- Surfing the Waves of Change with a Population Cap   click here to open paper content294 kb
by    Fullarton, Fiona | ffullarton@noosa.qld.gov.au   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
This paper evaluates the use of a population cap in combination with traditional planning tools to realise a sustainable environment, economy and community for Noosa, a unique coastal destination in Australia.
Noosa Shire Council has implemented a population cap in combination with traditional planning tools to ride the waves of change that have threatened the significant environmental values that make this coastal destination world renowned. Noosa has been subjected to the same pressures seen by most coastal communities throughout the world including, population growth and tourism versus environmental protection. However, the approach taken in Noosa to cap the population/development is the first in Australia and takes significant courage to implement.

It’s hard to imagine such a place exists but the human population of Noosa has been consciously ‘capped’ to 62,031 people (should be reached in 2016) based on the environmental values/capacity of the locality. Buildings are restricted to the height of trees and there are only three traffic lights within the Shire (865km2).

The population cap in Noosa is a result of the collaboration between the Noosa Shire Council and the community and development sectors. Many ‘battles’ have been fought, before and after the implementation of the population cap in combination with Council’s Strategic Plan (planning document) adopted in 1997. Implementation has required continuous engagement with the community and development sectors to ensure future Councils adhere to this philosophy. The creation of four community sector boards (environment, economy, social and arts and heritage) each of which comprises nine community representatives, a Councillor and a senior staff member has contributed to its success.

This case study will:-
·Discuss why a population cap was used in combination with traditional planning tools to preserve the values of Noosa Shire;
·Describe the environmental, social, economic and governmental implications of a population cap; and
·Evaluate the factors that have contributed to the success or otherwise of the population cap in Noosa over the short and longer terms including the government’s commitment to implementation.
Population Cap
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