VIEW: An artist's impression of Sekisui House's proposal looking towards Mount Coolum.
VIEW: An artist's impression of Sekisui House's proposal looking towards Mount Coolum. Sekisui House

Opponents question Sekisui's 68% support claim

JAPANESE developer Sekisui House is claiming it has strong support for its controversial plans to develop a site at Yaroomba Beach.

That claim is at-odds with what community groups say is a groundswell of people urging to have the current town plan respected.

Sekisui House development manager Evan Aldridge said recent listening posts had unearthed 68% support for the development, gathered from more than 690 submissions including more than 400 visits to the listening post from November 30-December 17, last year.

But concerns have been raised about the questionnaire used to gauge responses.

Sekisui erected cranes in 2015 to show building height of the tallest proposed building plus the position of the front building. Sekisui House Senior Development Manager, Evan Aldridge on Yaroomba beach with cranes behind him.
Sekisui erected cranes in 2015 to show building height of the tallest proposed building plus the position of the front building. Sekisui House Senior Development Manager, Evan Aldridge on Yaroomba beach with cranes behind him.

Coolum Residents Association president Mark Bizzell said the survey failed to address the "main concerns that the community had".

He said concerns were the seven-storey proposed height limit for some buildings - which is above the current planning limit of 8.5m and an existing approval for between two and four storeys on the site - and the population of the proposed township.

Mr Aldridge said the questionnaire had aimed to determine interest in plans to activate the site, including the new hotel, job creation, improved beach access, public spaces and more.

He said the proposed height and population levels were made very clear at the listening post.

Mr Bizzell was firm in his opinion those levels were not clear at the listening post, but said there wasn't much the community could do at the moment except wait with bated breath for a development application to be lodged with the council.

An artist's impression of the Sekisui development.
An artist's impression of the Sekisui development.

"We've got nothing against a development as long as it sits within the town plan," Mr Bizzell said.

Development Watch president Lyn Saxton said a change.org petition which she hadn't widely publicised had already gathered close to 1500 signatures, many of which she believed to be locals, opposed to going outside the town plan to accommodate Sekisui's proposal.

"Their (Sekisui House) survey form is clearly deficient," she said, adding it should've included a final question asking whether people would be prepared to accept increased building heights to enable the other benefits spruiked.

Mr Aldridge said the response had been overwhelmingly positive from submitters and others, with almost 2300 views on the proposal's dedicated website during the listening post period, but admitted he wasn't sure of the breakdown of the website views to determine how many locals had taken an interest online.

He said opening up of the site and plans for an artistic and cultural hub had been warmly received by the public.

Mr Aldridge said Sekisui House intended to submit its application for a new preliminary approval on the site in March, with the stage one application to include a five-star international Westin Coolum Resort & Spa, village heart and associated public amenity.


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