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JANUARY 2011

SPECIAL EDITION

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foreword s one of the fastest growing regions in the country, the Sunshine Coast is faced with a number of ongoing property-related challenges, namely balancing biodiversity and sustainability with growth and infrastructure. These factors influence the way locals live, work and play on the Sunshine Coast. As the leading real estate publication in the region, My Property Preview (MPP) extensively covers a broad range of relative topics each and every week throughout its editorial sections to keep the local community educated and informed on how these issues affect property and lifestyle on the Coast. In 2010, MPP was recognized for its journalistic excellence and contributions to the real estate industry by winning the Real Estate Industry Queensland (REIQ) ‘Best Real Estate Report’, beating esteemed mediums such as Channel 10 and Courier Mail in the process. Since its inception in August 2008, MPP has set a benchmark for property publishing in Australia, and has become renowned for its balanced and well-researched reporting. As a Sunshine Coast-specific publication, MPP continually keeps abreast of developing community-based issues relating to property and references the Sunshine Coast Council as a resource on related matters. MPP continues to investigate and raise issues with Sunshine Coast Council on strategy and implementation, to ensure fair and balanced reporting for current and future generations on the Coast.

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Harrison JadeEditor he Sunshine Coast Council is committed to achieving Council and the community’s vision for the Sunshine Coast to be ‘Australia’s most sustainable region: vibrant, green and diverse’. Our focus over the past 18 months has been on developing a series of key policy documents to guide how the Sunshine Coast looks, feels and grows into the future. This work has now laid a solid foundation to help us realise our community’s vision for a sustainable future. Strategies on economic development, affordable living, biodiversity, climate change and peak oil and waste minimisation have all been finalised. These strategies now provide the building blocks for the Sunshine Coast to grow as a prosperous and affordable region which values its rich natural assets and its unique lifestyle qualities. Other key foundation documents are also nearing completion including the Sunshine Coast Community Plan and a range of strategies on sustainable transport, energy transition, waterways and coastal foreshores, social infrastructure, open space and sport and recreation facilities. At the same time, we have continued to invest in the development of our urban centres. Developing structure plans for Palmview, Maroochydore, Caloundra South, and Kawana Town Centre (including the Sunshine Coast University Hospital precinct) have been central to our efforts. These developments will generate significant employment and business investment opportunities and play a key role in building a robust economy. The communities in these areas will house an estimated 70,000 new residents, having a lasting impact on our region. It is essential that they incorporate excellence in urban design, energy and water efficiency, public and alternative transport options and protection of ecologically sensitive areas and ultimately become self-contained communities where residents can live, learn, work and play. Having laid this strong foundation for the making of our region, we are now focussed on delivering our vision for the Sunshine Coast. Projects such as improvements to public transport services, the redevelopment of the Sunshine Coast Airport terminal, the Noosa Transit Centre, Stockland Park Stadium and the completion of the multi million dollar Connecting the Coast high speed broadband project are just some of the ways we are already delivering the vision. The vision for the Sunshine Coast is at the heart of the community – it emphasises the point of difference for the Sunshine Coast from other major coastal regions. It embodies the values of the region and it enhances the liveability and vitality of the region. Over the coming years, other new and exciting projects will be delivered. These efforts will continue to focus on building jobs and skills, diversifying the economy, creating vibrant and prosperous urban centres, improving opportunities for affordable living, delivering infrastructure to support growth, enhancing our ecosystems and creating healthy and active communities. There are still many challenges ahead for our region. The keys to our future success will be based on collaboration, commitment and partnerships. Across the region all need to work together – business, industry, the education sector, government, and the community – to become strong partners to chart our economic future and gain a competitive edge. It is essential that the Sunshine Coast builds on its natural advantage to become a successful lifestyle region, a place to invest and grow business and a recognised leader in sustainability.

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John Knaggs, CEO, Sunshine Coast Council

Sponsored by My Property Preview is an award-winning, weekly real estate magazine that is created, published and distributed on the Sunshine Coast. The magazine features a range of in-depth property-related stories covering topics such as affordability, development, infrastructure, building and general industry-based subjects. In 2010, My Property Preview was awarded the coveted Real Estate Institute of Queensland’s (REIQ) award for Best Real Estate Report. On the principal of balanced journalism and unbiased reporting, the Sunshine Coast Council was questioned on a number of ongoing topics and projects and as a result was featured in a wide range of published work during the year. This special edition of My Property Preview was commissioned by the Sunshine Coast Council. It is a collation of previously published work, which covers a range of projects and topics undertaken by the council and the community during 2010.

CONTENTS 3 Maroochydore PAC Please dispose of My Property Preview responsibly, by recycling it after use. The paper used in this magazine is produced from responsible sources under the PEFC chain of custody certification programme and is fully recyclable.

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32 Palmview 43 Sunshine Coast Airport

18 Kawana & hospital

48 Council’s vision

23 Caloundra South

57 Sustainability

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FRIDAY, 12 MARCH 2010

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AIM FOR THE CENTRE What’s the plan for the new Maroochydore PAC?

ISSUE 81

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| HINTERLAND & MORE

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cover story

Prime target by Julie Gatehouse

It’s time to have a say on how Maroochydore will develop into the Coast’s ‘capital’. We examine the new plan in part one of this infrastructure update.

