News items

BUT, I THOUGHT WE WERE RICH??

We are told, especially with the current election fever, that our council is financially sound, even prospering.

So where’s all the money coming from, and where is it going?

All this monetary prosperity comes from our rates. We have the second highest rate increase in SEQ – we pay higher rates than the Gold Coast and Brisbane!!

Where’s it going? That’s the tricky bit – financial transparency is a real problem when we have a council wearing two hats – that of a local government collecting rate revenue to provide services, and that of a developer of our CBD, our Airport, the Under Sea Cable among other “game changing” projects.

These projects have required that we go into debt, and who services the debt?

Ratepayers do.

We ‘hope’ these deals are fiscally sound, because if they go belly up our rates go up with them.

We need to know if we are getting value for our rates but these projects are ‘commercial in confidence’ – there goes the transparency and accountability with public purse expenditure.

Residents of the Maroochy Canals contacted me late last year and I’ve been working with them on the evident neglect of their artificial waterway.

Given my experience with the Twin Waters canal system, and the proposal to join another one to our existing canal – I learned a lot from our brains trust and endless reading about constructed waterbodies, engineering structures, tidal prism, erosion, water quality and all matters associated with these problematic developments.

Did you know canal estates are banned in other states?

The good people of Maroochy Canals have gone about their busy lives paying rates and taxes expecting that in turn this revenue in directed back to on the ground services.

Not so.

Budgets have been slashed under the new leadership in an ever decreasing reduction in basic maintenance.

Continued lobbying and requests for budget reports fell on deaf ears year after year. Once these people data mined with the help of a barrister paid for at their own expense, they were finally able to see the budgets.

Looking at the budgets and actual expenditure for canals and waterways is revealing:

From the budgets

2010/11 waterways $4.649 milliion
2011/12 waterways $5.720 milliion
2012/13 for coast and canals $1.218 million
2013/14 for coast and canals $1.949 million
2014/15 for coast and canals $2.070 million

In 2014 in the 10 year projections it was estimated at over $2 million per annum.

The actual expenditure is recorded in the annual reports from 2013 year after the new council is approx one quarter of the budget in the 2013 and 2014 years

2010/11 waterways $3,108 milliion
2011/12 waterways $5.107 milliion
2012/13 for coast and canals $439,000
2013/14 for coast and canals $531,000
2014/15 for coast and canals $1.546million

OBSERVE ..

$ 5 million 2011/12

THEN A DRASTIC CUT TO ..

$439k 2012/13

This coincided with the new council.

Fancy slashing the budgets for ALL our constructed Waterbodies on the Sunshine Coast, some of which are in serious need of repair, and then pushing hard for yet another one at Twin Waters West at the same time?. I thought we can’t afford the ones we’ve already got given the budget cuts.

A corporate restructure saw our local government begin to operate like big business – cutting corners and clawing back profits, slashing on the ground service budgets, escalating fees, permits, licensing and fines.

User pays – I thought we did pay??

Hmmmmmm, unfortunately, we don’t all live in a corporation and now there is a lot of discord in our communities as a result.

WE NEED TO GET BACK TO BASICS, STOP TREATING PEOPLE LIKE WORKER ANT CASH COWS, AND THEN LOOK AT GAME CHANGERS ONCE THAT IS TAKEN CARE OF.

BECAUSE ITS CHANGED OUR LIVEABILITY, OUR DEMOCRATIC INCLUSION AND THE RIGHT TO HAVE OUR RATES SPENT ON WHAT MATTERS TO US AND OUR DAILY LIVES.

From the Sunshine Coast Daily – thanks Matty Holdsworth

“Division 8 council candidate Kathryn Hyman said she had been in contact with the frustrated residents for months.

The budget has been slashed and these people trying to get their canal systems fixed are getting nowhere,” Ms Hyman said.

“Lots of people have raised issues over their neglected waterways.

“Why is council actively pushing the Twin Waters West canals, which is reliant on mechanical pumping, when it can’t afford to maintain this one?”

“ANGRY residents whose “paradise” has slowly deteriorated have questioned how Sunshine Coast Council is spending their money to maintain their waterway system.

Maroochy Waters residents, who pay a higher quarterly rate, claim their canals have not been regularly maintained for “years”.

They say it has led to a number of issues including exposed drains, banks eroded and boat ramps cracking.

“Questions were put to council regarding the above figures and to exactly how much money was being spent on maintaining the Maroochy Waters canals.

