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Your say: live music, Halls Creek development area, homelessness action plan and more

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Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

Thank you Ashley Robinson for that great article about the live music scene going back to the ’70s. Hilarious! If you have any more stories like that you should write a book.

Maria Rosenfelder, Palmwoods

When will council get back to core business instead of increasingly getting involved in what is essentially state and federal issues? Yes, affordable housing, homelessness, cost of living etc are very important issues but leave that to the state and federal legislators.

Councillors more and more are letting staff run the show while they become policy makers and show ponies. Local government is the coalface of politics.

Trevor Thompson (former Maroochy Shire Council deputy mayor), Yandina

People need to know that Halls Creek is part of a long-planned buffer zone between the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay region. Planned development is to be in the Beewarh area on the west of the Bruce Highway: that’s why the road that goes past Australia Zoo was duplicated.

Although the mayor is often thought to be pro-development, in this case he is correct. It’s vital that Halls Creek is protected.

Valarie Ross, Buderim

From the time of the Caloundra City Council through to the current Sunshine Coast Council, and with unwavering support of the local community, the Halls Creek area has always been explicitly excluded from urban development as it forms a crucial inter-urban break along the region’s eastern coastal zone.

Protecting this area was the trade-off for Caloundra South planning to go ahead. This sensitive catchment was, and still is, intended to be the buffer and rehabilitation area that would aid in protecting the extraordinary environmental and recreational fishery values of the internationally listed Pumicestone Passage.

Stockland conveniently doesn’t recognise nor accept the widely supported full extent of the Regional Inter-Urban Break and cites conceptual boundaries to downplay the intensity of its contentious and speculative plans.

Our region’s irreplaceable Regional Inter-Urban Break is a significant green belt from the nationally Heritage-Listed Glass House Mountains to the internationally important Pumicestone Passage Ramsar Wetland. Avoiding the creation of new urban development areas, such as ‘Aura South,’ in our limited but diverse major regional green spaces like the Regional Inter-Urban Break, is essential to ensure these important spaces are not reduced over time, contribute to climate resilience and provide expansive areas for appropriate recreation. These significant environments support biodiversity and provide important landscape connectivity and wildlife corridors.

Caloundra South is already on its way to being a city the size of Gladstone with considerable land and dwelling supply already in the pipeline. The impacts of a fully developed ‘Aura’ on the sensitive Pumicestone Passage over time are yet to be fully known or understood, let alone introducing further pressures from more urbanisation even closer to this fragile system.

Importantly, the Regional Inter-Urban Break, of which an undeveloped Halls Creek is a critical part, is the green frame for our region’s identity and liveability and warrants statutory protection – not urban sprawl.

Narelle McCarthy, Sunshine Coast Environment Council

The release of the state’s draft South East Queensland Regional Plan is an important milestone as Queensland prepares to welcome a further 2.2 million residents to the south-east corner over the next 20-plus years.

We are already experiencing a serious housing shortage and with projections now estimating SEQ’s population will expand by more than 50 per cent, from just shy of 4 million to around 6 million by 2046, the onus is firmly on state and local governments to seriously consider all opportunities to accommodate this growth, or to face the reality of escalating homelessness and the devastating associated social issues.

Our board will take the time to review the draft plan in detail, but it is clear that the state government has adjusted the SEQ Regional Plan to maintain flexibility and consider all viable options in light of the anticipated continued high growth rate. This, in turn, will put firm pressure on the 12 SEQ councils to follow suit within their own local planning schemes.

The Sunshine Coast Business Council has long advocated for two potential growth areas to be identified on the Sunshine Coast to accommodate the estimated 80,000 additional homes our region will need by 2046. Our position with Sunshine Coast Council has been that if Halls Creek (also known as Aura South) is not retained as a potential future growth area, then what other option will replace it, given Beerwah East is insufficient to provide for projected growth.

Of course, any growth should not come at the expense of protecting our environment or compromising the natural assets that are integral to the fabric of the Sunshine Coast and the lifestyle we all enjoy. It is therefore essential that all areas under consideration are subjected to stringent environmental assessments which require time, investment and collaborative partnerships between all levels of government and private investors. We note that the South East Queensland Regional Plan makes comment that the proposed Aura South (Halls Creek) is currently subject to approval under the EPBC Act and that, should approvals be achieved, development of suitable areas will only be considered during the life of the plan should it be determined there is inadequate land supply to cater for the region’s growth.

