A YOUNG couple with a passion for the Maroochy River were the catalysts for a widespread community campaign which has secured the future of a Coast favourite.
Braden Weir and Ellen Parry started the Don't Rock The Maroochy campaign after initial meetings where the prospect of a 200m rock wall was touted for the Maroochy River mouth.
The campaign snowballed quickly, as members of the community from all walks of life united in their fight to retain the sandbag groynes at Cotton Tree.
Victory was secured via a unanimous vote on the floor of the Nambour Council Chamber.
The vote sparked jubilation as an 11-month operation came to fruition.
Lawyers, accountants, property developers and environmentalists alike united in the bid to preserve the sandbags and retain the family-friendly atmosphere on the doorstep of the popular Cotton Tree Caravan Park.
Sunshine Coast Council officers had in January recommended the failing sandbags be replaced with rock groynes, while the prospect of a 200m rock sea wall was explored further.
Councillors opted against going ahead with the rock groyne replacement after a series of stories in The Daily and a significant outcry from the community.
A wide-scale community consultation process was instead undertaken by the council, which established a working committee and undertook five public feedback sessions.
An online survey garnered more than 800 responses and 89 per cent support of sandbag for sandbag replacement of any failing infrastructure, in a clear message to the council.
Local surf shop owner Bryan Weir was "elated” after yesterday's unanimous decision to stick with the sandbags.
The Don't Rock The Maroochy group mobilised, launching a series of videos from high-profile sporting and political identities supporting the campaign.
MotoGP star Chris Vermeulen, ex-Australian fast bowler Jeff Thomson and former Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan were among the celebrities to throw their weight behind it.
Mr Weir said their goal from the start was to conduct an organised, civil campaign, and he believed it had helped keep communication lines open with the council throughout the process.
"A lot of us were stepping out of our comfort zone to be honest,” he said.
"We knew it was important enough to do though to protect it for everyone else.
"We didn't want it scarred with rock that's for sure.”
Local councillor Jason O'Pray described it as "the best result ever”.
Sunshine Coast Environment Council life member and ex-Maroochy Shire councillor Jim Cash said it had been a huge win for both the community and Coast tourism, as the natural beauty of Cotton Tree was a real attraction.
He hoped the common ground found between the vastly different aspects of the community could be built upon for future issues.
Don't Rock The Maroochy spokesman Stuart Dell expressed "sincere thanks” to the community, Cr O'Pray and others for what he declared a great outcome for the river and future generations.