PLANS: Recently revised plans have been submitted for the final stage of Sunshine Cove.
PLANS: Recently revised plans have been submitted for the final stage of Sunshine Cove.

Critical vote: Final stage of $800m project to be decided

The final stage of an $800 million development is hoped to progress after recent revisions which were anticipated to head off a recommendation to refuse its approval.

Sunshine Coast Council officers had recommended councillors refuse an application to develop the remaining 7.5ha of land at Sunshine Cove in Maroochydore at Thursday's ordinary meeting in Caloundra.

Developers Felix Hill Pty Ltd, as trustee for The Sunshine Unit Trust which trades as Chardan Development Group, had sought to create 101 lots, new parks and a road network in the tract of vacant land on the northern side of the main lake, opposite Meridien Dr and alongside Kowree Cres.

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A preliminary approval had been in place since 2004, and 29 lakefront lots had already been approved in April, as part of the estate's final phase.

A planned reconfiguration of the site had triggered an impact-assessable variation request, which went out to public consultation late last year.

The consultation was triggered in part by plans to alter existing vegetation and conservation zones, and the plans assessed allowed for multiple dwelling units, a retirement village, residential care facilities and childcare, as well as a height increase to three storeys for all development, except within 10m of established residential areas, which would be two storeys.

PLANS: Recently revised plans have been submitted for the final stage of Sunshine Cove.
PLANS: Recently revised plans have been submitted for the final stage of Sunshine Cove.

Council officers have recommended a refusal of the application this week, partly because they considered the plans to conflict with desired environmental outcomes for the site, the potential to increase density and issues with open space designations, among other reasons.

But planning consultants acting on behalf of the developers said a recently revised masterplan of the final stage addressed many of the concerns raised during the previous plan assessment.

A draft amended layout was provided to council in July, and updated plans were provided on October 2, showing a reduction in scale of the proposal.

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Three-storey height limits were set to be restricted to lakefront, single-lot homes, with units, retirement village or residential care facilities no longer proposed and the consultants advised the new proposal was a reduction of 70 dwellings from the previous plan.

The previously proposed Stage 4 was due to become a community park/urban forest, and developers had also pledged to deliver a new amenities block at Bedarra Park.

An outdoor gym, multi-function court, community garden and ping pong table had all been proposed as part of the new 4250sq m public park.

The changes were set to cost about $2 million to deliver, without accounting for the loss of yield and land value of the site set to become a park under the latest iteration of plans.

Innovative Planning Solutions director James Brownsworth said he believed a lot of the changes in the latest plans would address the concerns raised by council officers.

He said his clients were in "desperate need of land" as demand for property within the estate continued to rise.

Mr Brownsworth said he hoped councillors would see the value to the community of what was being offered, with public access to the park to be provided to existing residents adjoining the development.

PLANS: Recently revised plans have been submitted for the final stage of Sunshine Cove.
PLANS: Recently revised plans have been submitted for the final stage of Sunshine Cove.

He said "extensive consultation" had been carried out, and the feedback from neighbouring residents was that they had concerns about future issues with some trees in the existing vegetation zone with regard to bushfire risk, tree fall or failure and leaf litter.

Mr Brownsworth said as part of the new plans proposed the developer would remove the existing vegetation in question and revegetate the zone with "more appropriate species and sizes" to reduce the risk of tree failure to existing residents neighbouring the development.

"All of the issues that have been raised and the vast majority raised in council officer's report have been addressed by the latest plans," Mr Brownsworth said.

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He hoped an alternate motion could be put forward on Thursday which enabled the most recent plans to progress, as he believed it would help create the "best stage of Sunshine Cove to-date", and deliver a less-intense development with greater community benefits.

Mr Brownsworth said demand was so strong the developers "probably wouldn't even stage it", based on previous experience within the estate.

The council officer's report referred to Voluntary Infrastructure Agreements in place, and the need to negotiate, if approved, to ensure any relevant obligations carried over for the final stage.

Council was set to receive about $1.63 million worth of infrastructure charges should a reconfiguration to 101 lots be approved.

It was understood the final decision on what features to include in the proposed new park would be based on community feedback, should the new plans receive the go-ahead from council this week.

The first stage of Chardan's 35ha Sunshine Cove development kicked off in 2006.