At this time, all options should and must be on the table. Once the viability of these options has been thoroughly explored – not only in regards to environmental impact, but also access to transport and amenities, the visual impact on our landscape and the economic viability in providing more affordable housing – then pragmatic, informed decisions can be made.

Defining the Inter-Urban Break is a positive step, and we note that Aura South remains outside of the Inter-Urban Break, with the final location within Aura South to be determined following outcomes of EPBC assessment process which will define suitable areas for urban development.

If deemed suitable from an environmental perspective, surely cleared land that is flood-free; does not impact on the Inter-Urban Break and is not visible from the Bruce Highway; is owned by a developer willing to invest; and does not add to the existing pressure on Sunshine Coast infrastructure and amenities, must be considered.

In our opinion, while responsibly planned infill of our existing Sunshine Coast suburbs is part of the solution, issues such as housing affordability, increased traffic congestion, schools and daycare centres being at capacity and experiencing continued escalating prices mean we can’t simply keep adding homes into already developed areas.

New growth areas that make sense environmentally, logistically, aesthetically and economically will need to be explored and, as a region, we should be welcoming those with potential solutions to the table.  We applaud the state government for taking this pragmatic position.

Sandy Zubrinich, Sunshine Coast Business Council Chair

Sunshine Coast Council’s Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2023 doesn’t even scratch the surface of what needs to be done and lacks enough real action to put a dent in the issue.

Where we are today is not just a national issue, we got here because of the lack of true and meaningful action by council over many years. This plan is a continuation of doing something because council knows they must, but not doing anything true or meaningful.

Professional bodies have been feverishly pointing to the real issue for a long time now – that there are simply not enough homes. This is a supply issue, not an affordable home issue.

No community engagement was undertaken during the preparation of the Housing and Homeless Action Plan 2023, but council officers point to community consultation undertaken during the preparation of council’s regional strategies and corporate plan. This is not sufficient.

The community consultation being referred to was undertaken on an entirely different subject and pretext, before there was community acceptance of this rental and rising homelessness crisis. To suggest that consultation supports current community view is irresponsible and avoidant.

The action plan outlines five key actions including steps towards developing underutilised council land; a new planning scheme; support for affordable housing, transitional accommodation and not-for-profit organisations; advocacy to the state and federal government; and some community education.

There are some great ideas in the proposed plan, yet so much of it shows a lack of understanding of the real causes, the real solutions and the role of council in providing real outcomes. This is a crisis. We need a crisis response. This internal plan is not that. Our only hope now is a radical step change in the new planning scheme out next year.

Homes for Everyone summarises a range of solutions offered by multiple experts, the majority of which have been ignored by council’s plan.

Ninety-two per cent of renters on the Sunshine Coast are housed by residential property investors. This is the market that needs to be included in council’s plan. These investors are penalised at state and local levels, and council has many levers to change the way investment is bolstered for rental supply, and make the creation of new rental supply easier.

Unless the action plan item to renew the planning scheme is a radical diversion from the current scheme, and therefore increases supply, then the action plan is only a ticked box.

Homes For Everyone has previously outlined that for every 12 months delay in radically adding to supply is a further three years before this crisis is resolved.

Mal Cayley, Homes for Everyone founder

In December 2022, as noted by ABC News, a development of 55 townhouses began on a major flood plain area in Palmwoods. This surprising construction project was spruiked as being part of a solution to easing the current housing shortage. Now suddenly this same land area is going to have a huge Coles supermarket with over 100 parking spots. This is ludicrous. There is only one road through Palmwoods and the traffic on it is already horrendous during peak hours. Adding another 100 cars trying to turn into this new Coles is sure to exacerbate the traffic congestion.

Furthermore, there is no need for this facility as approval has already been given previously for a mall and supermarket in another more appropriate location near the pub. Not surprisingly an expert for this Coles development has stated Palmwoods can support two supermarkets. This is an insane idea that will turn this beautiful little town into a traffic jam.

Pauline Hurrey, Palmwoods

I am puzzled by the name change of Fraser Island to K’gari. The official pronunciation is “Gari” so I am wondering why the “K” is there.

I have seen suggestions that it is analogous to the silent “K” in knife or knight. In those cases, the “K” is a remnant of the Germanic words where the “K” was pronounced. As English evolved, the “K” sound was dropped but the spelling has not caught up with the pronunciation.

Aboriginal people never had a written language; they may have had a pictorial language for storytelling but certainly there was no alphabetic language.

It seems to me that the “K'” is merely a device to make the name seem more exotic than it really is. Rather like the silly underscored “r” in Uluru.

Ron Duggleby, Little Mountain

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

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