by Peter Gardiner
A RARE $2.2 million piece of Noosa River frontage formerly owned by Ben Johns and his family is now in public hands ready to be rehabilitated.
Councillor Brian Stockwell has declared former private camp ground Johns Landing, which was a cheap stay for many people in danger of homelessness, is now owned by the community.
"Another 49 ha has been added to public land along the river," Cr Stockwell posted.
A previously confidential report to council released last week said: "It has high environmental values including 440m of frontage to the Noosa River."
Cr Stockwell said the purchase price was well short of the $10 million some members of the public had posted on Facebook with"70% of the cost borne by the environment levy.
"The site will become a nature refuge and is now closed for rehabilitation,' he said.
"Options such as day use areas and/or camp ground will be considered in the future once rehabilitation is completed.
"Perhaps the biggest outcome was the rehousing of every family with children previously living on the site in the local area. Children now have a roof over their head and are still living in proximity to their previous schools," he said.
A condition of the sale included granting Mr Johns and immediate family access to the two large sheds and surrounding area for non-residential purposes for the remainder of Ben Johns life or five years, whichever is the longer.
Also prior to settlement the Gagaju Bush Camp which operated from the site offering mostly backpackers accommodation, was forced to close.