Consultation is now open

Have your say by Sunday, 16 June 2024.

Overview

Project Overview

A sky filled with stars – it’s part of what makes our Sunshine Coast so special!

Our community values the protection of our natural assets and retaining the distinct character and lifestyle of our region. This project aims to recognise, protect and celebrate our dark skies as a natural asset contributing to the liveability of our region. The protection of our dark skies is also important for:

  • Our health and wellbeing
  • Wildlife that move and feed at night
  • Helping to reduce our carbon emissions
  • Supporting local businesses.

A Dark Sky Reserve in the Sunshine Coast hinterland through the International Dark Sky Places Program is being considered by Council and we are seeking your feedback on the proposal.

Girl looking through telescope at night sky

Image credit: Dr Ken Wishaw

Community Engagement

Council invites you to have your say between Monday, 20 May and 5pm Sunday, 16 June 2024. Feedback will help Council to determine whether to pursue a formal application under the International Dark Sky Places Program.

Have your say:

  • Complete the online survey
  • Attend a community drop-in session
  • Share a photo of the night sky on the Sunshine Coast

If you would like to remain updated on this proposal, please follow the project (Select +Follow at the top of the page).

Background

Light pollution in our region is expected to increase as our population grows.

To help protect our precious dark skies, Sunshine Coast Council is seeking to work with the community to establish a Dark Sky Reserve.

A Dark Sky Reserve is one of the five designation types offered under the International Dark Sky Places Program which seeks to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting policies and public education.

Did you know about 80 per cent of the world’s population lives under ‘skyglow’, with large amounts of light pollution that makes it hard to see stars at night?

Light pollution can impact on the quality of our night skies and the amount of light pollution on the Sunshine Coast could be expected to increase across the next 20 years and beyond as our population increases.

Reducing light pollution can deliver many benefits to the community including economic, health and wellbeing, emissions reduction and wildlife friendly habitat outcomes.

We are lucky here on the Sunshine Coast to have quality night skies in a number of areas across the region and Council is looking at ways to continue to preserve this amazing asset.

By establishing a Dark Sky Reserve, we can preserve our night skies for future generations to enjoy.

The proposed Dark Sky Reserve area is 873km2 in size and encompass the Mary River catchment and adjoining State protected areas within the Sunshine Coast local government area. It includes townships such as Maleny, Mapleton, Montville, Witta, Flaxton and Conondale.

  • Approximately 40% of this area is public land including many State Protected Areas such as National Parks.
  • The area has a population of close to 15,000 residents.

There are two established observatories within the proposed area:

  1. The Mapleton Observatory located at Mapleton School.
  2. Maleny Observatory – designation observatory in 2021 by the Astronomical Society of Australia

Night sky quality readings indicate the proposed area has the attributes of a Dark Sky Reserve.

View the Proposed Dark Sky Reserve Area here.

Following preliminary investigations, the Dark Sky Reserve Project is in Phase 2 – Phased community engagement and technical documentation. As part of this phase we are seeking community feedback on the proposal before determining whether to pursue a formal application under the International Dark Sky Places Program.

Applying for a Dark Sky Reserve designation includes the submission of a comprehensive application to Dark Sky International for consideration.

Establishing a Dark Sky Reserve would involve:

  • Improving public lighting such as streetlights
  • Developing dark sky friendly lighting standards
  • Demonstrating our communities care about our dark skies and want to preserve them for the future.

There will be no mandate to change private lighting at your existing home or business within the Reserve or to switch off lights. Instead, we encourage everyone to take what steps they can to reduce light pollution while also saving on power bills and helping protect our hinterland character and landscape.

Find out more

Check out the resources in the document library.

Night Sky at Curramore

Image credit: Dr Ken Wishaw

Timeline

  • Timeline item 1 - complete

    2021-2023: Phase 1 - Investigations

  • Timeline item 2 - active

    2023/2024: Phase 2 - Phased community engagement and technical documentation

  • Timeline item 3 - incomplete

    2024/2025: Phase 3 - Progress formal application

    Subject to community consultation outcomes and Council support

Contact Us

Have questions or want to learn more about a project, contact us below:

Name Environment and Sustainability Policy Branch
Phone (07) 5475 7272
Email els@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au
In writing

Environment and Sustainability Policy Branch

Attn: Dark Sky Reserve Project Team

Locked Bag 72

Sunshine Coast Mail Centre QLD 4560

Have your Say

Have your say

Council invites you to have your say on the proposal between Monday, 20 May and 5pm Sunday, 16 June 2024:

  • Complete the online survey
  • Attend a community drop-in session.

Community Drop-In Sessions

Drop-in to chat in person with a member of the project team.

Tuesday, 28 May 2024 (10am-12pm)

Maleny Library, 5 Coral St, Maleny

Wednesday, 29 May 2024 (10am-12pm)

Kenilworth Library, 4A Elizabeth St, Kenilworth

Wednesday, 29 May 2024 (2pm-4pm)

Mapleton Library, Obi Obi Road, opposite Mapleton Pharmacy

Thursday, 30 May 2024 (10am-12pm)

Coolum Library, 6 Park St, Coolum Beach

Tuesday, 4 June 2024 (10am-12pm)

Caloundra Library, 8 Omrah Ave, Caloundra

Thursday, 6 June 2024 (10am-12pm)

Maroochydore Library, 44 Sixth Ave, Maroochydore

Share

Council invites you to share a photo of the night sky on the Sunshine Coast:

  • Share a photo of the night sky on the Sunshine Coast
  • Include a short story about why you believe the night sky should be preserved on the Sunshine Coast; and
  • Include where the photo was taken and a date of your photo.