- Monday 27 April 2015
Sunshine Coast Council will not propose an amendment to its planning scheme in relation to a Yaroomba beachside site.
Council considered that on balance, the social and environmental impacts associated with the proposal put forward by the landowner outweighed the potential economic benefits.
The Council decision not to propose an amendment to the Planning Scheme is in line with the planning officers’ recommendation to today’s Special Meeting.
The reasons cited in the officer’s report to Council included the incompatibility of the proposed amendment with the existing character of the local area and that it did not achieve an optimal urban design outcome for the site.
The report considered by Council also noted that amending the scheme in the manner proposed would have adverse impacts on character and identity in the area and would also compromise the principles established in the Strategic Framework of the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014.
Given the location of the site, environmental impacts would also need to be managed sensitively, including the potential to impact on the known turtle nesting areas within the adjacent coastal dune reserve and beach.
The report noted that while “the need for more premium hotels to be established on the Sunshine Coast is strongly acknowledged, this need does not in itself justify setting aside the concerns about the impacts of the proposal and the planning policy conflicts for the site at Yaroomba”.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said that on balance, it was not considered appropriate to propose an amendment to the planning scheme on the basis of the material submitted and the range of other considerations that Council had appropriately taken into account.
“In reaching its decision today Council has, at all times, followed a process that considered the interests of the region, the landowner and the community,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“I don’t back away from my support for international hotels and resorts.
“Indeed if we are to capitalise on future tourism and business opportunities, that premium level of accommodation and facilities currently missing from our offering will need to be filled in various locations across the Coast.
“We have not seen a five-star or premium resort built since the late 1980s.
“This lack of investment has cost the Sunshine Coast community significantly over the last 30 years in lost job opportunities in construction and tourism.
“Council is however, overwhelmingly of the view that the scale of development that would be enabled by the proposed planning scheme amendment is not appropriate at the Yaroomba site.
“We have many other locations on the Sunshine Coast – particularly in our major commercial and tourism centres from Maroochydore through to Caloundra – where a development of this intensity and scale would be better suited and is supported by our planning scheme.
“And this is exactly the calibre and standard of development that we want to see in those areas.”
Mayor Jamieson emphasised that the region had a strong economic direction established through its Regional Economic Development Strategy and there were clear signs this was delivering results and encouraging a greater level of confidence in the region and its future.
“We do not need to look far to see real examples of Council’s support for driving investment and employment growth,” he said.
“Council is moving ahead with our new city centre at Maroochydore which will deliver more than 10,000 jobs into the region over the life of the project and billions in new investment.
“We have supported other major developments like the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital, the Kawana Health Hub and Palmview.
“Council will progress the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion to better connect business and our region with the rest of Australia and the world.
“This Council also approved more than $1 billion in building applications in 2014 alone - an increase of 35% over the approvals issued in 2013.
“And others are showing their faith and confidence in the region as seen recently with Youi’s announcement to establish their global headquarters at Sippy Downs.”
Mayor Jamieson acknowledged that this matter had generated a very spirited community debate which at times, had left a lot to be desired.
“The landowner and the community need to be treated with respect and dignity in dealing with matters of this scale and importance,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“It is my hope that all parties can now work through a genuine dialogue to find the best solution for this site and for the Sunshine Coast.”