How you can help shape a better future of much-loved coastal park

Flanking the Maroochydore CBD, a special place with a deep connection to the Maroochy River brings the community together with sprawling parks, playgrounds and dining delights.

For more than 20,000 years, the First Nations Peoples made Maroochy district home, caring for country and gathering seafood from the rivers and ocean.

By the 1880s, Cotton Tree was a sleepy coastal village where holidaymakers camped along the shimmering waterway.

Today, it’s brimming with equal parts adventure and tranquillity where the river meets ocean. The postcard perfect park runs parallel to the river and is a much-loved spot for locals and visitors to gather.

This is why Sunshine Coast Council is undertaking early planning to see what improvements the community would like.

Sunshine Coast Council Division 4 Councillor Joe Natoli said he was looking forward to exploring ways to enhance what people already loved about the park.

“As our community continues to grow, our region’s parks and gardens become more valuable as places where we can connect with nature and each other,” Cr Natoli said.

“Through the Division 4 Minor Capital Works Funding, I’ve chosen to undertake proactive early planning for improvements to the eastern end of Cotton Tree Park, which includes Des Scanlan Park and Black Swan Park, along Cotton Tree Parade, Maroochydore.

“A draft concept plan has been created and celebrates the ways people currently use and love the park with more open and interconnected gathering spaces.

A current picture of the Cotton Tree riverbank.
A current picture of the Cotton Tree riverbank.

“It also aims to improve safety and create better connections throughout the park and to the beach, investigate beach renourishment, and enhance recreational opportunities.

“By seeking our community’s feedback in this early stage of planning, it will help council secure and prioritise funding, as well as identify future potential construction staging.”

Businesses, locals and visitors are encouraged to have their say on the draft concept plan between November 25 and December 12, 2022 by visiting council’s Have Your Say website.

While the proposed improvements are not currently included in council’s 10-year Capital Works Program for construction, community feedback on the plan will help council determine priority improvements and seek potential future grant applications and/or funding opportunities.

Opportunities for the park improvements include:

  • Improving pathway layout and continuity, wayfinding, and safety for pedestrians with new raised pedestrian crossings and pathways throughout the parkland and Cotton Tree Parade.
  • Investigating beach re-nourishment and a new revetment wall to expand the picnic lawn at the rear of the aquatic centre.
  • Improving access to the beach and picnic lawns at the rear of the aquatic centre, with wider, upgraded pathways.
  • Expanding the ‘active recreation zone’.
  • Including a public ceremony/picnic lawn area next to Beach Access 137.
  • Investigating changes to car parking, including provision for people with disability (PWD) parking bays and loading bays.
  • Investigating upgrades to public lighting to reduce impacts to migratory and resident shore birds at lower Maroochy River.

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