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The boosts in employment, economy and lifestyle, along with increased services and amenity, are expected to

generate real estate heat

removal of energy-efficiency requirements. “Horton Park Golf Course remains the crux of this redevelopment,” says Ron Piper, the council’s project director of urban development. The plan designates 32 hectares, or 60 per cent, of the course’s 53 hectares for mixed development – retail and office space, apartments and community facilities – with the remaining 21 hectares kept as public open space. That can only start to happen after the golf club sells the site, though. The club intends to use the money to help pay for its relocation to a 185-hectare site at Kunda Park/Forest Glen. “The club is still in the due diligence phase with Lend Lease Development about the project,” Ron says. Club relocation director Tony Nicholson last year said Lend Lease was doing new valuations and revising budgets based on council documents. Overall, the new Structure Plan covers almost 206 hectares in the heart of Maroochydore, roughly bounded by Maroochy Boulevard, Maroochydore Road, Horton Parade, Aerodrome Road, Maud Street, Sugar Road and the Sunshine Motorway. It’s designed to make the most of existing and proposed waterways such as Cornmeal Creek and Maud Canal and aims to create 29,500 jobs by allocating 150,000 square metres of new commercial floor space and 65,000 square metres of new retail floor space by 2031. Among the new shops and offices will be community facilities including a regional arts and entertainment centre, public amphitheatre, civic plaza and regional library (See yellow sections on map).

Raul Weychardt, the council’s project director of regional strategy, told business people at last week’s Maroochydore Chamber of Commerce meeting that the vision is for a “prosperous and dynamic environment that creates knowledge-based jobs, contributes to economic self-containment of the region and generates a diversity of employment for future generations”. Raul says a PAC is expected to accommodate concentrations of employment,

The vision is for a prosperous and dynamic environment that creates knowledge-based jobs, contributes to economic self-containment of the region and generates a diversity of employment for future generations

or anyone wanting to live, work, shop, eat, relax or be entertained in Maroochydore in coming decades, this is the map for you. Take a close look if you want to know where new homes may be built, how close you may live to new community facilities or whether there’ll be new waterfront parkland, shops or public transport near your existing investment property. It’s part of a new blueprint to kick off Maroochydore’s revitalisation. Residents, investors and visitors can see the different land uses of the future, from open space to apartment and office buildings, and proposed infrastructure including transit and arts centres. Property market commentators have been eagerly awaiting its implementation. The boosts in employment, economy and lifestyle, along with increased services and amenity, are expected to generate real estate heat. This Structure Plan for the Sunshine Coast’s principal activity centre (PAC) to the year 2031 went on public display on Tuesday and will be dissected by land owners, potential developers and the public during the consultation period until April 21. It outlines what should be done and where, according to the Sunshine Coast Regional Council with input from public submissions and the Queensland Government. This plan builds on the council’s Position Paper released last year, getting down to the nittygritty of detail. While the council is happy the Infrastructure and Planning minister, Stirling Hinchliffe, has supported most of the earlier document on Maroochydore, it is concerned about infrastructure ambiguities and the

major retailing, regional offices for government and significant health, education, cultural and entertainment facilities. The master planning caters for both major existing shopping precincts. Ron from the council says it doesn’t change the parameters for the long-touted transformation of the Big Top, on the corner of Ocean Street and Duporth Avenue. “The development application lodged by Reed Property Group (in

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cover story

Have your say on the Structure Plan for Maroochydore by April 21 and for Palmview by April 19. Go to www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.

December 2008) would still fit within the current Structure Plan,” he says. The application involves a multistorey, residential-retail-office development. However, the complication may be Reed’s expected sale of the site. The company is understood to still be negotiating with big national property developers. A proposed multi-million-dollar expansion of Sunshine Plaza may face some changes. Lend Lease Retail last year said it was working with stakeholders on future plans. Shoppers have been waiting for confirmation that David Jones is joining the Coast’s biggest shopping centre, but the council has not received a development application that identifies it. Now Ron says most of the Structure Plan’s additional retail floor space is distributed on the Horton Park site. “The Plaza can still expand, but there’s no more provision for another department store there, for example,” he says. Those who are eyeing Maroochydore for its new housing will be spoilt for choice, with 4000 additional “dwelling units” spread across the centre – half to the east on the Horton Park site and the rest as infill or along newer greenfield areas such as Dalton Drive. Most of the apartment blocks and townhouses will form part of mixed-use precincts. (See brown and pink sections on map.) A prime example is Chardan’s Sunshine Cove to the west, where Reed is selling units in its Emporio development and expects to start

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The new Structure Plan covers almost

206 hectares in the heart of Maroochydore It aims to create

29,500 jobs by allocating 150,000 sqm of new commercial floor space and 65,000 sqm of new retail floor space by 2031

Some sustainable design principles may exceed Building Code regulations, but they’re meant to reduce the Coast’s ecological footprint and energy and water consumption while increasing renewable energy production and the use of public transport. Ron Piper, project director of urban development, Sunshine Coast Regional Council construction within months. The council has not included any new detached properties in the Structure Plan’s residential component because of the densities required to house the region’s increasing population. The 4000 units could boost the number of Maroochydore residents by more than 8000 by 2031. Although the council’s original, broader Position Paper factored in 6000 dwellings, Ron says the number was reduced to match the council rules and community desires for the more defined Structure Plan area. “We had to work within height limits [maximum of 10 storeys only in certain sections] and the developable area,” he says. Ron points out that previous public submissions and council decisions opposed raising building heights or decreasing open space. The plan also mandates subtropical designs in general, to “embrace Maroochydore’s unique coastal and waterfront qualities”. That’s why the council is not happy with the State Minister’s decision to remove additional energy-efficiency requirements for buildings. Ron says some of the sustainable design principles may exceed Building Code

