Push is on to cap car, camper numbers at Teewah Beach
THE Queensland Department of Environment and Science has confirmed it is reviewing the number of cars and campers allowed on Teewah Beach.
It follows revelations the Teewah and Cooloola Working Group met with Environment Minister Leanne Enoch recently, seeking to have the number of vehicles and campers accessing the beach from the south capped at significantly less numbers.
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The DES issued a statement yesterday saying:
"The Teewah Cooloola Working Group is a Noosa Shire Council-led initiative to address community concerns regarding impacts on the environment and visitor experience caused by high visitor numbers during peak periods.
"The working group recently presented a draft proposal to the DES making a number of recommendations regarding visitation management in the area.
"DES manages the Teewah and Cooloola areas under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and Recreation Areas Management Act 2006 and currently has no plans to restrict visitation to the area.
"DES is currently reviewing the Great Sandy National Park Management Plan and Visitor Strategy with the view of ensuring protection of key values of the area, including sustainable visitor experience.
"DES will consider all community submissions received through the planned community consultation process on the management plan at the appropriate time.
"Currently there are no restrictions on the number of day visitors or vehicles that can access Teewah Beach, however there have long been limits on camper numbers along Teewah Beach to protect the environment and maintain the highly sought-after camping experience.”
The working group was formed last year as a "united front” of local authorities aimed at curbing recreational excesses at Teewah.
Noosa Council chief executive Brett de Chastel said at the time:
"This (the recreational excesses) occurred in the Noosa Shire area between the third cutting and Teewah township and also in beach areas to the north as a result of high tides and unusually high numbers of visitors endeavouring to access the Cooloola region.”
Those invited to be part of the working group included Gympie Regional Council (Cr Mark McDonald), MPs Sandy Bolton and Tony Perrett, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Queensland police, Noosa Council, Tourism Noosa, Noosa Parks Association, Noosa North Shore Association, Teewah Landowners' Association, Rainbow Beach Commerce and Tourism Association, and Visit Gympie.
The Rainbow Beach Community News reported this week the Teewah camping zone starts from the Noosa Council boundary and extends 15km up the beach, which means the entire camping zone is in Gympie Regional Council area. Any capping of camping and visitor numbers to the Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park will be at the expense of local business operators, it said.
Mr Perrett said yesterday that there should not be a penalty imposed on the community and visitors to the region because of the irresponsible behaviour of a few.
"Any suggestion of capping camping numbers is premature,” he said. "If they cut numbers by half, as suggested, it will clearly have significant impact on the economy of the region.
"Visitors don't just bring their supplies and not engage with activities in the region.
"They travel and stop in Rainbow Beach and use local businesses.
"I have sought further information yesterday in the Parliament with a Question on Notice to the Minister.”