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Yaroomba Beach. Dark deeds on the edge of paradise?

Do you live in a small beach-side community anywhere along the beautiful coastline of Australia?

If so, it might advantage you, and your community, to pay very careful attention to a court case that begins this week in the Planning and Environment Court on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

This week The People of Yaroomba Beach and surrounding areas will attempt to protect their residential beach-side communities by appealing against a decision by the Sunshine Coast Council to approve a high-rise development proposal. The proposal was put forward by Sekisui House, a major Japanese owned development company.

In the normal cut and thrust of life some might think that the case of Yaroomba Beach is nothing special, nothing newsworthy, and not deserving of a very acute and forensic analysis of the pathway to approval that this development so easily slipped along. If some think that, they would be wrong.

This case, yet again, highlights the ability of developmental power and money to impose inappropriate development on a decidedly unwilling populace.

The Yaroomba Beach community is protected from inappropriate high-rise development under the regional Town Plan/Planning Scheme which was negotiated, and agreed upon, by both the community and the Sunshine Coast Council. I reiterate, the Yaroomba Beach community is protected under that Town Plan.

However, flying in the face of concerted community opposition to the proposal (a record number of over 9,000 objections were lodged), and flying in the face of the protections afforded Yaroomba Beach under the Town Plan, the Sunshine Coast Council duly pressed the approve button. Hence the appeal court case that is now underway.

The Yaroomba Beach community is faced with the parlous financial situation of having to defend their community, their way of life, and their own Town Plan, from the actions of a Council that is supposed to protect and serve the residents of that local government area.

The Sunshine Coast Council is using ratepayer funds, including the ratepayer funds supplied by the residents of Yaroomba Beach, to oppose the appeal against the development in the Planning and Environment Court.

If even the softest of fingernails is used to scratch the surface of this case then the rankness of a very questionable stink starts to waft up. The Sekisui Yaroomba Beach case is preceded by the earlier Sekisui West End and Sekisui Ipswich cases.

Sekisui House has a long history in Australia, and a long history of gaining successful development approvals here in Queensland despite determined community opposition, and here are but a few media published snippets of that history. Your friend Google will unveil much more.

From: 4ZZZ.ORG.AU 2 Feb 2017
Australian Electoral Commission returns show QLD Labor declared $51,700 in donations from
Wingate Properties. … … , Director of Wingate Properties, has also been the Australian Executive Director for Sekisui House, the major developer on the West Village project.

In November, the development was conditionally approved after review by Trad as Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning. As State MP for South Brisbane, the development also sits within her electorate.

Coolum & North Shore News 12 September 2014
IF Mayor Mark Jamieson, Premier Campbell Newman and Japanese developer Sekisui House thought a deal to allow high rise development at Yaroomba could be stitched up behind closed doors, they are badly mistaken.

Sunshine Coast Daily 28 April 2015
Mayor Mark Jamieson, in explaining the council’s process over the past two years, said the then-LNP State Government would have approved of the council slipping a planning scheme amendment into the town plan back when Sekisui House first delivered its proposal.

Make of that what you will. Of course, those few snippets are but a small example of the published public domain material out there that highlights events around prior, and current, Sekisui House developments, and those snippets also highlight the input of local government representatives and state-level politicians here in Queensland into such developmental matters.

One hopes that history does not repeat itself. The Sekisui West End project was subject to appeal from the community, however the relevant State Minister ‘called-in’ and approved the project, and community objections along with their appeal were thrown out the window.

The reality is that the Yaroomba Beach community has to self-fund an appeal against an inappropriate high-rise development that was approved by a Council which ignored the high-rise restrictions in the regional Town Plan/Planning Scheme. The community stuck to the letter of the law, the agreed and negotiated letter of the law, and it is a pity that others did not do the same.

To keep up with news on this matter I highly recommend that you view the following two websites below. They represent the Voice of The People. Yaroomba Beach is well worth preserving.

Other beachside communities around Australia may one day face the unfair developmental predations that the Yaroomba Beach community has had to endure over the last five years or so. Those communities should keep a very careful eye on the outcome of this case.

It is important that the community wins.


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  1. Baby Jewels

    When are the next Council elections?

  2. Phil Pryor

    Behind the scenes, where we usually know nought, biggies with money, push, contacts, lures, promises, glowing predictions, etc, get their way, over any sense, alternative, status quo, decency, foresight, honesty, openness. The Caesaring and Hitlering always go on.

  3. Keith Davis

    Next election is Saturday 28 March 2020. Can’t wait!

  4. RomeoCharlie29

    Such approvals, and riding roughshod over locals, would have been expected from the Campbell govt. but the people chucked them out, expecting more from Labor. Well as we have seen with Adani and other sell-outs by the Paleshitty government, good luck with that. The people of Queensland, or those who are my friends, deserve better but as the election showed, ignorance and gullibility is the dominant paradigm in Qld. Good luck with your fight but it is a poor outlook when you can’t even rely on a Labor Government to protect you from the moneyed developers. Best hope for a win and an order of costs in your favour.

  5. Josephus

    Crony capitalism, international profits usually washed into off shore jurisdictions , following an example set eg by former PM Turnbull. Not democracy .

  6. Matters Not


    think the residents will be disappointed.