regulations, but they’re meant to reduce the Coast’s “ecological footprint and energy and water consumption” while increasing renewable energy production and the use of public transport. The council also wants the Minister to ensure that appropriate state infrastructure will be provided before or at the same time that developments get underway. So how exactly will all these new residents, workers, shoppers and recreational visitors be getting around the new Maroochydore? (See ‘T’ on map.) Not by car, if the council can help it. Besides a variety of pedestrian paths and on-road bikeways, a big transit centre and interchange will be built south of Carnaby Street. It will link various forms of public transport and new roads from outside the area, as well as a possible ‘loop’ of people movers similar to light rail within the centre, although this is not specified in the layout of the Structure Plan. Ron says transport infrastructure is vital to enable Maroochydore to become a vibrant and sustainable community. It wants the State to commit to a second access point from the Sunshine Motorway into the suburb, via an interchange and road connecting to Dalton Drive in the south. continued over >

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How does the overall plan become reality? By June 22 the council must have reviewed public submissions and amended the Structure Plan, which is then re-submitted to Stirling Hinchliffe. He will reconsider State interests before directing the council to adopt the final Structure Plan by July 13. On August 2, the council is expected to adopt this final result. As the council’s acting regional manager for economic development, Libby Wherrett asserts that’s when it’s up to land owners, developers, investors and the construction industry to step in. Libby described to the Maroochydore Chamber how the council’s economic development strategy is aiming to work on different levels to encourage business and industry success. “The first layer is our core business of planning, assessing and funding,” she said. “The second includes working with industry on initiatives to diversify the economy. The third is advocacy for high-level regional projects such as the new hospital at Kawana and transport corridors at Maroochydore and elsewhere.” Part 2: What’s next for Palmview and Caloundra South?

Statutory timeline for Maroochydore PAC Structure Plan The statutory timeframes for Maroochydore’s declared master-planned area are as follows: Master Planned Area Declaration 18 December 2009.

Aug 2010

Jul 2010

May 2010

13 Jul Minister reconsiders State interests and directs Council to adopt plan

Jun 2010

22 Jun SCRC reviews submissions, prepares submissions report and amends plan

9 Mar - 21 Apr Public notification period of 30 business days

Apr 2010

9 Mar SCRC to amend plan as directed by Minister and prepare for public notification Mar 2010

Feb 2010

9 Feb Council amends draft plan and submits proposed plan to Minister

24 Feb Minister to reconsider amended plan and direct Council to publicly notify

2 Aug Council to adopt plan

Economic Development Strategy 2010-2014

The strategy will drive long term, productive investment in businesses and sectors that will create jobs and support the lifestyle for which the region is renowned. Visit www.business.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au for more details on the strategy. 6 My Property Preview

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY

2010-2014

00024 12/10

Building a robust economy can (and does) go hand in hand with achieving a sustainable region – and this is what council’s Economic Development Strategy 2010-2014 is all about.

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FRIDAY, 28 MAY 2010

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HOW HIGH IS HIGH? How many storeys should a 40-metre high-rise have? MPP investigates both sides of the story

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cover story

Tall storeys by Julie Gatehouse

MPP asks developers and council why building heights may make or break the new Maroochydore in part one of this two-part series.

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The council says its attitude towards heights in Maroochydore has been consistent and carried through since last year’s broader Maroochydore Centre Position Paper. “It’s easier for people to perceive a height in storeys as opposed to metres and the community understands this 10-storey limit,” says Tamara Clarkson of the council’s planning branch. “Building height and design rules aim to provide for everything from better amenity in each unit to a pleasant and habitable streetscape, as well as a dynamic and varied skyline,” she adds.

The council says its draft Plan is trying to cater for future variables, from stricter energy efficiencies to businesses changing hands, while ensuring attractive amenity

hen is a storey not a storey? When it’s in dispute between the people paying to build it and the people employed to plan it. Some developers are now telling Sunshine Coast Regional Council that key issues relating to building heights could derail Maroochydore’s revitalisation, affecting new housing and economic growth. But how? According to the proposed Structure Plan for more than 200 hectares in the heart of Maroochydore, no building will be higher than 10 storeys, or 40 metres. The council says the cap reflects community wishes. It has until June 22 to examine all recent feedback before sending the Plan to the State Government for final consideration. However, developers say a raft of complex technicalities around the 10-storey limit will affect design and viability so seriously that investors will back away. Developers generally accept the 40-metre limit, but point out it’s much lower than existing buildings around Maroochydore. And the big problem is that with only 10 storeys in a 40-metre building, developers won’t be able to squeeze as many units into the one development and will struggle to create affordable housing. “Under the previous rules we could fit up to 14 storeys within the 40-metre height limit, so it’s frustrating because we’re moving backwards,” says Mark van Wyk, president of the Coast branch of the Urban Development Institute of Australia. “The proposed Plan is far too prescriptive and it’s difficult for the community to understand the implications of the new level of detail. What will our collective legacy be in 20 years when Maroochydore has not developed to its full potential?”

