Community consultation is important
Yaroomba is much loved and fiercely protected by those lucky enough to call it home. One of Yaroomba’s magnificent attributes is the iconic parabolic dune located south of Warragah Parade and directly east of Warran Road.
The parabolic dune is a sand blowout that has migrated inland under the prevailing winds. The advancing nose and trailing arms are stabilised by vegetation. If the vegetation is removed, the parabolic form will be lost due to wind action. Habitat loss will also impact on local species such as the wallum sedge frog and the wallum rocket frog.
That’s why a proposal to build a stage of the Coastal Pathway over the Yaroomba parabolic dune was met with great consternation by local people earlier this year.
At that time, I pledged to work to find an alternative route for the pathway to preserve the natural beauty and integrity of the dune. Now that the new Sunshine Coast council has been elected, it’s time to get down to business to forge a solution.
By way of background, the three previous councils worked together for five years through the Sunshine Coast Regional Organisation of Councils (SunROC) to develop a 96km continuous Coastal Pathway from Bells Creek in Caloundra to Tewantin. The pathway was to be a world-class scenic coastal pathway for walkers and cyclists. It was intended that the pathway would follow the foreshore as much as possible to allow people to enjoy the spectacular amenity of the region.
However, it was not envisaged that the pathway could harm the very environmental values that it sought to explore. Unfortunately, that was the likely outcome at Yaroomba until local people protested loudly.
However, changing that unfortunate destiny for a better one is not so easy to achieve. It will require hard work, cool heads and political will.
The former Maroochy Council required Lend Lease to provide detailed construction plans for the pathway and to fund its design and construction over the dune. This was made a condition of the development approval for the site. Under the development approval, the council was required to obtain the necessary approvals from the relevant state government agencies.
Consequently, and somewhat perversely, it is Lend Lease that will be required to apply for a change to the conditions of the development approval while the council will need to agree to the proposed changes. The council cannot initiate this process.
I am convening a meeting this week between council staff and community group representatives to discuss the most suitable route for the pathway at Yaroomba. The options will be written up as the basis for a community consultation.
Senior council staff and I will also meet with Lend Lease to discuss the community’s desired outcome and to assess the costs and benefits of any changes for Lend Lease, council and the community.
It is my understanding that the community would like the pathway to be routed east along Tanah Street East and then north along the David Low Way to Warragah Parade. I intend to support the community’s preferred outcome.
Following community consultation, a paper about this matter will be presented to the council for consideration. The councillors will then consider this matter and vote on it. Under the current system, the paper could be discussed at three separate meetings over three weeks. I will let you know the dates of these meeting so that you may attend in support of this important cause.