said.

“Noosa offers so many options for an active lifestyle and we now have a tangible document that clearly outlines what can and should be done to enhance our cycling and walking culture.”

The strategy defines and prioritises a list of projects for Council to deliver, with many of them potentially eligible for Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) grant funding.

Mayor Clare Stewart said for every $1 invested in cycling infrastructure, it returns almost $5 to Queensland in health benefits and reduced traffic congestion.

“This strategy will play a major role in addressing future congestion issues and help Noosa to reach its carbon emissions targets,” she said.

Cr Stockwell said the strategy will deliver more than just hard infrastructure.

“Actions are quite diverse ranging from improving pathway connections, providing convenient bike parking, safe road crossings and even planting canopy trees along paths to entice people to walk and cycle,” he said.

The proposed implementation plan is based on Council’s current 10-year forecast spending on walking and cycling projects. The delivery of additional projects will rely on securing external government grant funding where possible.