The formidable fight against over-development

ACTIVIST Vivien Griffin, president of the Sunshine Coast Environment Council and a leading light of Zero Emissions Noosa, first formed a formidable alliance with fellow councillor Heather Melrose on Noosa Council back in the 1990s.

Under the leadership of Mayor Noel Playford, it was a crucial time for Noosa in setting its planning course that would buck the open-ended building development embraced by every other south-east Queensland council.

"That was my apprenticeship, I couldn't have had better mentors," Ms Griffin said. The line in the sand for Noosa Council, which would eventually send the development lobby into a lather with its "population cap" planning tactic, was the refusal of the Marcus Beach high dune development.

Cr Griffin and Cr Melrose were up for the fight with developer TM Burke and helped organise a huge public protest, which saw thousands of locals and other Noosa lovers bused in to line the David Low Way to protest.

The aim was to stop wall-to-wall development, and it worked thanks to the "High Noon and the High Dune'' rallying call coined by Ms Griffin.

"That's the name I dreamed up for it, High Noon for the High Dune - I'm not great at that stuff, but that one I liked,'' she said.

"That was one of the really great partnerships between the council and the community and (town) planner Raul Weychardt.

"He came up with the development control plan for the Marcus High Dunes and it was a development control plan that said no development, which was just revolutionary at the time."

She said Mr Weychardt was one of the unsung heroes who helped the council defend its decisions with the adoption of strong planning processes.

Ms Griffin was a Brisbane-based Queensland Nurses Union industrial officer for about 10 years and was first elected to Noosa Council in 1994.

She said her time as a rep for the nurses was one of great progress that saw them gaining university qualifications and decent wages.

"It was a great time - what it taught me was to be strategic in the way you sought progressive change ... do your homework," she said.

Ms Griffin later lost a mayoral challenge in Noosa to Cr Bob Abbot, but later made a successful comeback as a councillor and helped vote in new sustainable transport initiatives like the free holiday buses and cycle ways.

"I was really proud of some of the things we brought in," she said.

And when the Labor Government enforced the council amalgamations, she joined Big Bob and former Noosa councillor Russell Green in the new Sunshine Coast Regional Council hot seat, as three councils tried to come together.

"We introduced the transport levy, it was the time we got the council to be looking at light rail, which they're still taking forward.

"We approved the solar farm (at Valdora)."

After retiring in 2012, Ms Griffin said she needed a challenge to stimulate her intellectually and looked at the hard sell of climate change.

One of her private pursuits was to help with her Tin Can Bay-based sister's English school, started from scratch with her husband in Cambodia.

And then came her ZEN moment as she saw Noosa Council's partnerships with the national Beyond Zero Emissions in 2016.

"It's the next role for Noosa."