Published on : Friday, February 11, 2022
The Sunshine Coast’s leading business advocacy group is concerned a Supreme Court decision against a $900 million development could impact investor confidence in the region.
The Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) said the court’s decision to rescind the Planning and Environment Court’s approval of Sekisui House’s Yaroomba Beach development “could see us lose out on a significant tourism asset”.
The judgement, released on Wednesday, set aside a ruling made in 2020, when the P&E Court dismissed the community’s appeal against the project’s approval by council.
The judgement found the previous decision had erred by not adequately considering the community’s expectations relating to building heights.
Save Yaroomba campaign spokesperson Kathryn Hyman said the Supreme Court judgement was “a win for democracy”.
“It’s a win for community, it’s a win for our planning scheme and it is a win for future and subsequent communities who are seeing developments that are not sensible or in line with the town plan.”
However, SCBC Chair Sandy Zubrinich said the latest decision could be a blow to business, tourism and employment, and the region needed high-end resorts.
“Investors need surety around planning schemes, and it is therefore imperative that the Sunshine Coast has both a planning scheme and a council that supports these types of developments if we are to remain competitive in attracting investment to the region,” she said.
“The Sunshine Coast has not benefited from a new 5-star resort development since the early 1990s, while the region’s popularity as a tourism destination continues to grow.
“We are a regional economy that depends on hospitality, tourism and retail to provide entry level jobs for our youth.
SCSC Chair Sandy Zubrinich was concerned the decision could impact business, employment and tourism.
“These industries would all have benefited from this development and additional delays in approvals will have an impact on jobs growth – particularly youth unemployment which continues to be an issue for our region.
“In reality, the region is in desperate need of multiple new, high-end resorts within the next decade in the lead up to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“Resorts such as this bring high-yield visitors to the region as well as business events that deliver visitation mid-week, which greatly benefits a tourism industry still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic.
“We are at the beginning of another period of economic recovery where new jobs and investment is paramount, while this decision could see us lose out on a significant tourism asset and instead end up with another gated community with no access or benefit to the surrounding community.”
Sekisui House issued a statement saying it would “consider its options” in response to the Court of Appeal decision, while a Sunshine Coast Council spokesperson said it was reviewing the judgement in its entirety.