However council was unable to provide comment yesterday.”

“In October fellow resident Robert Franks also questioned where the money was being spent.

“Council I feel is obliged to look more closely at the financial aspects and you have to wonder where those funds have been used, elsewhere you would think,” Mr Franks said.”

Full article here (paywall applies):

https://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/…/im-ashamed…/3959688/

Image may contain: outdoor and water, possible text that says 'Cracked boat ramps as result of a lack of dredging at Maroochy Waters. Photo: Warren Lynam'

THANK YOU TO COOLUM BUSINESS & TOURISM

I enjoyed meeting the committee and members at the recent Coolum Business & Tourism candidate forum which was a well run and well attended event.

In my comments at the forum I noted that 15,000 small to medium businesses had closed their doors in the last 4 years. I also noted small business entries and exits with 1-4 employees for 2018-2019 saw almost 1500 business entries and almost 1000 exits – our bread and butter is thinly spread.

As this was an informed audience interested in business and tourism related ventures, I spoke to what I perceived as a gap in our market offerings.

I suggested we band the wagons around and protect our caravan parks and camping grounds, and our 4 star offerings. We are known as a ‘family flop’ destination and these families are the bread and butter of our tourism hot spots.

I’m part of a family, and when we holiday we spend a lot of our money in the immediate vicinity of our accommodation, and we spend a small fortune in local business on fish and chips, ice creams, bread and pastries from the local bakery, sun cream and flip flops from the local chemists. All money well spent.

People I speak to are concerned about a looming recession, the property market, and global externalities that impact businesses everywhere. We are currently seeing ‘a sea of red’ in global financial markets owing to Corona for example.

During the GFC there were two industries not impacted by this type of economic disarray – luxury and weddings.

We have not secured these niche markets here on the Sunshine Coast, yet we have all the offerings on a platter.

WEDDINGS

We need to package ourselves up as a global wedding destination – the average Australian wedding is $50,000, and we should want brides and grooms and their families to spend it here. We have mountains and rivers, lakes and open spaces, waterfalls, coastlines and magnificent locations such as Point Perry – currently there is no streamlining or coordination with venues, planners and other stakeholders. When two people get married, two families get married and travel from all corners to celebrate and to holiday – it’s a no brainer – let’s give them a reason to do it here!

LUXURY

We do not have any 5 star offerings on the Sunshine Coast. This clientele will fly into our SC rate payer funded airport and go straight to the Noosa Shire.

But even Noosa has missed the mark on a high end 6 star clientele. Do we know where Justin Bieber stayed when he was here? Richard Branson’s island in Noosa – because there is simply no offering for this market.

The Sunshine Coast and Division 8 has potential for spectacular 6 star eco-luxe locations and offerings. Development Watch, in response to Sekisui’s proposal produced an ‘alternate use’ for the site based on Elements of Byron Bay, a 5 star eco-luxe resort – it made the Forbes list top 50 hotels in the world, the only one in Australia. This has put Byron Bay on the world stage to capture this market that can withstand economic turbulence.

This type of low impact development would be supported by the community, the planning scheme and this niche market gap.

I agree that an intensive urban development and a 4 star Westin does not do that site, or our region justice.

WELLNESS & SLOW FOOD

Particularly ‘slow and small luxury’ – this falls in line with the billion dollar and growing ‘wellness & organics’ industry.

We are seeing gin and whiskey distilleries popping up in the hinterland, craft breweries, our gorgeous cheese makers, Mooloolaba prawns, cooking schools – packaged tours to these venues is in order, showcasing our slow and artisan produce should be high on the list of packaging up all that we have to offer visitors and consequently supports our airport freight and aviation industry.

Some argue suits spend more than board shorts – even if that is true, money in the local economy, wherever it comes from, should be invited and nurtured.

PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR DECADES “WE DON’T WANT THE GOLD COAST HERE” – I’M SUGGESTING WE CAN DO “BETTER THAN THE GOLD COAST HERE”.

THE HUMAN ELEMENT – RATE PAYERS

Some do say ‘you bought near an airport, you should expect noise’.

Yup.

But since people bought, the proposed runway alignment has changed TWICE.

As I’d said previously, we found $43 million out of nowhere to deal with PFAS on site, after we’d paid substantially for an EIS process with these gross omissions. Yet we can’t find one red cent to compensate those who’s home will be rendered uninhabitable, continue to pay their mortgage, and fund a class action and litigation through the courts.

