Safety review underway at hinterland swimming spot

A review is underway to improve the safety of visitors to a popular but unpredictable hinterland destination.

Sunshine Coast Council is calling on the community to share their ideas on ways to improve signage at Gardners Falls, in Maleny, to help encourage safe behaviours.

Visitors can walk along a section of the Obi Obi Creek to a series of small waterfalls and a swimming hole.

The goal is for visitors to better understand the risks at this location and be informed on how to manage their own safety.

The draft signage aims to prompt thinking about the risks of visiting this area and include calls to secure valuables, keep a constant eye on children and consider swimming ability and unseen, submerged objects.

There are also two ‘must-have’ warning signs.

The location of the signage is also up for discussion.

Local Division 5 Councillor Winston Johnston said Gardners Falls was a very popular swimming hole that attracted thousands of people each year.  

“Council doesn’t actively encourage swimming at the falls,” Cr Johnston said.

“Swimming in a natural water body is always a risky activity with variable water conditions and a range of unknowns.

“Unfortunately, there have been fatalities and injuries due to this.”

Cr Johnston said council was trying to get the balance right between helping people manage their own safety in this location and preserving the beauty visitors enjoyed.

“We’ve put forward some new signage ideas as a starting point for discussion to better communicate the risks of visiting and swimming at the falls.”

Other work underway to improve safety at the falls

A landscape management plan for Gardners Falls guides Council’s actions to improve safety in the reserve.

It includes:

  • new signage (underway)
  • planning and design of road and traffic upgrades (2024/25)
  • a crossing to the Maleny Community Precinct trail (2024/25)
  • minor amenity upgrades.

Council is working closely with local emergency services to identify access improvements during an emergency.

Have your say

Share your ideas on the draft signage before 5pm Friday October 13, 2023 at haveyoursay.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au or at a drop-in session at the Maleny Library, 5 Coral Street, Maleny, on Monday September 25, 2023 from 3-6pm.

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