The ongoing conflict may be bemusing for residents and business people – along with potential home buyers. After years of drafts, false starts and council amalgamation, the Coast is tantalisingly close to nailing down the blueprint for what’s effectively our ‘capital city’. Designated as the Coast’s principal activity centre (PAC) in planning until 2031, Maroochydore is to have 4000 new residential units, extensive commercial, retail and recreational precincts, government and community facilities such as an arts and entertainment centre, plenty of open

DEFINITIONS Height means the total height of a building or other structure measured in metres and storeys from the minimum habitable floor level. Maximum height of habitable storey is the maximum height measured in metres from the minimum habitable floor level to the floor level of the highest storey comprising a habitable room in a building. Storey means a space within a building which is situated between one floor level and the floor level above, including a mezzanine level, or if there is no floor level above, the ceiling or roof above, but not a space containing only the following: (a) a lift shaft, stairway or meter room, (b) a lift motor, air-conditioning or other mechanical or electrical plant at roof top level. According to the Maroochydore Structure Plan (www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au)

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The council is considering these suggestions, endorsements and criticisms, which include detailed submissions by land

owners, community and environmental groups and

industry bodies

space networks and more public transport. This is all outlined in the council’s Maroochydore Structure Plan, which received more than 400 submissions by last month’s deadline for consultation with the public and industry. The council is now considering these suggestions, endorsements and criticisms, which include detailed submissions by land owners, community and environmental groups and industry bodies such as the UDIA. Several stakeholders have aired their concerns, such as probable locations for a David Jones department store and the revamp of the Big Top Shopping Centre. Council has now decided to employ an independent architect to test its controversial new rules regarding building heights. “This will effectively road-test the new proposals,” says Tamara, who’s co-ordinating the Maroochydore project within council. So where is the height debate happening? Looking at Map 5.5 in the Plan (visit www. sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/addfiles/documents/ mar_pac/Map_5_5.pdf), there are large zones for six-storey buildings (coloured dark grey) and 10-storey buildings (in red). The tallest buildings are allowed in the centre – south of Plaza Parade and on the current Horton Park Golf Course – and north to the government and Ocean Street precincts adjoining Maroochydore Beach. Most of these are mixed-use, which generally means retail, dining or entertainment at ground level, then commercial use such as offices and/or residential units stretching up for the views and prestige. So how high is a 10-storey building? That’s where the difficulties begin. According to the Plan, buildings can’t go past 40 metres. However, storeys vary in height depending on their uses, from under three metres for a unit to more than four metres for a medical office, for example. The Plan’s three-metre floor-to-floor height minimum for units is more airy than the previously accepted 2.75-metre minimum. “Therefore the 40-metre limit is misleading because a residential building would reach only 30 metres (three metres x 10 storeys),” says Mark van Wyk of the UDIA. “This compares to the previous Maroochy plan, where we could put up to 14 residential storeys and stay under the 40-metre limit. When combined with other new provisions,

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cover story Maximum height of habitable storeys (metres)

Height Building height areas

Precinct ¹

Height in storeys

Height in metres

Commercial use & mixed use building

Residential use building

6 storey (Health Hub) 6 storey 4 storey

6

30

22.5

N.A.

6 4

25 16

18 11.5

16 10

2. Dalton Drive West

4 storey 6 storey

4 6

16 25

11.5 18

10 16

3. Dalton Drive South

4 storey

4

16

11.5

10

4. Aerodrome Road Precinct²

4 storey 6 storey

4 6

11.5 25

11.5 18

10 16

10 >2500m² 6 <2500m²

40

31

28

10 storey

25

18

16

6. Ocean Street Precinct

10 storey

10

40

31

28

7. Maroochydore North Precinct

6 storey 4 storey 3 storey

6 4 3

25 16 12

18 11.5 8

16 10 8

1. Health Precinct

5. Government Precinct

8. Maroochy Boulevard Precinct

6 storey

6

25

18

16

9. Plaza Parade Precinct

6 storey 10 storey

6 10

25 40

18 31

16 28

10. Sunshine Plaza Precinct

6 storey

6

25

18

16

11. Maroochydore Central Precinct (including sub-precincts)

10 storey 6 storey 4 storey

10 6 4

40 25 16

31 18 11.5

28 16 10

Column 3 Minimum floor to floor level (metres)

Column 1 Storey

Column 2 Description of building

Ground

Mixed use building and commercial use (including car parks)

3.8

Building in the Health Hub

4.5

Building in the Dalton Drive South Precinct and Residential Sub-precinct of the Maroochydore Central Precinct Above ground

Source: Sunshine Coast Regional Council

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should council planners dictate to the community these constraints when no other regional area has them?” The UDIA says the changes are rare in Queensland and in excess of the federal Building Code of Australia. The council says the Plan will boost the variety and amount of housing in

Under the previous rules we could fit up to 14 storeys within the 40-metre height limit, so it’s frustrating because we’re moving backwards

a typical building under this Plan will lose three or four storeys compared to the current standards we are working with in Maroochydore.” (See diagram on the next page.) With each storey equalling millions of dollars in unit sales for an investor or rent revenue for a commercial landlord, Mark says it’s certainly not the way to attract investment. “All of these new provisions may end up adding over $100,000 to the cost of buying a unit in Maroochydore, which is unacceptable for this region.” The UDIA says the Plan needs to promote jobs to address the Coast construction industry’s unemployment rate of three times the national average. Reed Property Group general manager of development Carl Nancarrow believes the proposed Plan is reducing potential housing supply in a CBD that already has infrastructure and public transport. “This Plan seems illogical because the fewer people that live in the CBD, the more pressure will be added to urban sprawl,” Carl says. “When we look at affordability, is every buyer prepared to pay tens of thousands of dollars extra per unit? History tells us the market does not. Why

