Groups rally to oppose Yaroomba development
OPPONENTS of the proposed Sekisui House resort and residential development have combined to ramp up community awareness of a project they argue was completely out of step with the planning scheme.
And calls are growing for Sunshine Coast Council to establish a panel, similar to that appointed to evaluate attitudes to the rockwalling of the Maroochy River mouth, to ensure best practice community consultation around any development application at odds with the planning scheme as well as any proposed planning scheme amendments.
Residents' groups OSCAR, Coolum Residents Association, Development Watch, Friends of Yaroomba and Coolum and North Shore Coast Care and the Sunshine Coast Environment Council, who represent a combined 6000 members, gathered at Point Arkwright today to ramp up their campaign to stop the Sekisui proposal in its current form.
SCEC campaigner Narelle McCarthy said the Sekisui House marketing campaign had been relentless but focused only on the resort hotel component of a proposal that would also include 1163 equivalent dwellings accommodating up to 3000 people.
"This is a gross over-development of a sensitive, beach side location," Ms McCarthy said.
"Sekisui knew the planning scheme provisions when it bought the side but has continued to ignore that."
She said the groups encouraged residents to focus on the full development proposal and to make submissions to Sunshine Coast Council before the December 7 deadline.
Ms McCarthy said it was encouraging the council's planning chair Christian Dickson had offered the groups the chance to present their position to the full council in the same manner afforded the developer.
Coolum and North Shore Coast Care spokesperson Leigh Warneminde said conservationists were opposed to all development that brought light to dark beaches saying it posed the same threat to endangered turtles as tree clearing had done to Australia's koala population.
"There is no such thing as turtle-friendly lighting," she said. "There is declining nesting space along the entire coast. If it doesn't stop it will be similar to the koala disaster.
OSCAR's Tony Gibson said the developer's consultation process had been skewed and would have been better handled by a panel similar to that set up for the river mouth which was headed by John Martin who was widely respected and and independent chair.
Ray Barber of Coolum Residents Association said the group had opposed every high-rise project foisted on the Maroochy River north shore and would continue to do so.
The community groups will hold a public information session at the Coolum Civic Centre on November 15 from 6.30 - 8pm. All members of the public are welcome to attend.
Yaroomba Beach project director Evan Aldridge says it is disappointing the Sunshine Coast Environment Council was supporting a 10-year approval that requires the whole site to be cleared.
In a statement, Mr Aldridge claimed the current proposal was "best practice infill development".
He said the Yaroomba Beach residential community would achieve the highest sustainability rating using "efficient design" and would not be seen from the "vantage points identified by (Sunshine Coast) Council".
Mr Aldridge claimed it was "simply untrue" that the development would affect turtles laying eggs on Yaroomba Beach.
"Yaroomba Beach will be seeking the highest possible accreditation as an ecotourism resort," he said.
"The fact is that we want to see more turtles nesting on Yaroomba Beach.
He said lighting design would be managed so that no light spills on to the beach.
FOOTNOTE: Based on Sekisui's own dwellings/population forecast, Yaroomba Beach will create:
- 851 residences at Yaroomba Beach, built over a staged development, Based on the 2016 ABS Census data this will house about 1500 people - these are broken down into;
- 753 residential apartments - up to 4 storeys
- 98 residential dwellings of 2 and 3 storeys
- The Yaroomba Beach preliminary approval application also specifies a Tourism precinct which includes the 220 room The Westin Coolum Resort and Spa and 148 Serviced Apartment - which are 30% of the total dwellings/rooms under the application.