By Greg Brown
Last financial year around 1,800 development applications were lodged with Sunshine Coast Council, the vast majority of which were assessed and approved.
One local development refusal that created a great deal of discussion was the application to build a Coles supermarket at Beerwah.
Although the council ultimately considered that there were too many substantial conflicts with the community standards expected under the planning scheme, the fact that Coles made the application in the first place shows its confidence in the future of Beerwah and the Glasshouse Country region.
The refusal disappointed many locals who commented that the decision was just another that showed how the council is holding back the area, not letting Beerwah develop and stopping job opportunities for locals.
A cursory understanding of the development process would show that this isn’t how the system works.
If an area is attractive for an investor, they’ll find somewhere to make their vision a reality.
And if the number of major developments currently in the pipeline is anything to go by, those in the know must consider that the southern hinterland areas are brimming with opportunity and potential.
Don’t believe me? Well, here’s a few major projects under development.
Sanad Capital is progressing its $400 million resort, tourist accommodation, water theme park and surfing wave pool application on Steve Irwin Way at Glenview. Once operational, the 25ha complex will create 320 jobs.
Glass House Mountains
A facility offering a surfing wave pool, wellness centre, paddock-to-plate food and beverage, ocean and marine protection education, learn-to-surf classes and surf coaching at the end of Johnston Road in Glass House Mountains is being assessed. If approved, the $25 million 13ha site is expected to be operational in 2023.
Australia Zoo is progressing its development application to build a new tourist accommodation complex at the rear of the zoo, which will include 68 cabins and 40 bush camp sites, allowing more tourists to stay and experience the region.
A new significant and contemporary tourism development on Frizzo Road at Palmview will include a mix of indoor and outdoor recreation and leisure activities, low impact accommodation, cultural tourist attractions and food-based tourism facilities.
Just up the road from the above, a new caravan park is approved on Frizzo Road, with 406 caravan, glamping and RV sites, as well as including 3 hectares of open space camping.
The Village Marketplace has been approved to build a new extension to the supermarket complex, providing more than 3,000m2 of extra retail floor space in the heart of Beerwah and 118 new car parks.
The Glenview par 3 golf course sold earlier this year to the G’day Group (a $1 billion holiday park provider that incorporates Discovery Parks and G’day Parks). Although they haven’t released plans, Brisbane media reports that the group intends investing to create an attraction that will increase tourism and create local jobs, suggesting that the golf course would be integrated with broader family-friendly attractions.
A little closer to the coast but drawing on the attractions of the hinterland, a massive tourist park, function facility and short-term accommodation development is on the drawing board at Meridian Plains. This 34ha development on Westaway Road will include 185 camp sites, 40 cabins, 24 safari tents, 93 studio room apartments, a function facility for 200 people, plus eating and entertainment facilities. It will attract 164,000 visitors per year generating $24 million in tourism expenditure and creating 105 jobs.
A 200-dwelling lifestyle resort for the over 50s situated on Steve Irwin Way between Back Creek Road and the Beerwah Hideaway has been approved and is awaiting construction.
A large aged-care and retirement living facility is proposed for the eastern side of the railway in Beerwah on two adjoining blocks. The 25 independent living units and 93-bed high-care residential facility proposal is for two four-storey buildings – one housing the independent retirement living units and the other the care facility.
A 1.5ha parcel at 35 Pine Camp Road is proposed to be developed as a retirement and residential care facility, comprising almost 200 beds across an 88-room single-bed, two-level retirement care facility; a three-storey 46-unit retirement complex and 12 duplex-style dwellings.
Not too bad for a region that some people say is deliberately being held back by council.
If you still think that the area is being hamstrung by the planning scheme, there’s good news. The planning scheme is about to be rewritten.
To find out more about how you can become involved in rewriting the planning scheme, go to the council’s web portal www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Development/Planning-Documents/New-Sunshine-Coast-Planning-Scheme
Main image: the reception for the new accommodation facility at Australia Zoo