The Cootharaba Community Association (CCA) came into being in May 2002. It grew out of a meeting convened by the Noosa Council and held at the Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club three months earlier. As part of a community consultation strategy, the Council was seeking to stimulate discussion and involve its citizens in planning and decision-making processes. Forty-six people attended and many ideas were put forward including the need for a group to represent the community. To that end, a steering committee of ten was formed and 11 March was set as the date for its first meeting. This group subsequently put together a draft constitution and distributed a questionnaire to determine the level of community support and the issues people felt needed to be addressed.
The inaugural meeting of the group that was to become CCA was held at the Sailing Club on 29 May 2002 with thirty-seven people attending.
The proposed constitution was discussed at length, and after amendments were accepted the organisation came into being as a non-incorporated association whose aim was ‘to represent the Cootharaba Community on issues that affect the community’. Importantly, the meeting confirmed that the new body should act as a conduit for community opinion rather than lead on issues decided by the committee. Of the five alternative names put forward, Cootharaba Community Association was the unanimous choice. With CCA now in existence, the steering committee became defunct and two interim secretaries were selected to call the first meeting and accept nominations for seven management committee positions.
On 9 July 2002, CCA held its first meeting at Roberts House, a small building bequeathed to the Anglican Church in 1967, which since then had acted as both a place of worship and an unofficial community hall. Members were updated on CCA’s financial position and developments since inauguration. The meeting then moved on to the main business which was to elect members of the Management Committee. John Butterworth became President, Tim Warren Vice President, Robert Dessaix Secretary, Jean Duffield Treasurer, and Ordinary Members, Dorothea Snell, Russell Tapp and Christine Taylor. Dates were set for four General Meetings for the following year and the process of organising indemnity insurance was set in train.
With the organisation formally established, CCA’s attention turned to the issues that had been raised by the initial questionnaire—twenty-six in all, ranging from street lighting (some wanted more, others less), signage, traffic calming, jet skis, boat ramp repairs, and toilet facilities, to walking trails, limits on development, recreational facilities for youth, and the need for a community hall. These were prioritised and a short list compiled for submission to Council.
Since 2002, CCA has focused attention on a wide range of issues. From its inception the group recognised not only the need to be guided by its members and the local community but also the importance of establishing productive lines of communication with elected representatives at all levels, particularly Noosa councillors. With only a small pool of potential members it has often been a challenge for CCA to achieve a quorum at meetings or replace retiring committee members. Given the diversity of the community it represents, on occasions its actions have sparked controversy or been seen by some to be divisive. In retrospect however, the timeline reveals that CCA has achieved much that has benefited Boreen Point and the Cootharaba community and importantly has established itself as a two-way conduit between locals and governing bodies with the power to effect change.