August picnic was great

Community Picnic with a difference.
article by Jemma Darlington

The morning dawned with a thick mist over the lakeside community of Boreen Point. All are late to rise, including the sun. All that is, except for Friends of Kinaba. Preparations are being made; lunches packed, sunscreen smeared and masts hoisted. For a picnic is to be had, a picnic with a difference.

Our raft of kayaks sailed smoothly into the water in front of the Kinaba Information Centre; a weathered structure on the shores of Lake Cootharaba, a 45 minute paddle north from Boreen Point. It is here at this wooden building that the community of Boreen Point and the surrounding Noosa Hinterland are gathering to celebrate the importance of this historic structure.

Organised by the Friends of Kinaba steering committee, this picnic day is to reinforce the community’s dedication to keeping Kinaba open to the public and continuing its duty as gateway to the Noosa Everglades (a.k.a Upper Noosa River).

In July last year, a proposal was submitted to the National Parks service (which currently maintains the Information Centre) for the Friends of Kinaba community group to, under supervision of the National Parks, maintain and upkeep the iconic building.

The Friends of Kinaba community group was formed in June 2011 on the announcement of the possible tendering for use of the Kinaba Information Centre, which would leave the building open to applications by commercial operators. It is the vision of the Friends of Kinaba to keep this unique building available to the public, as it was originally donated for this purpose.

Speaking to local residents during the picnic (including owners of small local tourism businesses who operate in this area), it is evident that Kinaba holds great value to the community as not only being the source of 30 years of history for the Noosa Region, but it also serves its duty as gateway to the Noosa Everglades.

Since the Great Sandy National Parks’ declaration in the early 1970’s, this unique and pristine environment (of which Kinaba is a part of) has been treasured by biologists, adventurers and nature-lovers alike. The building serves as a comfortable resting point for travellers to and from the Noosa Everglades, and provides a vital information source to visitors of the National Park.

Looking forward, the Friends of Kinaba envision regular working bees to restore and maintain the old, battered building. Willing volunteers and community members include qualified trades men and women, passionate environmentalists, and long-term local residents, willing to put in a day or twos hard work in order to see this building reach its highest potential.

Also on the cards for Kinaba under this proposed community management, is the occupation of the building on weekends and busy usage periods by volunteers, to educate and encourage visitors to the area to respect the beautiful environment and river system which they have come to enjoy.

Observing the 30 picnickers milling around the building, water craft lazily soaking up the sunshine, the chatter and laughter, shrieks of joy from children splashing in the lake and conversations of a serious nature, it is clear that whether it’s a meeting point to soak up the early morning sun or to shelter weary adventurers from rain, Kinaba Information Centre is a natural at bringing people together. And so it should remain.

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