IT BEGS THE QUESTION: WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE?

“THE opening of the new Sunshine Coast Airport runway in May will ultimately render 12 homes unliveable, according to a community organisation whose members will bear part of the impact.

Mudjimba Residents Association president Martin Peelgrane said he had identified a total of 438 homes in Mudjimba that would be adversely affected by the new runway by 2040, according to Sunshine Coast Council’s noise tool calculator.

Of those he said 12 were predicted to be located inside the Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) 25 contour which would make them unsuitable as dwellings according to Australian standards.

He said another 426 homes would be located in the area between the ANEF 20 and 25 contours, rendering them suitable as dwellings only with significant soundproofing measures.

“Theoretically, the 12 buildings inside the ANEF 25 contour are unsuitable as dwellings, but we need to wait until planes start landing to assess the real impact of noise on homes,” Mr Peelgrane said

Once planes start landing on the new runway we can measure the internal noise levels to determine how much noise mitigation will be required for these homes to comply with the AS 2021.”

Bedrooms need to be less than 50dbA and livings areas less than 60dbA.

An arriving B737 jet generates about 92dbA at ground level one kilometre from the end of the runway, placing the impact directly on homes inside the northern end of the beachside suburb.

The residents’ association has already sought legal advice about a class action for compensation.

Sunshine Coast Council has repeatedly ruled out paying compensation or for rectifications to improve liveability of those affected, a position Mr Peelgrane said would be ultimately tested in court.”

Mudjimba Residents’ Association

https://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/…/airport-r…/3954155/…

SCIENCE IS CATCHING UP – PFAS

We learned from the RTI that the Dept of Environment & Science relaxed the guidelines regarding what is considered safe levels – levels that are already considered deficient by international standards.

We know that there is currently a standing committee investigating National PFAS Management to bring us into line with international standards – of which those standards are also under review. Link here and copied below.

https://www.aph.gov.au/…/…/Foreign_Affairs_Defence_and_Trade

The EIS was ‘apparently written to preconceived outcomes’ – and PFAS contamination was omitted from assessment. Why and how?

We know what’s happening here now will be outlawed very soon – maybe that explains the big rush, the omissions and the secrecy.

I STILL DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW ADDING TO THIS PROBLEM IS THE SOLUTION – I THOUGHT WE WERE PHASING OUT THE OLD ADAGE ‘THE SOLUTION TO POLLUTION IS DILUTION’

“Research suggests that the safety threshold for PFOA in drinking water may be as low as 0.1 parts per trillion. That’s 700 times lower than the safe level that has been cited by the Environmental Protection Agency in the US. Since 1951, over 50,000 Parkersburg residents have been affected by PFAO contamination in their drinking water.”

http://theconversation.com/dark-waters-pollution-threat-isn…

DETAILS:
The PFAS Sub-committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT) has asked ask the Department of Health about PFAS and its potential impacts on human health.

Chair of the PFAS Sub-committee the Hon Dr John McVeigh MP noted that the 2018 report of the JSCFADT had called on the Department to issue an updated health opinion, as research overseas progressed.

‘We learned last Parliament that communities affected by PFAS had concerns about the Expert Health Panel’s opinion that there was ‘no evidence’ of human health impacts from PFAS,’ Dr McVeigh said.

In the current review, the Australian National University’s PFAS Health Study reported progress in its research to clarify this health advice. The research is funded by the Department of Health with the results to be finalised at the end of this year.

At the hearing, the Office of Health Protection’s Principal Medical Adviser Dr Gary Lum briefed the Sub-committee about the Department’s current thinking on PFAS and its health opinion, as the regulatory framework for PFAS evolves.

‘We will want to know how the Department of Health is capturing knowledge on PFAS impacts,’ Dr McVeigh said.

‘That includes by supporting research and whether this work is informing its engagement with the Department of Defence and people in affected communities.’

The PFAS Sub-committee’s program of review will continue over the course of the Parliament with a further report to be presented later this year.

Public hearing details:
Date: Monday 24 February 2020
Time: ~4:10pm to 5:00pm
Location: Committee Room IR4, Parliament House, Canberra.

The hearing was audio streamed at aph.gov.au/live.