Maroochydore, meet growth targets set by the State Government and increase the total number of jobs to 29,500 by 2031, through allocating 150,000 square metres of new commercial floor space and 65,000 square metres of new retail floor space. It says the new building design rules aim to balance the functions required of a principal activity centre with human

3

Commercial use (including car parks)

3.3

Building in the Health Precinct

4.3

Mixed use building comprising a commercial use

3.3

Mixed use building comprising a residential use

3

Building in the Dalton Drive South Precinct and Residential Sub-precinct of the Maroochydore Central Precinct

3

needs, while reinforcing the Coast’s character and amenity. Tamara says, “It’s now common practice for residential buildings to have three-metre floor-to-floor heights – it’s actually mandated for unit developments under NSW Planning Policy. The measure is made up of 2.7 metres of actual living space plus 0.3 metres for the floor slab, beams and ducting.” (See diagram.) She says the more generous storey heights support sustainability goals. For example, in a residential unit, when added to other design measures like orientation, the extra height can boost the amount of daylight and reduce electricity use. It can also allow for future changes in use, particularly in mixed-use precincts at ground level. In essence, the council says its draft Plan is trying to cater for all future variables, from stricter household energy efficiencies to businesses changing hands, while ensuring attractive amenity. Planning staff accept that as a result of an earlier legal ruling, up to 14 storeys were possible in 40-metre residential buildings because of ambiguity under the former Maroochy Plan 2000. They

acknowledge that storeys will be sacrificed under the proposed rules. But they say it’s a new era of certainty and the amalgamated council is responding to previous anti-high-rise sentiment in the wider community. “On that basis of achieving 10 storeys, it’s true we have proposed more prescriptive controls than in the Maroochy Plan 2000, and this will result in reduced yields,” says Tamara. How high is high-rise? Definitions differ according to locations, but in Maroochydore it’s generally accepted that medium-intensity development finishes about six storeys and highintensity starts at seven. Yet the tallest towers in Maroochydore, both in Duporth Avenue, are Northcliffe at 53 metres and Banyandah at 51 metres. Both are 16 storeys. Meanwhile, the roof height of Q1, the world’s tallest five-star resort, is 275 metres above the Gold Coast. The UDIA uses such comparisons to show that new buildings under the Structure Plan will be a lot shorter than established buildings. It questions the continued over >

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cover story < from overleaf

logic, saying that central business districts typically have the highest densities and heights which then taper down to single dwellings in the suburbs. “We all agree we don’t want another Gold Coast here, but we need to put the height debate in context,” says Mark. Tamara recalls joining councillors on a field trip to the Emporium precinct in inner Brisbane. “Walking around, there was high glazing and a really nice human scale at that ground level,” she says. “We want Maroochydore to have a quality look and feel while retaining the Sunshine

Coast character. That’s partly why we nominated more generous storey heights and more mixed-use.” However, she stresses the Structure Plan is still in draft form. “This is exactly why it goes out for public comment, so staff can get feedback and present a report to council for any amendments.” But wait, there’s more to the building height debate. For developers, another spanner in the works is a new rule specifying “maximum habitable floor height”. It allows a 12-metre gap between the floor of the top storey and the

Maximum building height

40-metre maximum. The UDIA says that compounds the storey constraints, effectively dropping the maximum building height to just 30 metres. Council says the gap is intended to accommodate all the equipment that normally goes on top of taller buildings, such as air-conditioning units and lift shafts. It’s also designed to encourage architectural creativity while staying under the 40-metre mark. “The gap allows for rooftop gardens, pools or other elements to improve the visuals as well as the experience for

tenants,” says Tamara. It targets the previous practice of extra storeys being “crammed in”, leaving rooftop plant and equipment extending above 40 metres. “Council wants to allow different rooflines – atriums, domes, angles – that suit a subtropical climate and encourage a new character for Maroochydore,” she says. Mark and Carl say developers can create architecturally designed buildings to suit the property market without the prescriptive new council rules. Part two continues next week.

Breakdown of building structure s!CCOMMODATESALLSTRUCTURES

The top: s4HE@SKYLINEnWHATSSEENFROMAFAR s4HEARCHITECTURALEXPRESSION s3ERVICESAND0LANT s2EDUCETHECAPACITYTO@CRAMSTOREYS

s6ARIESINRELATIONTOPRECINCT METRESnSTOREYS METRESnSTOREYS METRESnSTOREYS METRESnSTOREYS

The middle: s3UFlCIENTmOOR TO mOORHEIGHTSTOSUIT THEUSE

s.OTHINGOVERTHISHEIGHT Source: Sunshine Coast Regional Council

The podium: s)NCLUDESGROUNDLEVEL s$ElNESTHESCALEOFTHESTREETnTHAT PARTOFABUILDINGTHATIS@EXPERIENCED ATSTREETLEVEL s0ROVIDESVISUALCONTACTWITHSTREETLEVEL s3UITEDTOOFlCES CARPARKINGANDSOME RETAILORENTERTAINMENT Source: Sunshine Coast Regional Council

Current Maroochy Plan 40-metre height limit

#URRENTPLANNINGSCHEMEACCEPTANCE

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0ROPOSEDSTRUCTUREPLAN

Source: UDIA

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FRIDAY, 4 JUNE 2010

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CITY LIMITS The complications involved with creating the Coast’s new Principal Activity Centre

