Thursday, July 30, 2015

CARA – Caring for Cooroy and District

Elm Street intersection update

Elm Street intersection approached from Maple Street

Elm Street intersection approached from Maple Street

Our local member, Peter Wellington, has made representations on our behalf to the District Director of Department of Transport and Main Roads about the Elm Street, Myall Street intersection. Here is their reply:

Thank you for your further query regarding congestion at Cooroy intersections, particularly east of the railway line at Myall and Elm streets.

TMR acknowledges that congestion is experienced during peak periods in the Cooroy town centre and motorists experience some delays at Myall and Elm streets and Diamond and Elm streets intersections. TMR receives many requests for improvement works at intersections and allocates funding for these improvements on a priority basis. Priorities are determined by considering site-specific parameters that primarily include crash history, but may also include other factors such as traffic volumes, geometry and visibility. A review of TMR’s crash database shows these intersections both have low crash histories and are not considered a high priority for funding as there are other intersections across the state and within North Coast District demonstrating a greater need.

 As you are aware, TMR is working closely with Noosa Council to consider future east-west connections between coastal areas and towns such as Cooroy in the Northern part of the Sunshine Coast. While these investigations take a regional approach, localised issues are also being considered as part of the future transport requirements for the area. The investigations are in a preliminary phase and the link between, and including these two intersections, has been highlighted as a priority area for consideration. 

I can advise that Noosa Council is developing options for possible improvements to the intersections for TMR to review. TMR will continue to work alongside council to progress these options.

 Once the strategy is finalised, further investigation will be required to determine the best solutions for the area, taking into account forecast transport requirements.  TMR will then consider funding for any improvements during future reviews of the program.

 TMR will continue to monitor performance of these intersections and continue routine maintenance in the area.

Highway Service Centre Update 16 July 2015

Staff and councillors have had an inspection of the the proposed site and the developer has agreed to move the site works away from the riparian zone. Ather elements to remain the same. There has been a request for an extension to 9 August to allow for further discussion.

Council planners’ report on Highway Service Centre released

At its Ordinary meeting 7 May, Noosa councillors voted to defer a decision on the application for 60 days (to 11 July) to allow for further discussion between the applicant and council about the application.

Council planning staff have recommended refusal of the application. The full report can be found on page 8 of the agenda for the 28 April Planning and Organisation Committee meeting HERE.

The matter will come before the full Council Ordinary Meeting 7 May for debate and/or a decision.

Reasons for refusal:

  1. The development raises significant conflicts with The Noosa Plan and its land use intent for the rural zone and water supply catchment area.
  2. The development conflicts with the Southeast Queensland Regional Plan policy for drinking water catchment protection because it proposes expanded urban development with Noosa’s water supply catchment area.
  3. The development represents a substantial expansion of Cooroy’s commercial precincts that will further disperse and fragment its business centre, which is undesirable.
  4. The development will compound existing traffic problems at the Myall Street & Elm Street intersection, which is undesirable.
  5. The development is partly proposed within a mapped riparian buffer area on the site, with insufficient basis provided to justify a reduced buffer.
  6. The applicant has not demonstrated sufficient grounds exist to overcome the development’s conflicts with The Noosa Plan, with only low to moderate overall need apparent for the development.

Cooroy Community Workshop From May 1998 

At the time when local timber resources were running out and the state government was instituting its SE Forests Agreement, a community workshop was conducted at the Cooroy RSL in May 1998. You can read a report on this meeting HERE, to see how there are many  topics mentioned then that are similar to current concerns.

Meeting starts the process







Around 50 people gathered for the working breakfast at The Hub on 25 March to pool their collective brainstorming talent to come up with ideas on how Cooroy may develop in the years to come, as it copes with the challenges of inevitable growth. Councillors Bolton and Pardon were helpful participants.

MC Richard Hansen capably kept the ideas flowing. These included a general desire to see the town retain its country atmosphere, Lake McDonald development plans, affordable housing, mixed housing zoning, a ring-road around Cooroy, improved Internet speed, an extra toilet block in town, an industrial area with access to the highway, a second retirement village, expansion of Rural Living zoning, clear zoning guidelines for intensive farming proposals, a disaster muster centre, and appropriate zoning for Black Mountain transfer station.

As well, support for local tourism operators, the establishment of a Cooroy farmer’s market, national park status for West Cooroy State Forest, an off-leash area for dogs, and better playground facilities were proposed.

CooryBowls2A Broad masterplan for Cooroy needs to be made with the roles of the state and local government in mind. The Elm Street bridge was identified as a major issue, and given that this is a state responsibility, it appears that only extensive traffic holdups or more accidents will push the crossing up the state priority lists. And an improved pedestrian crossing for rail lines also needs state assistance if it is to become a reality.

To the argument that Cooroy is a town divided, it was countered that the town could be recognised for its precincts, and these need to be recognised, strengthened and promoted. If there was a consensus, it was that the town of the future needs to be resident and family friendly, have a vibrant commercial and retail centre, encourage more alfresco dining, institute traffic calming measures, and ensure a sound economic base that includes environmental sustainability.

The future
We plan to put up a web site that will list all the ideas, call for more suggestions, and allow comments from all those who can’t get to meetings, but who still would like a say in the town’s future. Later in the year, CARA and the Cooroy Chamber of Commerce will likely co-host a forum that scrutinise all the best and most viable options, and put together a submission for Noosa Council as it prepares for its new Noosa Plan in 2016.

And now that our local state member, Peter Wellington, is in a strong position to help us with our aims, we plan to meet with him once we have a clear idea of how best he could assist us.

Cooroy: where to now?

Cooroy2A breakfast meeting of professionals, business owners, community representatives, and others interested in how Cooroy may develop in the years to come.

