Paper to provide State with Coast’s position on managing growth
  • Wednesday 23 July 2008

A paper that outlines the Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s philosophy on sustainable, well planned growth management for population growth on the Coast will be available to the community within the next week.

The Growth Management Position Paper, which was finalised on Monday by Councillors, will be sent to the State Government to inform the South East Queensland Regional Plan, the State’s framework for managing growth in the region currently under review.

The position paper is a summary document which confirms the principles of the Draft Local Growth Management Strategies from the three former Councils. It recognises that more detailed planning and extensive assessment of the residential growth capacity and rate within the urban footprint needs to be undertaken.

Mayor Bob Abbot said that while the document will not be available for formal public comments or submissions, the community are encouraged to review the paper and begin forming an opinion in anticipation of the State’s public review period for the South East Queensland Regional Plan expected to be held later this year.

“This will be our opportunity to provide a formal response to the review,” Cr Abbot said.

“This current process has only allowed us to confirm, with some qualifications, the principles of the former draft Local Growth Management Strategies which were at different stages of development at the time of amalgamation.”

“We have particularly recognised the need to look at how we accommodate growth within the prescribed Urban Footprint.”

Cr Abbot said the position paper provided a framework for future strategic land use planning for the Sunshine Coast. It includes a vision, principles and strategies based on recurrent themes raised by the community during past consultation programs.

“There is no denying that the Sunshine Coast is a great place to live – that’s why we are here. But our popularity has impacts on the liveability and sustainability of the place we call home - we are already feeling and seeing those impacts in areas which range from increased traffic to housing affordability,” Cr Abbot said.

“The challenge of managing high growth that is unplanned and not supported with the appropriate infrastructure has forced this Council to take a tough stance – we need to ensure that population growth comes with the provision of diverse housing, jobs, transport and other infrastructure without imposing significant financial, social or environmental costs on our community.

“This position paper reflects that stance. We are not denying that the Sunshine Coast has the capacity to accommodate growth. However it must be well planned. It must have the right infrastructure on the ground and in place when needed. It must be acceptable to our community. It must be sequenced appropriately. It must be sustainable and climate resilient.

“And finally, it must leave us with a Sunshine Coast that is still a great place to live and a great place to visit.”

The State Government’s review of the South East Queensland (SEQ) Regional Plan 2005 – 2026 intends to extend the planning horizon for the SEQ Regional Plan to 2031 and consider key planning issues for the region.

The position paper has been influenced by this and by the recent release of the SEQ Greenfield Land Supply Review, which aims to increase the short to medium term supply of Greenfield land in South East Queensland by identifying Greenfield sites for priority development. Emerging global issues such as climate change, peak oil, emissions trading and water and food security, have also influenced the position paper.

For the Sunshine Coast, the Greenfield Land Supply Review identifies a number of priority Greenfield sites including Maroochydore, Palmview and Caloundra South.

Council expects the State Government to release the revised SEQ Regional Plan for public comment towards the end of this year.

The Council’s Growth Management Position Paper will be refined to reflect the changes made at Monday’s Council Meeting before being sent to the State Government. It will then also be made available on Council’s website for public perusal.