Court may be the last resort as units rejected
DESPITE speculation of a legal challenge in the planning court, Noosa Council has unanimously rejected a two-stage bid to build 58 units of residential and visitor accommodation at Peregian Beach.
Councillors on Thursday voted against the Thomco No 2087 Pty Ltd application on remaining land at the old caravan park site, partly on the grounds that it ignored council's long-held planning strategy that the site should be retained for low-cost visitor accommodation.
Cr Brian Stockwell said: "I think it's a very important decision we make. It's one that's likely to be decided by the (planning and environment) court”.
"This application proposes to change what was low-cost tourist accommodation that is consistent with the village atmosphere that we're trying to create and retain in Peregian ... to ostensibly a suburban development that could go anywhere in Australia,” he said.
The councillors have accepted legal advice from Wakefield Sykes in drawing up its refusal reasons for the two-stage unit complex at Peregian Beach.
Cr Frank Pardon said: "It was a caravan park, we know that and thus you could say they have some grounds for visitor accommodation”. However he said this application was "way over the top”.
Cr Ingrid Jackson supported the refusal and said there had been "a very detailed analysis provided to us for the reason and the rationale for why this particular proposal is not suitable”.
"Meanwhile, we're kind of having a major dysfunction in our resorts in that most of them are body corporates and that means you can't easily upgrade them because body corporates don't want to spend money or vote for improvements”.
She said it was interesting to read (in the applicant's needs assessment) that Peregian Beach resorts' occupancy rates "have been going downhill”.
"The trend has been down compared to the rest of Noosa where the trend is up for accommodation occupancy,” Cr Jackson said.
"I think that probably indicates a lack of upgrading of those particular properties.
"They're suffering the body corporate illness of not being kept up to speed.”