The article below is lifted directly from The Sunshine Coast daily. You can view the original article HERE.
Consistent wet road conditions deterred BeCA Committee members from attending the meeting. With storms and flooding on the horizon it just wasn’t a good night to be travelling!
“INFRASTRUCTURE Minister Stirling Hinchliffe last night ruled out canal development at Caloundra South and said approval for further urban expansion south of Bells Creek would not occur on his watch.
That announcement brought more certainty than responses from Caloundra South developer Stockland, who as late as last Friday when asked whether it was considering canal or lake blocks within the project, said “it is too early for us to provide such detailed information on what the project will look like”.
Mr Hinchliffe was speaking at an OSCAR-hosted forum at the University of the Sunshine Coast, where he received a polite reception from a large crowd of around 300.
However, it was clear the audience was not buying the minister’s rationale for taking planning control for the massive Caloundra South development from Sunshine Coast council.
But while that outcome was not surprising it was also clear that the audience was split on whether that control should be returned to the council.
If the minister has a credibility problem, the council also has work to do to regain the trust of its ratepayers.
But it was the government’s objectives of delivering best practice environmental outcomes to a community that would eventually accommodate 50,000 people while also delivering housing affordable that took the biggest hammering.
Mr Hinchliffe was peppered with questions about environmental protection of Pumicestone Passage, the delivery of infrastructure to support what the meeting dubbed the City of South Caloundra, the size of environmental buffers to the Bruce Highway, and the need for public transport to support the new population from the first stages of the project.
Presenter Caroline Hutchinson dashed from one side of the lecture theatre to the other and back, microphone in hand, as audience members rose to confront the minister.
Mr Hinchliffe promised Caloundra South would be developed as a “15-minute” community where every need was within easy access by foot or public transport and which was self-contained.
He said it would generate its own employment opportunities, set best-practice standards for building design and construction and provide housing that was accessible to a range of income groups.
Just how this utopia will be created may be available for assessment within two to three months. Urban Land Development Authority boss Paul Eagle promised to return in either February or early March to test with the community the implementation process to deliver world’s best practice to Caloundra South.
The meeting for its part overwhelmingly resolved that there should be no State Government or ULDA approval granted to Stockland until the project’s impacts were tested under the Federal Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
It also voted that approval should also be subject to a commitment by Stockland to improve the environment within the development, improve water quality and that development be sequenced to ensure that essential services be funded and on the ground before the next stage starts.
Marc Wilkinson, Stockland’s operation manager, said the developer and the community were not far apart in their aspirations.
He said integrated water management and self-sufficiency to 80% or greater was the company’s aspiration.
OSCAR president Ian Christesen said the key was to introduce sustainability that was demonstrable with measurable outcomes.
“It’s not good enough to just tick the box,” he said.”