For background information:
For further details about the scrutiny process and the Committee’s public hearing program contact:

Committee Secretary
Sub-committee Secretariat
02 6277 2313
jscfadt@aph.gov.au

For more information about this Committee you can visit its website. You can also track the Committee and receive email updates by clicking on the blue ‘Track Committee’ button in the bottom right hand corner of the page.

SEKISUI – SOME RULES AREN’T MEANT TO BE BROKEN

I attended a fundraiser yesterday organised by Development Watch in a desperate plea to raise the remaining $58k to take this appeal over the line. They’ve raised almost $400k in a brave and exhausting David and Goliath battle against big Corp and our own council.

This is not just a Sekisui / Yaroomba issue, if this appeal is dismissed it will become a precedent and it will then become case law. Meaning, it opens the gates for gross disrespect of town plans everywhere in every community. The Sunshine Coast planning scheme 2014 is the rules based statutory document that we all agreed on, paid $15 million for and is intended to provide assurance to residents, investors and the business community alike as they undertake due diligence before investing in an area. It is important the primacy and integrity of the planning scheme is respected.

FAIR’S FAIR

If you wanted to renovate your home or build a carport you would have to comply with the codes in the scheme, full stop – and so should influential developers. I am not aware of a resident who has been obliged overriding of the planning scheme in order to approve a non conforming development application.

Please consider a donation to this important action undertaken by community groups and volunteers against teams of Corp solicitors and barristers – let’s help give the underdog a fighting chance, for the principle, for the character and amenity of towns everywhere, and to show that THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE IS MORE POWERFUL THAN THE PEOPLE IN POWER.

This application simply should never have been approved.

(POST SCRIPT EDIT: to account for incidental court costs let’s add an extra $20/30k to target figure).

https://unitedtosaveyaroomba.raisely.com/…

THIS IS A LOADED ONE – WE’VE REACHED CRITICAL MASS ON THIS ISSUE

I met with residents of Mt Coolum who are being severely impacted by a minor weather event last week where 230 ml of rain has wreaked havoc in the community and local businesses and aged care facilities.

There’s a lot of issues contributing to this problem that was always inevitable, the risks were fully disclosed but ignored decade after decade. See council publication of July 1983 regarding further development of the floodplains – image 8.

This is short and cheesy first principles layman’s animation for those who are busy:

https://youtu.be/-PBT4OEJfGs

OR READ ON:-

  • 13 families are dispossessed for 10 weeks or more at one unit complex and the insurer is not happy
  • 2 homes are also evacuated and it is unknown how their insurer will reassess their premiums
  • these people have to pay their mortgage and pay holiday accommodation rates for up to three months and hope the insurer will reimburse them – in reality, this could literally leave people literally homeless – literally…. how many of us can afford a three month holiday?
  • to top it off – two evacuated units were looted. Police are investigating
  • Estia Health aged care was evacuated with untold stress to residents and staff and productivity
  • many others came way too close for comfort
  • I advised the group to form an association and get coordinated with their testimony and strategy moving forward – after all, we’re in cyclone / wet season and this could happen again next week
  • I advised the group to make direct contact with the state MP Fiona Simpson who has advised the group she will push for a ‘standing approval’ through the state department of Fisheries to restore the drain to perform its intended function
  • the 30 m wide drain built in 1988 has been neglected, and because low lying coastal plains are tidal, mangroves have established in the drain – photo 7 is the current condition of the drain for flood conveyance – now only 3 m wide
  • the Mt Coolum Golf Course, that lost $7-8000 per week and now floods after 70 ml of rain, have been lobbying for many years with little help – council have claimed this is not their jurisdiction and their hands are tied as, yes, all marine plants are protected under state legislation
  • however, I pointed out to attendees last Friday including our current councillor and various heads of council departments and council officers that;
    a) developers get permits to remove and offset mangroves and marine plants regularly including Twin Waters West down the road, and
    b) council publication of April 2019 Constructed Waterbodies Residents Manual instructs residents to systematically remove mangroves and the like, as ‘weeds’, without a permit –
  • so, it is possible – all we need is the political will all these years to make it happen
  • it is understood budgets are at stake, but so are the budgets of resident rate payers who expect a duty of care afforded to them by their local government – this escalating problem has the capacity to ruin people’s lives
  • further, long term residents of nearly 30 years never saw this until the adjacent floodplain was filled to make way for urban development- prior to this, resident testimony claims the area in question used to retain and attenuate waist deep excess flood volumes – this infilled area was protecting existing residents and their properties
  • residents at the base of Mt Coolum who saw an approval for a development behind them are now experiencing waterfalls in their back yards and homes and metal storm water grates / lids flying 2 m in the air – they’re told to sue their neighbour, not the local planning authority who approved it
  • it’s also of note that 1.3 cubic million metres of fill have gone into the airport expansion project on another adjacent floodplain
  • it’s also of note that the airport drain reverse flows causing more strife with flood behaviour
  • the water trapped in the underground garage was polluted with diesel and other contaminates – much confusion ensued, it was reported that $8,000 per truckload was required to take the water away for treatment purposes
  • then it was reported that the contaminated water could be diluted by half, making it safe, and could be released into the waterways – which is what happened and this time no one stood in front of a camera drinking this water claiming it was safe.

