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Caneland could fall to suburbia

The view from Dunethin Rock looks over caneland and Maroochy River towards Mount Coolum. Photo: Brett Wortman/178881
The view from Dunethin Rock looks over caneland and Maroochy River towards Mount Coolum. Photo: Brett Wortman/178881

Coolum residents have been warned they could have an environmental and social disaster on their doorstep if they do not have their say on the draft South-East Queensland Regional Plan.

Coolum Residents Association vice-president Kerry Goudge said that despite the election campaign, developers were frantically lobbying the major political parties to change the “no go” areas of the plan, particularly in relation to development of flood-prone cane fields.

Ms Goudge said one of the most important documents to come from the government in the last few years, “that will affect how we live”, could too easily be forgotten in the heat of the election battle.

“This draft plan is so important to the Sunshine Coast, and in particular to Coolum, that if residents are not aware of the lobbying that’s going on in George Street, they could end up with an environmental and social disaster right on their doorstep,” she said.

Though the draft plan recommends there should be no further development on the floodplain north of the Maroochy River, particularly the cane fields to the west of the motorway, Ms Goudge says developers “live in the hope” they can change the government’s mind.

“Unless locals who live here and know the consequences, stand up to this short-term thinking, the newly elected government, no matter what persuasion, may just roll over from sheer weight of PR spin doctors and money,” she said.

“This is the best opportunity for Coolum and surrounding areas to show they care about how they live and what is best for this region.”

Ms Goudge said if residents did not support the plan on this issue, big business could destroy the rural landscape, the environment and the opportunity to grow alternative crops.

She said it could turn what was unique into yet another humdrum cheek-by-jowl lifestyle from Brisbane to Noosa non-stop.

“Every ratepayer can do their bit by simply filling out the front of a form which can be down loaded from the CRA website, www.coolumresidents.org, and putting it in an envelope and mailing it to the address shown on the form,” she said.

“This way, whichever government is in power will know how we feel, and so will our council.”

All submissions should be sent to the address shown on the form before April 3. No stamp is required as it is reply paid.


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