Sekisui says community supports new Yaroomba plan

Tue, 9th May 2017
PREVIEW

It’s onward and upward for Sekisui House as it lodges its second development application. 

Sekisui House has lodged a second development application with the Sunshine Coast Council in a bid to bring its vision for a new coastal village with lakeside parkland, shops, cafes and the Coast’s first five-star hotel to life.

Senior development manager Evan Aldridge says the plan for the Yaroomba Beach site is the outcome of 18 months of design and consultation that he says received overwhelming community support when the plans were released to the public in late 2016.

“We received 640 written submissions on our proposal and 66 per cent, or two out of three people, are in support of this proposal.

“We cannot lose the opportunity to bring The Westin here to deliver the first five-star resort and conference centre on the Sunshine Coast in 30 years,” he says.

A Material Change of Use was lodged for the site in 2007 and a preliminary approval for the master plan enables up to 329 dwellings across the site and a maximum building height of four storeys, or 16 metres. 

A development application lodged by Sekisui House in 2015 featured a 10-storey hotel tower and was rejected by the Sunshine Coast Council as it was outside the town plan.

Aldridge says the revised plan has a maximum height of seven storeys in one of the Westin towers and that sophisticated geographic information systems modelling shows the tallest building will not be visible from the beach, David Low Way or above the treeline if viewed from Mount Coolum.

“It is not just going to be a tourism precinct with jobs for locals, it brings the community into the village heart, to share the hotel facilities for special occasions, as they did at the old Hyatt Coolum,” he says.

“This is a better plan, and the best plan for this important site.”

A council spokesperson confirms they have received an application for the first stage of the proposed development as well as an application for preliminary approval of the master plan for the entire site under the current planning scheme.

Development Watch president Lyn Saxton continues to have concerns about building height and density on the site.

“Development Watch, alongside the Coolum/Yaroomba community fought an application to override the Planning Scheme many years back when Lend Lease sought approval for five and six storeys on this same site,” she says.

“The council, despite 3800 objections, approved two, three and four storeys. When the 2014 Planning Scheme was put out for community consultation, the council encouraged involvement by stating residents need to know what can happen next door or down the road from them and also stated ‘to protect the predominantly low rise character and amenity of the Sunshine Coast, the planning scheme has generally retained the maximum height requirements of buildings and structures across the region’. 

“Development Watch, a volunteer community group, involved itself 100 per cent in the process and particularly looked at this site to ensure council had placed the right height limit on the site.  We agreed with the 8.5-metre height limit that council had placed on the site [in the 2014 Planning Scheme].”

Saxton says a compromise for the site can include a six-star world’s best practice low rise eco resort similar to Element on Byron.  

“There are no world class eco resorts on the Sunshine Coast and it would be fantastic for tourism,” she says.

“The [Sekisui House] proposal is really just one seven-storey hotel surrounded by residential development, the latter being Sekisui’s forte. Council should reject the application. There should not be rules for residents and rules for developers. There is very little benefit to the Sunshine Coast.”