Here we go again – “The solution to pollution is dilution”

So, when this happens again, which it will, we know how it will be managed, and insurers do too – it’s been a very expensive exercise for all involved and I fear what the insurer will do with respect to risk appetite when reassessing this unit complex and individual insurance policies.

Insurers are in the ‘business’ of selling financial products – they’re not a charity and they do not insure for the inevitable – especially scenarios such as this. And then we get to the banks – if these people want to sell, they will need a buyer, and most buyers need banks, and banks need insurers. This all adds up to mortgages as financial products are becoming risky business.

The Insurance Council of Australia has been imploring local governments to stop approving vulnerable developments.

We must stop any further filling of the floodplains. As per (no kidding) the Sunshine Coast planning scheme strategic framework and the recommendations made by the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry (billion dollar tax payer funded inquiry) ‘do not remove volume from the floodplains’ – and what have we done? Filled the floodplain year after year and in the face of community opposition in a lot of cases. And we now see the result.

All the modelling argy bargy can’t stop water from finding its own level – on the ground in real time.

This is not best practice planning for our vulnerable coastal communities and it flies in the face of experts everywhere.

Existing residents first have the right to respond to a new normal under best available science, but apparently, they’re on their own.

NOT IF I CAN HELP IT. THE ABOVE ADVICE AND INVOLVEMENT IS THE JOB OF A LOCAL COUNCILLOR TO ADVOCATE, LOBBY AND REPRESENT RESIDENTS THROUGH THE APPROPRIATE CHANNELS – AND NOT GIVE UP.

FOR THIS TO BE OCCURRING, AFTER A MINOR WEATHER EVENT, IS A TESTAMENT TO THE EVIDENT NEGLECT AND DUTY OF CARE AFFORDED AT LARGE BY DECISION MAKERS.

If you read this far – thank you, it’s a loaded subject!

Given that you have – this link is likely of interest to you – it certainly raises the eyebrows of residents who see it for the first time. Scroll down to the map titled ‘Flood Hazard Area/ Defined Flood Event – these are the maps you, banks and insurers use and they will look worse and worse until we address and consult on this issue.

 

OPEN THE DOORS—NO MORE SECRET MEETINGS

TRANSPARENCY POLICY

Since the current council was formed in April 2016, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council has held 208 closed door meetings.

Compare this with our neighbouring Noosa Council which has only held 16 in the same period.

This is a concerning pattern emerging from our local government. It is understood that we are a larger council than Noosa, however, when discussions and official meetings are conducted about public money, it goes against the principals enshrined in the Local Government Act 2009.

(4)(2) The local government principles are—
(a) transparent effective processes, and decision-making in the public interest and;
(b) sustainable development and management of assets and infrastructure, and delivery of effective services; and
(c) democratic representation, social inclusion and meaningful community engagement; and
(d) good governance of, and by, local government; and
(e) ethical and legal behaviour of councillors and local government employees.

There are sometimes appropriate reasons for a council to go into closed session but it is the frequency that is concerning and appears to be a breach of the spirit of the legislation.

As the cartoon above implies, councillors must make decisions whether to move into closed session to discuss major issues impacting on the community – this must be made in an informed and educated way with full understanding of how commercial in confidence is being applied.

If I am elected to Council on 28 March I will give a commitment to be more analytical than the current councillors have been on CEO recommendations to go into closed session to ensure that these sessions are really necessary. I will be putting the community’s interests to be informed before that of the Council’s interests.

 

BLUE & WHITE – THE SKY IS THE LIMIT

Thank you to my available supporters who I spontaneously called on to model my volunteer uniform this morning 🙏 !!

