Those looking to build their dream home on a rural block of land have a glimmer of hope with the Sunshine Coast Council looking to free up more hinterland parcels for low density development in the near future.
The council is seeking to change the zoning of specific blocks at Palmview, Yandina, Mapleton, Montville, Maroochy River, Palmwoods, Beerwah and Glass House Mountains through proposed planning scheme amendments.
A council spokesperson says the move is in response to changes to the urban footprint outlined in the State Government’s South East Queensland (SEQ) Regional Plan 2017 and to better reflect existing or desired future land uses.
“Through the SEQ Regional Plan, the State Government has guided how council will accommodate our population, which will reach over 500,000 by 2041,” the spokesman says.
“It is estimated that 200,000 new residents are coming to the Sunshine Coast over the next 20 years and council is making a very serious commitment to undertake substantial planning to accommodate the increased population growth.”
The proposed amendments will be open for public consultation until July 6 and the council will consider submissions to decide whether or not to proceed.
“If council decides to proceed with the proposed amendment, approval will then be sought from the Planning Minister for council to adopt the proposed amendment, therefore it is difficult to provide a definitive timeframe for adoption of the proposed amendment at this time,” the spokesman says.
Respected hinterland real estate agent Jess Luthje of Maleny Realty says while freeing up land outside of the larger masterplanned developments will help to ease demand, she believes this move must also include investment to upgrade infrastructure to cope with the increase in population this will bring to these towns.
She says minimum block sizes should be in keeping with the rural areas rather than mimicking the more urban developments of the Sunshine Coast, or the block will lose their point of difference that comes with a more rural lifestyle.
University of the Sunshine Coast senior lecturer or urban design Dr Nicholas Stevens says what we do now will have a legacy impact for generations.
“It’s a really exciting time for the Sunshine Coast but we are at this tipping point where we are growing up and planning for the future,” he says.
“With all this development pressure, we need to be thinking about how we maintain what makes the Sunshine Coast special, and a lot of planning goes into that kind of context-sensitive development.”
“It’s not just about giving people a roof over their heads, it’s about the whole range of services, the schools, medical centres and parks – the public spaces we use every day.
“The next big challenge is to look at areas we already have and use them better, like Nicklin Way, which is a premium area close to everything that is underutilised.
“If we continue to only develop on the fringes, then we create a whole range of other challenges.”
To find out more about the council’s proposed planning scheme amendments, visit sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au and search for Proposed Planning Scheme Amendments currently on Public Consultation.