We have a town plan that has been constantly eroded with amendments. Too often developers invest in land parcels with a ‘she’ll be right mate’ attitude to attaining development approvals that are well outside of the town plan.
The current town plan has been subjected to 21 amendments since it was gazetted in 2014. Of these only 8 would have been subjected to community consultation. While the town plan can never be perfect, developers cannot continue to purchase unsuitable land, create a supposed need afterwards and cry foul if the approval isn’t granted. The ad-hoc changes to the Town Plan and relaxations for allowable developments are resulting in problems for new and existing residents and producing negative environmental impacts. The upside is larger profits for the developer and more rates for Council. The downside is increased traffic, increasing squeeze on parking, flood problems for surrounding residential areas and waterways.
The Sunshine Coast needs to accommodate for our growing population, however this needs to be done in a sensible and sustainable way. In an economic sense our large construction industry needs continued support, associated businesses and services also depend on population growth, new and relocating residents need a range of housing options. This can be achieved by also balancing the social and environmental needs of our communities by:
- Adhering to development on sites earmarked for such purposes.
- Adhering to town plan requirements with tighter controls on relaxation on requirements.
- Develop compulsory guidelines in accordance with the Sunshine Coast Design Principles and mandate the implementation of these to be included with development applications to ensure best practice for liveable communities on the Sunshine Coast.
This would mean residents are assured of what the future looks like for their community and developers understand the boundaries of what will be allowable and the elements that must be included with their applications. Population growth could continue, jobs would still be provided to the construction industry and the Sunshine Coast could better preserve its character. This equates to a better balance of the economic, social and environmental benefits for the developer, the Council and the community.