I chose blue and white for my Campaign colours for two reasons;

    •  The sky is the limit in terms of the exciting times and innovation ahead for our region
    •  The elements – we want clean air, clean oceans and clean waterways.

I chose not to buy into campaign T-shirt’s and I keep campaign paraphernalia to a minimum, because of the carbon footprint and ethical concerns attached these these sorts of products.

I ask volunteers to wear a white shirt that they already own and blue on the bottom, and I provide lanyards and a few white shirts and sizes are at hand.

At the upcoming polling booths during the last two weeks of March my volunteers will be demonstrating a quiet respectful presence at the booths.

I am of the opinion that politics is a serious business, not a circus, and the public should be able to enter a calm and measured space to engage in the political process.

My feeling, and those I’ve been speaking to, feel that voters running the gauntlet to cast their vote via the hard sell of electioneers is intimidating and ‘in your face’.

During the last two weeks of March, my volunteers won’t have bells and whistles, flashing neon or gaudy T-shirts – I aim for a quiet respectful and approachable presence at the booths with information at hand.

Who has two hours to get their Civic Duty on and assist me at a polling booth and help show a presence on my behalf as sadly I cannot be everywhere?

If I get elected, your two hours will be repaid in hard work and dedication to my role in advocating for and representing the best interests of residents in Division 8.

ADD YOUR NAME AND ASK A FRIEND!

Click here to volunteer

ACCOMMODATING WILDLIFE & JOBS

I have been undertaking quarterly stakeholder group meetings with the Sunshine Coast Sustainability Coalition and Sunshine Coast Council for some time.

I worked closely with a traffic engineer who specialises in fauna friendly infrastructure and we drafted a parliamentary petition to incorporate fauna friendly road crossings, underpasses and overpasses into all new road infrastructure projects in Queensland.

The total cost is an extra 2-4% to provide safe crossings for our wildlife in order to see a decrease in road strikes and road kill.

Our unique wildlife are struggling to navigate and survive our road systems – this is a simple common sense solution to this problem we have created, and, it creates jobs in the industry.

Please sign and share this important initiative because we can be accommodating wildlife and jobs.

https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/…/petit…/petition-details…

TO: The Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland

Queensland residents draws to the attention of the House serious concerns regarding the rapid expansion of urban development in Queensland which is causing an alarming increase in vehicle strikes involving our native wildlife listed and protected under State and Federal environment legislation, and those species which are locally significant. Population growth projections indicate vehicle strikes involving fauna will continue to increase until ‘fauna-friendly’ infrastructure is installed, or species are pushed to the point of localised extinctions. Increasing vehicle strikes and ‘near misses’ are likely to result in increasing motorist casualties and property damage.

It is estimated that to incorporate ‘fauna-friendly’ infrastructure (such as wildlife overpasses/underpasses, rope bridges, fencing etc) in all new road infrastructure projects would add no more than 2% – 4% to project costs. This minimal expenditure translates into a significant number of additional jobs. We also call for the region’s road network to be treated as a ‘One Road Network’. We note that development industry profits are made off the back of habitat loss and wildlife deaths. These costs can no longer be externalised to the environment and must be responsibly apportioned.

Your petitioners, therefore, request the House urge the Premier to mandate the provision of ‘fauna friendly’ infrastructure as above. We remind all Members that fauna deaths associated motorist casualties and property damage is likely to continue to rise, we therefore request this issue be urgently addressed and enacted prior to the state election in 2020.

Open Community Space at Sunshine Cove

After talking to residents in Sunshine Cove I made the following submission to the SCRC:

 

December 19, 2019

The Assessment Manager
Sunshine Coast Council Locked Bag 72
Sunshine Coast Mail Centre
Your Reference: MCU19/0143
Attention: John Alderson

Dear Mr Alderson

RE: Proposed Development: Preliminary Approval for Material change of Use (Variation Request to Vary the Effect of the Preliminary Approval for the Wises Farm Mixed Use Development), Development Permit to Reconfigure a Lot (1 lot into 103 Residential Lots) for Lot 3000 on SP306280

My name is Kathryn Hyman and I am a candidate for Division 8 in the Sunshine Coast Regional Council local government elections of which the above location falls within the Division 8 boundary.

It has come to my attention that the above application is currently before council. I have briefly looked at the application documents and submissions made, and I note public submission period ends December 19, 2019 (today).

