Anger over hoons

It has become a familiar refrain but residents living near the Banksia Avenue and Russell Street intersection in Coolum are worried their song of woe will soon be a requiem.

The residents have been pleading with authorities for years to take action to stop hoons in hotted-up cars using the area as a drag strip but still the revving engines, screeching tyres and near-misses continue.

But in the wee small hours of the Labour Day Monday, one young driver was not so lucky and instead of a near miss, he had a big hit – right into Gina Baruch’s yard.

The accident caused extensive damage to Gina’s swimming tuition business, Blue Water Babies, forcing her to cancel classes for the remainder of the season while repairs were completed.

Gina is amazed how the driver managed to get up enough speed to lose control of the vehicle in the 40 metres from the stop sign at Seabreeze Avenue to her yard.

A 22-year-old Brisbane man, allegedly with a blood alcohol content reading of 0.146, has been charged with drink driving and leaving the scene of an accident and will appear in court in Maroochy Magistrates Court on May 26.

Gina and neighbours Colin Orr and Ron Haywood, who have all witnessed accidents and near-misses in recent months, believe the hooning situation is getting worse.

They are worried someone will eventually be killed if action is not taken.

And with a kindy, childcare centre and a shopping centre nearby, they are concerned it could be a young family.

Residents have campaigned for local traffic calming and footpaths in Russell Street, where mothers with babies in prams have to walk on the road.

The group also wants more police patrols, particularly at night and on weekends when the hooning is at its worst.

Acting Senior Sergeant Mark Wright, of Coolum Police, said there were “quite a number of traffic operations planned” over the next month.

“We will certainly have more traffic units for Coolum out on the road,” he said

While campaigning in the recent local government election, successful division nine councillor Vivien Griffin promised to “persevere” until she got the funding “for a decent paved footpath on one side and money for the other safety concerns local residents have”.

“As a former Noosa Council Works chairman I know it’s only two or three days’ work for the paved path, and the cost is not high compared to the safety of the community, mums with prams, the elderly and for disability access, such as wheelchairs,” she said at the time.

“Those directly responsible for this appalling neglect are Maroochy’s sitting councillors.

“They can find substantial ratepayers’ money for glittery window dressing like the entry signs for Coolum, but they just aren’t interested in real community basics, like a paved footpath for the many mums with prams using Russell Street every day.

“The buck stops with council on this issue.”

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