Where is it?
The site that Sekisui House (SH) owns and is proposing to build on is the beach side of David Low Way, opposite the Palmer Coolum Resort.
Pre-1995: The site was part of the Hyatt golf course.
1995: Lend Lease applied to redevelop the site. Thousands of locals opposed this change.
1997: Council approved development on the eastern side of David Low Way of:
- 5 residential “villages”and a beach club/residential precinct, permitting a maximum of 450 dwellings;
- Dwelling heights in the villages limited to two and three storeys; and
- the beach club/residential precinct limited to four storeys.
2010: Sekisui House (SH) bought the site (with the exception of one parcel) and three of the villages have or are being developed in accordance with the approved plans (Whitehaven, Belle Mare and Cala Lune). In October 2014 SH bought the remaining parcel of land from the Palmer Coolum Resort.
2012: Following years of consultation the Jamieson Council released the draft Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme for comment. Over 2000 submissions were received including comprehensive submissions from many community groups. Council considered the submissions and possible changes to the Planning Scheme (the plan) during 2013.
Unlike earlier planning schemes the new plan structure, imposed by the State Government, requires the strategic framework to take precedence over the local plans where there is a conflict. The strategic framework describes the character of the Coast and acknowledges the different character of each of the communities on the Coast.
Oct 2013: First news of SH Development proposal from media reports following a visit to Japan by the Premier in October 2013, were:
- A high rise hotel up to 12 storeys
- 2300 apartments, including high rise
- 300 townhouses
- Over 3000sqm of retail and entertainment space.
May 2014: Council’s new Planning Scheme commenced.
August 2014: The Mayor indicated his support for the SH Proposal. SH indicated that a development application would not be lodged til late 2015. Cr O’Pray went public with his concerns about the development proposal and disclosed that Council had been meeting, behind closed doors, with SH.
September 2014: It became public that Council intended to make amendments to the Strategic Framework of the planning scheme to facilitate the SH proposed development. Changes to the strategic framework affect the whole Coast not just Yaroomba.
- The Premier said “a four storey height limit at Yaroomba is ridiculous”;
- Development Watch (DW) photoshoot attracts hundreds. Campaign to flood councillors, Premier and state members with letters, texts and emails begins.
September 2014: Council’s “Confidential” meeting to discuss the plan amendments deferred until legal and technical issues were resolved. Mayor asks SH to consult with the community. Meeting tentatively rescheduled for December 2014.
October 2014: SH released concept plans for 17 high rise towers on the beachfront including a five star hotel, 1470 apartments and 3000sqm retail space. SH claims that the high rise won’t be visible from the beach. DW uses helium balloons to demonstrate that this is not true.
OSCAR released the results of a ReachTel poll showing 73% of respondents across the Coast opposed or strongly opposed any increase to the permitted height and density of property developments in their neighbourhood.
November 2014: Mayor deferred Council meeting set for 1 December to a yet unnamed date.
- DW organised rally – around 2000 attend.
December 2014: Cr Dickson revealed the road access issue has yet to be resolved with the three existing bodies corporate on the site.
January 2015: State election called. SH development proposal identified as one of two key issues in Maroochydore. All four Maroochydore candidates indicate their opposition to the Sekisui proposed development.
Major issues with the development proposal:
- Totally out of character in the area
- Inappropriate height
- Intensity of the development – more than three times the dwellings than permitted across the whole site
- Traffic issues
- Environment issues, including turtle nesting
- Negative impact on tourism
- Visual amenity
- Not a resort but a residential complex
Major issues with the process:
- Secrecy and lack of transparency by Council
- “Concept” only information from Sekisui, questionably accurate
- Using the planning scheme amendment process rather than requiring SH to submit a Development Application (DA). The consequences of this are:
- changes to the Strategic Framework have implications across the Coast;
- following the amendments, the DA from SH will not be subject to public scrutiny as it will comply with the planning scheme and the community will not have any opportunity to comment on the detail of the proposal; and
- although the community will be given an opportunity to comment on the amendments, Council and the State will have agreed to them and there is little likelihood of Council’s proposed amendments not proceeding.