Final vote: Clock ticking for $130m Coast resort bid

A last-ditch effort to push the benefits of a $130m retirement resort bid has failed to change the minds of a Coast council's planning department.

GemLife's proposal for a 246-home retirement village neighbouring the Cooroy Golf Club is recommended for refusal at Thursday's Noosa Council meeting.

Benefits touted by the developer include creating 740 direct and indirect jobs.

But councillors revealed at Tuesday's planning meeting they were still not supportive of it going ahead.

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GemLife also proposes to construct a new golf course club house with car park, dedicated pro shop, restaurant, cafe, function room, outdoor deck and terrace area.

The proposal gained 396 submissions with 348 in support, mainly from golf club and the Noosa World Surf Reserve members.

Councillor Joe Jurisevic said the upgrade and reconfiguration of the golf course was not a good enough reason to approve a project not in line with the Noosa Plan.

Noosa councillors have been recommended to refuse GemLife's development application for a $130 million retirement village at Cooroy.
Noosa councillors have been recommended to refuse GemLife's development application for a $130 million retirement village at Cooroy.

All of the six councillors who attended the planning meeting voted to refuse the application.

GemLife Communities director and CEO Adrian Puljich said the company was "obviously disappointed" but noted a final council decision would be made on Thursday.

In February GemLife "stopped the clock" on the assessment process to allow time to respond to a council report that documented why the project should be rejected.

Documents including an ecological report were handed to the council but they were not enough to change the minds of planning experts.

Mayor Clare Stewart said the staff's recommended refusal was based on a thorough investigation.

"The economic advantages don't outweigh social benefits," Ms Stewart said at Tuesday's planning committee meeting.

The land is in the State Government's urban footprint but it is not in Noosa Council's urban growth boundary.

Councillor Frank Wilkie said the region had enough land in the boundary to accommodate the extra 6400 dwellings needed for population growth to 2041 without approving developments such as GemLife's.

Noosa councillors have been recommended to refuse GemLife’s development application for a $130 million retirement village at Cooroy.
Noosa councillors have been recommended to refuse GemLife’s development application for a $130 million retirement village at Cooroy.

"This is not an aged care facility, it is two to three bed homes with lock up garages," he said.

"It is not a nursing home.

"It links occupants with in-home services and the good news is that this service is available throughout the region already.

Councillor Amelia Lorentson said the blocks at 30, 114, 122 and 144 Myall Street were not intended to be used for high density residential development.

"These 246 dwellings built close to one another with little opportunity for landscaping does not protect the local plan," Ms Lorentson said.

"It is not reflective of the local township of Cooroy."

Thursday's meeting agenda listed 16 reasons for refusal including that it was inconsistent with the local and SEQ Regional Plan and it was not sensitive to ecological and environmental values of the land.

The property is zoned rural residential, which stipulates for lot sizes of 1.5ha.


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