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cover story

Building a city PART 2

by Julie Gatehouse

Council and developers are busy nutting out details of the plan for a rejuvenated Maroochydore. MPP takes a look in part two of this series. hen potential buyers wander around a new unit to “get a feel for the place”, most have no clue about the hundreds of intricate design rules that the developer has had to follow to build it. Most buyers don’t care, as long as the unit matches their expectations of a dream home or lucrative investment. They can admire the spaciousness or the balcony view without worrying how the specifications, orientation or measurements were decided. But some Coast land owners and developers are warning the property market and business sector that onerous new details and requirements in the proposed new Maroochydore Structure Plan may at best delay, at worst destroy, attempts to kick-start the Coast’s new high-density heart. “The regression in the Maroochydore planning framework is of great concern to the industry because it will render development non-viable and unattractive to potential investors,” says Mark van Wyk, president of the Coast branch of the Urban Development Institute of Australia.

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It’s a warning for people wanting to live, work or play in a rejuvenated Maroochydore. From surrounding property owners and potential buyers to real estate agents and business people, there’s a longing for an injection of investment, both residential and commercial, into the area destined to become our Principal Activity Centre. Last week representatives from the Maroochydore Chamber of Commerce, Reed Property Group, two branches of Lend Lease and Horton Park Golf Club took their concerns to Sunshine Coast Regional Council. Councillor Russell Green, whose portfolio is statutory and regional planning, says the meeting was beneficial. “We want to set a clear framework for Maroochydore,” he says. “The best encouragement the council can give investors is for the Structure Plan to provide certainty – for the development industry, the financiers and the end users.” Russell says benefits will include ease of application and faster approvals. “Have we got everything right? Not yet. There is probably some tweaking to do so this document gives

The Plan encourages

highintensity, mixed-use development with permanent residential, offices and

The Big Top

retail.

application also activates street and waterside frontages

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confidence to the market of what can realistically be delivered.” A presentation by Reed Property Group general manager of development Carl Nancarrow named prominent buildings in the Maroochydore CBD that he believes would be refused under the Structure Plan. They included M1, Platinum, Aurora, Waves and Riva. “These buildings demonstrate the vision the council wants – mixed use, active street frontages, restaurants and cafes – but this Plan wouldn’t allow them to be built,” Carl says. Russell acknowledges concerns about design and construction specifics such as building heights, size and shape. “We have listened to some extremely detailed submissions and, with guidance from a range of professionals, [we realise] the document may need some modifications.” The council has until June 22 to consider changes and send its final Plan to the State Government. There is widespread support for the intent of the Structure Plan, to add 4000 new residential units and extensive commercial, retail and recreational precincts to 200 hectares including the existing Horton Park Golf Course. But developers say the issues are threatening to overwhelm the intent. The 40-metre/10-storey building height rule, as outlined in part one of this MPP series, is the start of the technical difficulties. According to Carl, it’s just one of the prescriptive new rules that, in combination, could put the kibosh on significant redevelopments. The Big Top is a practical example. In December 2008, land owner Reed lodged an application with the council to transform the iconic but ageing shopping centre on the corner of Ocean Street and Duporth Avenue. The vision was a sustainable, multi-storey development mixing residential, retail and offices over three hectares. Reed, which has developed on the Coast for 23 years, aligned with the subtropical theme preferred by the community and council. The ‘green’ design ranged from high-rise rooftop gardens and five-star Green Star commercial offices to walkable waterfront precincts along Cornmeal Creek to the rivermouth. Hopes of starting construction this year were thwarted in 2009 when Reed decided to sell the site after losing its equity partner, the US investment bank Lehman Brothers, to the global financial crisis.

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cover story

The development and construction sector is the largest contributor to the Sunshine Coast economy but we have an unemployment rate of 15 per cent, which is three times the national average

Mark van Wyk, president of the Coast branch of the Urban Development Institute of Australia

Artists impression of proposed mixed-use development. Internal street view south towards Cornmeal Creek After negotiating with major national property developers, Reed is now in due diligence with a likely buyer. Regardless of that outcome, Carl wants people to realise the application before council may be hamstrung by new technical rules in the proposed Structure Plan. “I’m convinced the Maroochydore community and the council want this type of development, which is cosmopolitan with a strong coastal feel,” he says. “But there are

The council vigorously supports a Maroochydore that prioritises pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users over private motorists

just too many elements that wouldn’t meet approval under the council’s new Plan.” He says a developer would have to either go back to the drawing board or spend an inordinate amount of time, money and effort to alter designs. “Inevitably, this could mean tens of thousands of dollars in extra costs passed on to each home buyer or commercial investor. Imagine how that will affect housing affordability and economic growth.” Tamara Clarkson of the council’s planning branch says the new rules wouldn’t change the

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Developers say the 10-storey building limit is

“the most inefficient” for construction costs

broad parameters for the long-touted transformation of the Big Top. “The intent of the application suits what the council envisages for the Ocean Street precinct under the proposed Plan,” she says. “The Plan encourages high-intensity, mixeduse development with permanent residential, offices and retail. The Big Top application also activates street and waterside frontages.” Tamara acknowledges areas of conflict. “But it’s certainly not the council’s intention to rule out this type of development or stifle any investment,” she says. “It’s about keeping the character of the Coast, making adjustments to get the best design outcomes.” She says council officers from both the planning and development application branches will now workshop the complex issues in further detail with industry representatives. Russell says the Big Top should be one of the points of interest in a new “urban experience” in Maroochydore, involving public space, interaction and mobility between retail centres. “It will also give another housing product, different to what the Coast is used to, and the community needs to be ready for that diversity in order to achieve affordability.” He mentions inventive, functional designs for one and two-bedroom units. MPP gets a little more insight into details now being debated behind closed doors:

