Residents fight to protect land

ALL UP IN THE AIR: An aerial view of the Springfield Ave homes backing on to the sporting fields site on which Sundale wants to build a retirement resort.
ALL UP IN THE AIR: An aerial view of the Springfield Ave homes backing on to the sporting fields site on which Sundale wants to build a retirement resort. Contributed

HE HAS met with residents and the developer, he has inspected the site and has been briefed by council officers yet councillor Steve Robinson still claims he has not made up his mind on the controversial Sundale Coolum retirement resort appeal.

Residents are growing increasingly anxious that his vacillation, or reluctance to share his views, means he and other councillors will settle the Sundale appeal and allow the developer to build 54 independent living units on land adjacent to Stumers Ck.

In December 2010 the previous council refused Sundale's application to build the resort on the former Coolum Touch grounds, designated for sport and recreational use, because residential use was not compliant with Maroochy Plan 2000.

Sundale has appealed the decision but current councillors are considering settling this and, it is believed, other appeals to save costs.

Cr Robinson was not available for comment this week but said last week the residents had given him "plenty of food for thought".

"I have - as well as the rest of council - got a very difficult decision to make," he said

"It will really depend on the information that's provided to us."

Community watchdog Development Watch elected to join the appeal "to represent the community's interest and to support council's decision to refuse the application".

The organisation's project officer for the appeal, Brian Raison, said Sundale's own consultant advised that the area "appears currently oversupplied in 2009, but by 2026 will have a deficiency of some 75 units".

"The clearest evidence of this oversupply is the fact that Sundale has not yet built 21 units in their existing development that were approved 10 years ago," Mr Raison said.

"The future need appears to have dissipated entirely with council's recent approval of 106 independent living units at Pacific Paradise."

He said some councillors did not seem to appreciate the "enormous amount of work done by council staff in lengthy consultation with the Coolum community, to identify the shortage of sports fields".

"This process resulted in council endorsing the Coolum Sports Complex Master Plan less than a year ago," he said.

Development Watch believes some recent decisions by the council have shown a lack of understanding of, and respect for, the planning scheme.

"We hope, in the Sundale matter, councillors vote to continue defending its decision to refuse the application," Mr Raison said.

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