Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Is the Sunshine Coast Failing? COMMENT

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Is the Sunshine Coast Failing? COMMENT

Article excerpt

Byline: Sandy Zubrinich Council chairwoman

THE Sunshine Coast has long been attempting to shed the stigma of being a 'hard place to do business', with politicians as well as business and industry groups aiming to attract quality capital investors to the region to bolster the local economy.

Regrettably, if Sekisui's Yaroomba development is a test of how far we have come, then there is a strong likelihood we may be failing.

While the Sunshine Coast Business Council conducted a series of think tank sessions between 2015 and 2017 (working with government, planners, academics, interest groups, industry groups, media and developers to consider how best to protect the diversity and richness of the Sunshine Coast region beyond its economic value), I am questioning whether any meaningful change has taken place.

The think tanks examined the growth opportunities and challenges for the Sunshine Coast Region; how to balance growth, development and the environment; and how to increase the effectiveness of community engagement to deliver positive change for the community, business and government.

The three-year investment in time, resources and funding to conduct these think tank sessions was no mean feat, and while all participants collaborated respectfully and openly in answering these questions and suggesting workable actions, the question remains: have we really made any progress?

Unfortunately, emotion rather than intellect seems to be driving too much of the discussion around the Yaroomba development despite the availability of expert advice. This perpetuates misleading and often incorrect information (fake news) rather than moving us, as a community, closer to understanding how to balance growth, development and the environment, to benefit all into the future.

Claims that there has been a 'massive breach of the planning scheme proposed by Sekisui House for its Yaroomba Beach site' are an overreach at best.

The idea that development proposals that fall outside the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014 should not be assessed by council is incorrect. The planning scheme has always had mechanisms for addressing these applications and considering their full merit. …

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