CONCERNED community groups have been able to express their fears over the proposed Sekisui House development at Yaroomba, at a meeting with Mayor Mark Jamieson.

The Daily also was at the meeting, at which representatives of Organised Sunshine Coast Association of Residents, Sunshine Coast Environment Council, Coolum and Northshore Coast Care and Development Watch addressed their concerns to Cr Jamieson and key council staff.

In a frank session, they said they felt the community had lost confidence in the council over its handling of the Sekisui proposal.

Cr Jamieson again outlined the timeframe issues of the original submissions by Sekisui in 2012, saying he believed the council had acted wisely in deferring the proposal to the current process, rather than allowing it three years ago.

OSCAR president Ian Christensen voiced concerns over the drawn-out process and unnecessary costs for ratepayers, and asked the mayor not to confuse the Sekisui House proposal with economic diversification.

SCEC spokeswoman Narelle McCarthy said it was unfair to introduce major amendments so soon in the life of a new planning scheme.

She explained fears over the process, and felt a formal Development Application would make it easier for the public to comment on the proposal, rather than having to try to follow a detailed amendment process.

Ms McCarthy questioned how the development could proceed, asking why the council promoted the region as naturally refreshing if it supported high-rise development. "One 250-room hotel does not a tourism industry make," she said.

Cranes at Yaroomba site represent hotel: Evan Aldridge, Sekisui House Senior Development Manager, on site at Yaroomba talking about cranes erected on site.
Cranes at Yaroomba site represent hotel: Evan Aldridge, Sekisui House Senior Development Manager, on site at Yaroomba talking about cranes erected on site.

Cr Jamieson said that considering the proposal did not mean the council had made a decision. He said he was committed to developing the economy, but also aware the community had to maintain a balance between the economy and the environment.

Coolum and North Shore Coast Care president Leigh Warneminde spoke of the environmental impacts of enabling coastal development and a potential loss of identity. "In the end we will just look like another piece of coastline," she said.

Loss of views for existing residents was also an issue raised.

Representatives took some comfort when Cr Jamieson clarified that Sekisui House had not played any part in airport expansion plans, and Cr Jamieson's support for amendment considerations to be conducted in an open council meeting.

Cr Jamieson also confirmed all efforts would be made to make public finalised council reports on the proposal prior to the consideration meeting.

Community forum on Saturday at Coolum

A COMMUNITY meeting will be held this afternoon in Coolum to discuss the controversial Sekisui House proposal.

The meeting will be held at Coolum Civic Centre from 2-4pm.

Development Watch president Lyn Saxton said invitations to the event went out on March 10, but only Councillors Jason O'Pray and Greg Rogerson were available to attend.

So the public meeting had become an information session to explain the impact the proposal would have on broader regional planning if the Yaroomba development goes ahead.

It is understood no representative from developer Sekisui House will attend.