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Proposal for eight holiday cabins aims to add options for people with a disability

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A business that provides accommodation and travel experiences for people with disabilities is seeking approval to build eight holiday cabins on eight hectares of land on the Sunshine Coast.

An application to allow the short-term accommodation has been submitted to Sunshine Coast Council for the land at Parsons Knob Road, West Woombye.

Michael Rossiter, the director and founder SuzanneStays, said the proposed development would address a shortage of accommodation options for people with a disability.

“There’s very limited places that we can find on the Sunshine Coast where people can actually go into this sort of thing and be with their family,” he said.

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“There’s a lot of people out there under the assumption that each hotel has accessible bathrooms, which is true, but their doorways aren’t accessible and their entrances aren’t accessible, which sort of defeats the purpose, but under code that’s all they have to do.

“The need is unbelievable on the Sunshine Coast.”

An impression of the cabins at West Woombye. Picture: Sheltaco

SuzanneStays began in 2019, two years after Mr Rossiter’s wife Suzanne was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

In 2018 the Rossiters went travelling, visiting the US, Tanzania, Dubai and Turkey, but encountered  challenges with her decreasing mobility. It is from this experience that SuzanneStays was conceived.

Mr Rossiter said the business – which has properties available to let in Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra and more – aimed to provide inclusive accommodation opportunities for all people.

“We specialise in mobility and disability accommodation, short-term and medium-term, so what we do is we have a series of investors that invest in the projects and we build it,” Mr Rossiter said.

“They’ve either been touched by the need or want to get into some better-than-normal investment programs with a little bit of a compassion rather than just cash flow.

“With one of my clients wanting to get into short-term accommodation, we chose West Woombye because of its close proximity to the (Nambour) Hospital, and what we’re doing is doing eight fully accessible cabins so people with mobility issues can actually have a break.”

An aerial view of the eight-hectare site.

A town planning report by Town Planning Strategies on behalf of applicant KMD Evolution Pty Ltd, which partners with SuzanneStays, says there would be five 67sqm cabins with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, with the remaining three measuring 53sqm and having two bedrooms and one bathroom.

“The proposal includes the provision of recreation facilities for the exclusive use of visitors,” the report states.

“All buildings associated with proposed short-term accommodation use will be operated by a single entity. There is no proposal to subdivide or otherwise separately title nor does the applicant intend to lease to separate entities.”

Access from Parsons Knob Road would extend via a single access route about 150 metres into the centre of the property.

Looking south-west into the site from Parsons Knob Road. Picture: Google Street View

The proposal includes eight guest parking spaces, one per holiday unit, plus an additional three visitor spaces located along a common access driveway.

“The cabins are basically separate but each one of them is fully accessible, so you can park your car and if they’re in the wheelchair get them out of the vehicle then push them through,” Mr Rossiter said.

“It’ll have verandahs and everything so they can sit up there and overlook the beautiful Sunshine Coast, have a bit of a vacation outside their normal residence or while they’re coming down to work or research or whatever the case might be to, and not live in a hotel that unfortunately doesn’t cater for their needs.”

The material change of use application is subject to code assessment.

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