    Yep. Might have a victory or two but only in the short term. Then they will join the ranks of those who fought such battles at countless locations along the coast. Surfers Paradise (yes once had residential shacks), Broadbeach (yes was once nothing but sand/beach) and then there was Noosa (camping spots – here, there and everywhere).

    Why should the current residents have to share their dream location? Is it a modern form of Native Title? And one wonders what their reaction would be if such a claim was made by those who have such (traditional) rights?

  7. Josephus

    Indeed MN, the anger of local communities facing the despoliation of their slice of paradise for a mine, a tower block, a casino or whatever might just engender a tiny scrap of empathy for the first nations who have lost most of a continent, collectively. And now the police think it their right to carry guns in these small communities , reminders of the old extermination hunts of yore.

  8. New England Cocky

    This same disregard for the ratepayers wishes and best interests is not confined to property development. The Armidale Regional Council (ARC) assisted by the Gladly-back-flip-I-can LIarbral nat$ misgovernment has spent about $13 MILLION of NSW taxpayers revenue funding and building a water supply pipeline between Malpas Dam, the water supply dam drought-proofing Armidale since construction in 1968, so that Costas Guyra Tomato Farm may grow tomatoes for export and the profit of a foreign agri-corporation and their shareholders living overseas.

    Briefly, the Lazy Nasty People misgovernment has paid for treated water to be road transported to the Tomato Farm during the pipeline construction period at Taxpayer expense, while Guyra residents drawing water from Guyra reservoir pay reduced water rates and the Tomato Farm very reduced water rates, compared to Armidale ratepayers struggling to survive on Level 5 Water Restrictions.

    The nat$ pollies, Marshall, Barilaro, Barnyard Joke and aspiring political candidate ARC Mayor Dr Simply Simon all attended the opening of the pipeline to get their picture opportunity. It also suggests that the unelected political hacks who control pre-selection in the party may expect suitable large political donations in the future.

  9. Matters Not

    Josephus re:

    police think it their right to carry guns in these small communities

    Indeed. And supported on The Drum last night by ex-Commissioner Palmer (now resident on Queensland Gold Coast).

    While never a gun owner (never felt the need) I certainly understand where he’s coming from. Was part of a large organisation that ‘transferred’ relatively young men and women to far off locations where all the ‘locals’ were Aborigines. Locked these 2 year ‘tour-of-duty’ conscripts in a ‘compound’ when the sun went down for their own protection. Remember one instance when a new teacher was picked up from the airport by a policeman and driven to his new residence – only to be confronted by an inebriated youth full of piss and bad manners pointing a shotgun at his head.

    To cut a long story short. The young teacher caught the return flight to Cairns. Resigned on the spot. And then dined out on the tale that the Tax Office refused his claim for the dry cleaning bill – necessitated by his involuntary defecation.

    Yes – sometimes it’s essential that police be armed. Don’t think you’d get any officers there if it were otherwise.

  10. Garth John

    Anyone entering public life at a local government level and above MUST be subject to certified study course across a range of relevant and appropriate subject materials which they must achieve a high standard in… this is not a one off as it should then require currency at periodic intervals subject to the political position such a candidate holds

  11. Annette Spendlove

    I live on the Sunshine Coast and I’m struggling to find any sensible decisions made by Sunshine Coast Regional Council in the last 10 years (ie since i moved here).

    Planning seems to consist of just letting any developer do whatever he wants. The 2 new suburbs Aura and Harmony (ye gods! what sort of a name for a suburb is that!) are built on the tree pattern, with one or 2 roads for access and all other roads dividing from these. These new estates will house 30 000 families, who, in a time of crisis (um, maybe like the fires of last week), may/will find it impossible to evacuate theses new suburbs, particularly as the access roads pass through another suburb, of 30 000, which also only has 2 access roads. Can anyone see a problem here? (PS Aura is promoted as ‘city of colour’, however, according to a friend who is a building designer, the only colours allowed are cream, beige, off white, ivory…. A bit like Richie Benaud’s jacket, according to John Birmingham.)

    The Sekesui development is just another example of totally ignoring the Planning standards that they, the Council are supposed to uphold.

  12. Keith Davis

    Annette: I live there too. You make some very … very … good points about Aura and Harmony. The ‘pack them in’ approach to development on the Sunshine Coast is killing off the very reason that people/tourists bother to visit here in the first place – family friendly atmosphere, limited runs of high-rise, the ambience of village style coastal enclaves, reasonable (at the moment) lack of congestion. The current crop of developers and Council Reps seem determined to send all of those goods things the way of the Dodo.

    When you live in this region it is very difficult to single out just one issue for attention … there are so many! The proposed PFAS ocean dump, the Maroochydore mega CBD (lot of profit there for someone), the Sekisui proposal that the Turtles certainly did not vote for, and that very grand new international airport that we are getting whether we want it or not.

  13. Kaye Lee

    And you are not just dealing with the council as this story from a few years ago shows…..

    “A TURNBULL government backbencher asked a state planning minister if he could take the decision over a blocked $200 million apartment development out of council hands.

    Federal MP Stuart Robert asked then-Assistant Planning Reform Minister, Robert Molhoek, to examine his department’s powers to ‘call in’ the application in early 2013, on behalf of a developer who later contributed to Mr Robert’s campaign coffers.

    Mr Robert’s spokesman refused to answer questions regarding why he intervened, given the development was outside his electorate and parliamentary responsibilities.”

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