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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