Community urged to give voice to town plan

By Mitch Gaynor

CONCERNS are growing that the Sunshine Coast Council’s proposed planning scheme will increase densification in some parts of the hinterland and deny other areas growth opportunities.

The council is currently seeking community feedback on the proposed planning scheme, holding a series of seminars across the hinterland.

Glass House state MP Andrew Powell said he was concerned that the draft scheme restricted growth in and around the railway towns and Blackall Range to “Beerwah East” and increased densification only.

Beerwah East has been identified as a  major development area.

He also said there should be allowance for light industrial development in Maleny.

 “Whilst I want to protect the inter-urban break and maintain the uniqueness and heritage of our railway and range towns, we need to consider how we too can grow responsibly,” he said.

“I believe we can protect the environment, we can protect the agriculture, our farmlands, we can protect our heritage and we can grow.  “And given our existing and soon to be upgraded transport networks it makes sense to better use the railway corridor.”

Glasshouse Country Chamber President Jenny Broderick said it was critical for people to understand what the proposals meant for Glasshouse Country and to raise those issues.

She said Beerwah East would have a “significant impact” and “with that in mind that’s why having our say on the planning scheme in our small communities is really important”.

“We would encourage all members and the community to have active involvement,” she said.

“This all matters, and if we want to protect the culture of our communities we need to have our say now.”

Maleny Forums’ Claire Booth urged residents to give feedback, saying the survey was extensive but not complicated.

“We note that one area of concern expressed by local residents is that Maleny is facing a critical affordable housing shortage,” she said.

“Climate Change is also something our community feels strongly about. This is Maleny’s chance to provide feedback on both these very important issues.”

In a series of information meetings across the hinterland, this month Sunshine Coast Council explained what the proposed town plan was seeking to achieve. During ‘question and answer’ sessions, the community asked about density and height restrictions.

“We can’t continue to have households with one or two people with huge three and four bedroom houses on large lots,” Council principal strategic planner Jade said in answer to one question. “It’s not matching the housing needs. We look at those housing needs… particularly close to our centres.” She said height restrictions would also be considered.

“What we’re saying is we might need to look at some areas and if the community has any ideas about where or where that might or might not be appropriate, we will look at that,” she said.

An information event will be held at Beerwah Library on March 23 at 11am. Consultation ends March 31.