Sekisui's $1b project a test for planning scheme
MAYOR Mark Jamieson will not say whether the council will defend its new planning scheme in the face of any application from Sekisui House for an intensive $1 billion development on its 20ha site at Yaroomba.
Cr Jamieson listed discussions with Sekisui House at its Osaka headquarters among his schedule on a recent investment tour of Asia.
"They own substantial property at Yaroomba and they intend to invest considerably on the Sunshine Coast,'' he said.
"There is no plan to council yet but I am anticipating that will come in due course.
"They have an ambitious plan to develop offerings that are consistent with what we'll need when we have an international airport."
Sekisui has, however, made presentations to councillors and Premier Campbell Newman and announced plans for 2300 apartments, 300 homes, a 450-room hotel and 35,000sqm of retail space.
The new planning scheme, four years in the making, was approved immediately prior to Cr Jamieson's tour.
It allows only a continuation of an existing approved master plan for the site, which allowed the removal of the eastern holes of the former Hyatt Coolum Resort golf course and the construction of 450 units.
Development Watch spokesman Brian Raison said Sekisui House would be within the law to apply to vary the planning scheme.
He said the council could approve the development but would need to outline the public interest grounds for doing so.
Mr Raison said such a course would be unusual so soon after the planning scheme's approval.
He warned the council had avoided the public interest test in approving a controversial development by Sundale on sporting fields at Coolum simply by rolling over on appeal and settling the matter behind closed doors.
Mr Raison said there was no discernible difference in the initial application which had been rejected and that which was ultimately approved.
Cr Jamieson said yesterday that Sekisui House was aware of the requirements in the new planning scheme.
He provided no assurance that the council would reject any development of the scale of that proposed.