Cost of building, 10-storey structures Developers say the 10-storey building limit is “the most inefficient” for construction costs. For example, a 10-storey building requires the same fire engineering systems as a 20-storey building but has far fewer unit owners to pay for it and spread the expense. Similarly, there are poor cost-per-floor ratios for emergency

generators, types of elevators, scaffolding, form work, cranes and concrete pumps. Council staff are aware that 10 storeys are less economical and that the development industry generally prefers more than 12 storeys. “Technically these things are correct and there are new Building Code of Australia requirements with respect to fire safety,” says Tamara. “Councillors can decide if they wish to retain 10 storeys to maintain the overall character or if they wish to alter that for economic reasons.”

How much yield? When a company contemplates developing a big portion of land, the bottom line is yield – how many homes or how much commercial/ industrial floor space they can fit on the site. The yield helps determine how much revenue they can retrieve from the outlay. From a buyer’s perspective, this conclusion directly affects the range of options and sale prices. The Structure Plan proposes a mix of uses in various Maroochydore precincts. For example, Ocean Street requires a maximum 60 per cent split of residential and 40 per cent of commercial in a building. “In the past, the Maroochy Plan 2000 did not prescribe a certain mix of uses in this way,” Tamara says. Developers say more residential housing is needed to improve affordability. “The Structure Plan will result in up to a 57 per cent reduction in housing supply to infill areas in the existing CBD,” Carl says. The council acknowledges that the new mix of uses, when combined with the height limits, will mean reduced residential yield generally in Maroochydore, but says the aim is for greater diversity and economic growth. It disputes the 57 per cent figure. continued over >

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cover story < from overleaf

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

The fat and the skinny of plot ratio

The best encouragement the council can give investors is for the Structure Plan to provide certainty â&#x20AC;&#x201C; for the development industry, the ďŹ nanciers and the end users

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

Plot ratio is a planning measurement to define what the gross floor area of a building can be. Carl cites Duporth Avenueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plot ratio of three. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you want to develop a 10,000-square metre site, you multiply the site area by three. That means you can produce 30,000 square metres of gross floor area.â&#x20AC;? Therefore, plot ratio determines the density of an area. Carl says the ratio is fine in isolation, but when coupled with the councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new storey restrictions will encourage fatter, shorter buildings that take up more space on the ground and damage amenity. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Developers obviously want to get that allowable gross floor area on the site. If they canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t spread it over additional storeys, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll leave a bigger footprint.â&#x20AC;? However, the council plan also adds a 30-metre maximum width for buildings. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think any high-rise building on the Coast would be under 30 metres in width,â&#x20AC;? Carl says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The more you look into these rules, the harder it gets to work out what the council will approve.â&#x20AC;?

The Structure Plan will result in up to a 57%

reduction in housing supply to inďŹ ll areas in the existing CBD

Seeing the light The Structure Plan contains an extensive double-column list â&#x20AC;&#x201C; on one side are Specific Outcomes and on the other are Acceptable

Artists impression of proposed mixed-use development on Cornmeal Creek.

Councillor Russell Green, Sunshine Coast Regional Council Solutions. The council says the outcomes are broad principles that developers should follow, such as â&#x20AC;&#x153;optimises accessibility to public transport and employmentâ&#x20AC;? or â&#x20AC;&#x153;avoids undesirable visual and noise impacts on urban open spaceâ&#x20AC;?. It says the solutions are not mandatory â&#x20AC;&#x201C; they are simply examples of how developers can meet outcomes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Basically the solutions are an easy way to get a tick,â&#x20AC;? says Tamara. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Developers are free to do something different, as long as they can demonstrate how the outcome is achieved.â&#x20AC;? Developers, however, say the unnecessary and restrictive detail will result in more red tape and consequent time delays. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In reality, history has shown the council considers those the best solutions rather than just alternatives,â&#x20AC;? says Carl. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That means weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be forced into using them, which may not work in the overall design context.â&#x20AC;? Why is this so important? Carl describes a case in point: Specific Outcome No. 23 in the Structure Plan states that development provides buildings which maximise natural lighting. The solution states: Development provides a building which is orientated to within 20 degrees either side of north. The Big Top application contains a row of high-rise buildings that face south-east towards Maroochy River. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We build units overlooking water because home owners like the views and they capture prevailing breezes,â&#x20AC;? says Carl. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But another â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;solutionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; says units cannot have less than four hours of sunlight on 21 June. So under the Structure Plan, those unit blocks could not be built. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have to face the opposite direction, which would require massive changes. Imagine the chaos

if council said all detached houses on the Coast could face only one direction.â&#x20AC;? Tamara says theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re part of subtropical and sustainable design requirements aiming to produce optimal energy efficiency. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you had 100 units and the majority faced north, there would still be potential for approval. There is flexibility. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The upcoming workshops will look at implementation aspects such as the interpretation of Specific Outcomes, so hopefully the final version to the State will resolve a lot of this. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why we put out the draft, to hear any problems and move forward.â&#x20AC;?