The idea is to set the agenda for a major planning workshop hosted in conjunction with interested community groups later in the year. This event will collate planning suggestions for the future of Cooroy, and present them to Noosa Council for consideration as they prepare the new Noosa Plan in 2016.

The Hub
5 Opal St
7am, Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Cost: $15 for breakfast (pay on the day)
Meeting only 7:30am: Free
RSVP :   23 March
Please indicate whether you’d like to include the breakfast.

The breakfast event is not about long speeches, it’s more of a get together for brainstorming and coming up with practical ideas which will be collated and put up for discussion in the future. 

Meeting moderator: Richard Hansen

Possible topics:
• Cooroy: a town divided          • The Elm St Bridge
• Parking problems                    • Housing growth areas
• Light industrial growth areas      • Flood mitigation
• Tourism        • Rural subdivision         • Your topic

To facilitate further discussion, we’ll publish a website dedicated to the Planning Cooroy Forum where all the material can be posted and where debate and further discussion can take place.

Review of Cooroy Butter Factory appraisal process

On 9 March, Noosa Council CEO Brett de Chastel asked council’s executive manager to investigate allegations by Bruce Creswell that there may have been conflict of interest by having council consultants d-sipher prepare a report for the review process and then help two of the favoured concepts make up their submissions. The report was received on 12 March at the monthly ordinary meeting of Council and the allegation was dismissed. Councillors voted to support the Lower Mill Board’s (LMB) submission, but tempered this decision by the withdrawal of a planned offer of $80,000 to the LMB to allow them to meet start-up expenses and employ suitably qualified staff to support the operations of the new Butter Factory model. They now have to negotiate a funding package and resubmit this to Council along with a business plan.

This will put the iconic building’s future on hold for now, and CARA will request the opportunity to host a town meeting to discuss the LMB’s final concept.

Cooroy Highway Service Centre

Council has received responses from the applicant to their requests for further information. The revised plans are HERE. A revised economic impact assessment report is posted HERE. and the new traffic report, which includes an analysis of the Elm Street railway bridge intersection, can be found HERE.

Current submissions are posted on the council website HERE.

Cooroy Highway Service Centre meeting report

Meeting moderator Allan Bonsall relays community questions.

Moderator Allan Bonsall relays community questions.

Over 100 residents listened with interest as Peter Zipf and his planning team described their proposal for a highway service centre and tourist park at the southern entrance to Cooroy during a town meeting in the Cooroy Memorial Hall on the evening of 10 December. The appropriate Council planner also attended as did Councillors Wellington and Bolton.

As a precursor to the public consultation phase of the application which begins in January, attendees raised a number of issues including concerns about the effects of storm water, traffic issues with the Elm Street railway bridge, noise abatement to nearby residences, effects on existing town businesses, and the need for such a complex at the proposed location.

As new material on the application comes to had, we will post the details on this site.

Myall Street Highway Service Centre Proposal


This proposal seeks a major change in the local planning scheme (currently it is zoned rural) to develop land that runs from the corner of Myall Street and Ferrells Road, along the southern side of Myall Street (opposite the golf course) to the new Bruce Highway roadworks. The application is for a mixed use development comprised of tourist accommodation (including site manager, amenities building, 10 cabins and 27 van parks), a combined 24-7 service station and fast food outlet, including drive-through, a retail food store, self-storage units, and a four-bay manual carwash.

Servo2airplanRevised plan submitted
As part of the application, a detailed town planning report has been commissioned by the developer and is available as a PDF download HERE. Architectural drawing and site plans can be downloaded HERE. NOTE: A revised site plan has recently been submitted which indicates a reduction in the scale of the development. You can view the new plan HERE.

Stage One of the proposal includes the service station, food shop, take-away outlet, and the tourist park. Stage Two is the carwash, and Stage Three is the self-storage sheds. An economic assessment of the effects on Cooroy’s current retail mix has been presented to Council as part of the application. You can view it HERE.

Assessment has commenced
Noosa Council’s has begun its assessment of this application and are looking at the economic impacts, traffic flows, acoustic issues with nearby residential areas, waste management, and whether the proposed tourist park, car wash and self-storage operations are best sited here. We have summarised the initial information request by Council HERE. Council planner Denis Wallace is happy to answer questions about the development on 5329 6239.

The community will have a chance to comment on the application and before this CARA is hosting a General Meeting about the proposal where the developer will answer questions from residents and others interested.

Where to for the Cooroy Butter Factory?


November 25 Meeting
At the meeting 25 November in the Butter Factory council staff gave a presentation on five favoured proposals from the list of submissions which can be found HERE.

LEAD CONCEPTS Model style:
1. U3A Cooroy sub-branch (U3A Noosa) proposal
Establish a sub-branch of U3A Noosa within the Butter Factory, offering classes and activities.
It could incorporate existing Butter Factory activities and extend to other groups.

2.Community managed
For example this could be the Lower Mill Board managing on behalf of the community.

3.Council managed
This would basically maintain the status quo.

4. Interpretation centre, (Bruce Cresswell, Jeanette Alfredson)
Create an interpretation centre using the historic Cooroy Butter Factory sitting at the geographical centre of the Noosa community biosphere. It would extend the existing arts components by adding new segments of nature, indigenous and heritage tourism.

Centre for ceramic excellence (Rowley Drysdale)
5. To establish a local, national and internationally acclaimed Cooroy Butter Factory Centre for Ceramic Excellence which would incorporate exhibitions, retail sales, workshops and accredited classes.

CooroySignWhy not join us?
CARA exists to provide a forum for community information and discussion on matters affecting the residents of Cooroy and district.

A Queensland Health Report found that, “People who actively participate in their community and have strong and supportive family, cultural and community relationships have better health than people who are socially isolated.”

So join CARA now and become an active member of your community.