From The Brisbane Times, see the original article HERE.
State Government Takes Control Of Major Caloundra Development
Daniel Hurst, Oct 5 2010: 11:02am.
A parcel of land on the Sunshine Coast that could accommodate up to 22,000 new homes will be handed over to the state government’s powerful planning body.
Premier Anna Bligh today announced responsibility for planning the Caloundra South area would be transferred to the Urban Land Development Authority.
The Sunshine Coast Regional Council has already been working on a structure plan for the area, but Ms Bligh argued the development process was taking too long and the ULDA needed to take charge.
Caloundra South will join other areas already declared Urban Development Areas, including Bowen Hills, Northshore Hamilton, Fitzgibbon and Woolloongabba in Brisbane.
In these areas the ULDA – instead of council – has taken charge of planning and assessing development applications, and sometimes it also acts as a developer.
Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe last month warned he may intervene in the Caloundra South area by using ministerial powers, including a call-in of the preliminary development approval for a proposed Bellvista Two project.
The threats prompted criticism from the Local Government Association of Queensland, which argued the government would be “playing politics and favouring developers” if it took planning control from the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.
Ms Bligh said today Caloundra South had been identified for development for many years and locals were missing out on housing and job opportunities while it remained in the planning process.
“Every day that Caloundra South sits in a planning in-tray is a day without construction jobs on the Sunshine Coast,” she told State Parliament.
Ms Bligh said the area had the potential to accommodate 22,000 homes but the state government wanted at least a third of the land to be dedicated to open space and environmental protection.
She said the Sunshine Coast should not “be a regional area where only the wealthy can afford to live”.
She called for “rapid progress”, saying she wanted early construction work to begin in the first quarter of next year and the planning process to be completed within a year.
Ms Bligh said she hoped the local council would view the “opportunity” positively and work with the ULDA to develop the site.