It is my understanding residents’ objections to this application are valid for reasons outlined below.

1). Lack of meaningful community engagement

The developer’s attempt to consult with the community was flawed as follows;

    • The alleged door knocking regime by the developer within Sunshine Cove was limited to the expectation that owner occupiers were home at the time door knocking occurred. As I have been personally door knocking this area, I can confirm that generally most residents are not home weekdays
    • The developer did not provide follow up information requested by residents who were home at the time door knocking occurred, and
    • Information available in the public domain demonstrates a large proportion of residences are rental properties and attempts were not made to contact homeowners directly

2). Non-compliance with the Biodiversity, Waterways and Wetlands Overlay Code

The area of open space is subject to The Biodiversity, Waterways and Wetlands Overlay Map within the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme, 2014. Section 8.2.3.1 seeks to:

    • Protect, rehabilitate and enhance ecologically important areas

The Planning scheme identifies in Schedule 1 Definitions:

    • Ecologically important areas include non-remnant vegetation, and
    • contains habitat for flora and/or fauna species of local ecological significance (I understand the local species list has recently been removed from the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014)

The consultant for the developer has erroneously assessed this open space area with respect to the applicable codes by reporting that the open space under assessment does not apply to that of ecological significance as defined in the planning scheme. Given the subject site contains non-remnant vegetation there is clear non-conformity with the overall outcomes.

3). Proposed Sewer location within designated 6 metre buffer.

    • A proposed 300mm Gravity Sewer Main is located where a dense vegetated buffer is to be established to visually screen the development from residents
    • Unitywater policy does not allow vegetation to be planted within areas where such infrastructure exists

There is a disconnect between the Engineer’s Report, and the policy that falls under Unitywater jurisdiction with respect to this element of the application.

4) Visual Amenity

    • The current stand of vegetation protected in the Conservation and Habitat area is considered to provide green relief in a rapidly developing area
    • The concept design depicts the replacement of mature trees in the same location – there is insufficient rationale and scale with respect to the purpose, or likelihood of this outcome

5) Open Space

The proposal represents a considerable reduction in publicly accessible open space when compared to that achieved in the Wises Farm Preliminary Approval Document (WFPAD). This is a considerable loss of opportunity to current and future residents of the precinct.

    • Open space provisions for Precincts 7 and 10 resulted in an overall open space area in the order of 24,000 m2 (2.4 ha)
    • Under the current proposal the applicant is proposing to reduce this total open space contribution to 16,000m2 (1.6 ha)
    • The 3,145m2 of “vegetated’ 6 metre buffer is part of the proposed total open space area. This vegetated buffer will not be accessible to the public therefore provision of access to open space by the public is non-conforming with Open Space provisions outlined in Supplementary Preliminary Approval Document (SPAD)
    • The current configuration could result in this buffer area becoming a maintenance burden for both Council, existing and future residents of Sunshine Cove. According to residents, there is apparently a demand for storage space for vehicles, trailers, boats and caravans within the Sunshine Cove Precinct, and residents suggest that this proposed area is more likely to be better utilised as a storage site rather than a buffer.

The revised Masterplan requests a Net Loss of Open Space calculated to be 11,135 m2  or 46.4% of the original proposal. This is an unsatisfactory outcome for residents.

6). Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Principles

Residents are concerned that the built environment to create safer neighbourhoods as above, has not been adequately observed. Concerns around;

    • Natural surveillance provisions
    • Natural access control
    • Natural territorial reinforcement
    • Maintenance and Graffiti

These concerns need to be addressed by the developer via the applicable codes and provisions in order that residents’ safety is not compromised.

Conclusion

Residents that I have spoken to have relayed that the precinct does not have adequate ‘Community Hub’, ‘Open Community Space’ to gather and meet. Residents have indicated a desire to form a working group or initiate a volunteer program similar to nearby Traill Park (500 metres to the east of this site) that enjoys regular community working days involving residents in replanting/weed control and general maintenance.

There is an opportunity within the Sunshine Cove precinct to accommodate, foster and nurture the coordination of a community within the precinct to build social capital and wellbeing. Given the sentiments of resident’s, and the fact that the applicant has failed to discharge its onus, I urge council to refuse this application in its current form. 

Thank you for receiving my submission in relation to this application falling within the Division 8 Boundary.

Kind regards,

Kathryn Hyman
6 Elderberry Court
TWIN WATERS Q 4564