Discussions open over Sekisui’s Yaroomba development site

The Coolum Civic Centre was filled with residents during a community information session for an earlier Sekisui House proposal for its 19ha Yaroomba site. Photo: Stuart Cumming / Sunshine Coast Daily
The Coolum Civic Centre was filled with residents during a community information session for an earlier Sekisui House proposal for its 19ha Yaroomba site. Photo: Stuart Cumming / Sunshine Coast Daily Stuart Cumming

ONLY one councillor attended Tuesday's opening forum discussion organised by Sekisui House ahead of the developer's plans to submit a proposal for its troubled Yaroomba land holding.

The other five invited to the session were locked in budget discussions all day with only rookie John Connelly making a one-hour appearance at the session which explored economic issues and opportunities for tourism.

On Monday a Sunshine Coast Council spokesperson said the local authority was not associated with the design or management of the community consultation program by Sekisui House. 

"It is Council's understanding Sekisui House is undertaking community consultation in order to inform their future planning of their Yaroomba beachside site," the spokesperson said.

"There has been no indication of Sekisui House's timeframes or intentions beyond the current consultation activities."

Sunshine Coast Business Council chair Sandy Zubrinich said she had been invited to set the economic context which she had done speaking to a global, national and local level.

She said the forum worked well in ensuring those present understood the economic climate.

"The business council is independent of politics," Ms Zubrinich said. "We're there as advocates for the economy and the business community.

"There is not often an opportunity for an investor to drop $1bn into the region. All parties should give due consideration to all issues."

Ms Zubrinich said most major projects on the drawing board were being driven by government and it would good to see more private sector involvement.

"The national economy is struggling. It's a fragile economic environment," she said.

"We're in uncharted waters with accumulated debt at record levels and the cash rate at an all time low."

Sunshine Coast Environment Council campaigner Narelle McCarthy said much of the higher order discussion had already been collated in the planning scheme and had resulted in designated enterprise zones.

She said SCEC did not endorse the process but would attend the second session now scheduled for May 24 at the Yaroomba sales office.

"The planning scheme is the governing document for the site," Ms McCarthy said.

OSCAR president Ian Christesen said a diversity of opinion existed among participants.

"Peter Cumming (the facilitator) said in his 40 years experience better development outcomes could be achieved with the community involved," Mr Christesen said.

"OSCAR's position is unchanged. The starting point is the existing Town Plan for the site. It is not there to be ignored.

"Everyone needs to be honest in the process which is about trade-offs in the planning scheme for a five-star hotel."

Ahead of the meeting Sekisui House senior development manager Evan Aldridge said the discussion groups were part of the company's proactive community engagement process and met recommendations from the council and State government for involving the regional community in progressing plans for the site.

"We are looking forward to the discussion groups to pro-actively gather input from local residents, community and business leaders and organisations about realising the site's potential for the region," Mr Aldridge said.

Topics:  development evan aldridge meeting oscar scec sekisui house sunshine coast business council yaroomba

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