In its’ response to the COVID-19 crisis, the State Government showed it will put the safety of people first.
That should also be the case when it comes to the proposed development of vital flood plains at Coolum West.
Over the years, Consolidated Properties has bought up a large area of the flood plains at Coolum West and is now seeking approval from the State Government to urbanise those flood plains. The developer is primarily touting the development as a ‘wave pool’ but has also made it clear there will be no wave pool without a 1500 residential lot and mixed use development.
A consortium of concerned community groups: Coolum Residents Association (CRA), Friends of Yaroomba, Surfrider Foundation (Sunshine Coast), Development Watch, the Sunshine Coast Environment Council (SCEC) and Organisation of Sunshine Coast Association of Residents (OSCAR) are urging the State Government not to allow development of the flood plains at Coolum West.
The proposal is clearly an example of urban sprawl with a wave pool as a secondary or “selling” point but spuriously promoted as a tourism project and is not supported by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and many community members.
These floodplains are outside the urban footprint in the South East Queensland Regional Plan (SEQRP).
They are zoned rural.
They are wholly within the Maroochy River floodplain, subject to tidal inundation, permanent standing water, flooding and contain acid sulphate soils.
The Maroochy River catchment and floodplain has been included by the State in the development of the Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy (CHAS) being undertaken by SCRC, due for completion in 2021.
The developer has indicated that he intends to “fill” extensive areas and the concept of “no worsening of flood risk” is problematic.
Part of this land has been designated by the Sunshine Coast Council, in partnership with the State Government and Unity Water, as the “’Blue Heart” – Blue Carbon initiative. This is a worthy initiative that should be progressed to its maximum extent (5000ha) for the multiple environmental, ecological, nature based eco-tourism/cultural and
community benefits it would provide.
We appreciate the difficulties the construction industry is facing owing to the COVID-19 shutdown and are supportive of appropriately approved developments being actioned BUT COVID-19 SHOULD NOT be used as an excuse to allow the development of floodplains which could result in further trauma and unnecessary risk for communities in the future. These areas are already vulnerable. There is plenty of opportunity for activity in the CBD and we would encourage construction companies to explore those opportunities.
No proposal for any further residential development on the Maroochy Floodplain should be considered. It is particularly important, given the flood data available and the challenges of climate change that we do not further compromise the flood storage capacity of the Maroochy Floodplain.
Let the floodplains do what they are intended to do and protect our downstream communities by storing floodwaters. The floodplains must be protected and preserved.
The Groups are seeking a meeting with Kate Jones MP, the Minister for State Development, Tourism and Innovation to discuss their concerns. We will also be reminding the State Government of the devastating Townsville floods in early 2019 which occurred in newly created urban areas that had been built to Q100 levels.