Where will cars park? The council vigorously supports a Maroochydore that prioritises pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users over private motorists. Its Structure Plan backs this, allowing a maximum of one car park per two-bedroom unit, 1.25 car parks for a three-bedroom unit and just 0.75 of a car park for a one-bedroom unit. Carl points out that a building with a lot of one-bedroom units would result in big problems for residents who owned cars. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The public transport targets are good but we need the system to catch up first â&#x20AC;&#x201C; starting with more bus services,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What will home and car owners do if this rule is implemented now but public transport takes years, even decades, to improve?â&#x20AC;? Russell says public transport is inadequate at present, but the issue of car parking is like the chicken or the egg. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Is it short-sighted or visionary? Will fewer car parks bring that paradigm shift in the way we travel locally and outside Maroochydore?â&#x20AC;?

Want to know about development activity on the Coast? *HWD *HWDOOWKHIDFWVDQGÂżJXUHVIRUGHYHORSPHQWDFWLYLW\RQWKH6XQVKLQH&RDVWLQ FRXQFLOÂśV'HYHORSPHQW,QGLFDWRUV5HSRUW FRXQ 7KHTXDUWHUO\UHSRUWSDLQWVDSLFWXUHRIWRZQSODQQLQJVXEGLYLVLRQEXLOGLQJ DQGFRQVWUXFWLRQDFWLYLW\RQWKH&RDVWXVLQJLQIRUPDWLRQIURPFRXQFLOÂśVLQWHUQDO GHYHORSPHQWDSSOLFDWLRQUHFRUGV

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special feature

Is Horton Park Golf Course on the move or in the bunker? The revitalisation of the Maroochydore town centre is tied to the future of the Horton Park course, but as Julie Gatehouse discovers, the golf club’s outlook is still an uncertain one. ne of the Coast’s oldest golf courses, Horton Park, is earmarked for redevelopment as part of the Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s structure plan to turn Maroochydore into the region’s principal activity centre (or CBD) within the next 20 years. Horton Park Golf Course covers 53 hectares in the centre of Maroochydore. The structure plan designates 40 per cent of the course for residential and commercial development – shops, offices, apartments – and the remaining land for public open space and infrastructure. Horton Park Golf Club voted years ago to sell up and relocate its 1300 members to a Forest Glen site big enough to build a new course with 36 holes. However, two deals with private developers have since fallen through, leaving its future in doubt. The council stepped in a couple of months ago with “innovative financial arrangements” to get things moving. But

O

Ron Piper (council): The council last Friday December 3 issued a notice of intention to resume land at Horton Park for infrastructure and open space. We’re giving the club until February 23 to state any objections to the resumption process. That’s a longer consideration period than what’s stipulated under the Acquisition of Land Act. However, we’ve also advised the club’s board and relocation committee that the $39 million offer is likely to remain on the table while we work through the intention to resume period. We made this offer because the council is committed to Maroochydore as the Coast’s principal activity centre. Our constant feedback is that people want the Sunshine Coast to have

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on November 25 a narrow vote by golf club members resulted in rejection of the council’s $39 million offer to buy the course. This was despite the club’s board recommending members accept the proposal and use $28 million of it to buy the Twin Waters Golf Course. The next couple of months will be critical for both the golfers and the revitalisation of Maroochydore. Talks are continuing between the club and the council – the latest meeting occurred on December 3 – and the council says its offer is likely to remain on the table until late February. The council has also launched plan B, issuing a notice of intention to resume part of the golf course for infrastructure and open space. MPP talks about the options with Tony Nicholson, the golf club’s relocation director who has the backing of its board, and Ron Piper, the council’s project director of urban development.

one clearly defined CBD for economic development. Horton Park is essential to this. The council believes it is a good deal for the golf course, given the market failures post-GFC. If the golf club doesn’t accept the offer, we will continue with resuming 20 hectares for roads, open space and waterways in order to develop the Maroochydore structure plan. The price of that parcel will be worked out through the resumption process. It will alter the overall value of the golf course because 18 holes generally require more than 60 hectares. And that process will leave members without a course to play on. Meanwhile, the council delivered the Maroochydore structure plan to State Infrastructure Minister Stirling Hinchliffe last week as scheduled. We anticipate it will be gazetted by Christmas.

Tony Nicholson (golf club): The vote was very close. For the board to get its motion approved, we needed the support of two-thirds of the members who attended the meeting. We got 551 votes but we needed 554. Our motion was to accept the council’s offer of $39 million for the land plus a share of future profits from its redevelopment. We could then spend $28 million on purchasing Twin Waters Golf Course and the balance on associated costs, such as consultants. Now we have a few things to sort out. The club undertook to go back to the various parties to look at alternatives. A new set of motions will be put to a meeting on February 20. At this stage I can’t confirm whether those motions will differ significantly from

the original. A fallback position will be to again offer the original proposal. Hopefully, members will have had more time to consider their position and will better understand the consequences. The council needs access to our property by September 2011 so we must be out by then. If it resumes a significant portion, we will be left with the rest. We will have to redevelop it ourselves, fight in the courts for compensation and will no longer have a golf course to play on. The price is lower than a previous developer’s optimistic offer, but the value of our course has dropped as a result of the global financial crisis and we now have a better understanding of infrastructure costs for the site. The latest potential developer could not make the economics stack up and has backed away. Under an agreement with the owner of Twin Waters, we have until March 31 to exercise our option to purchase.

Aerial of Horton Park golf course

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postscript fter a tumultuous 2010, 2011 will be a critical year for the future of Maroochydore. The council is determined to kick-start implementation of its Structure Plan to turn the beachside suburb into the region’s Principal Activity Centre. The plan envisages a cosmopolitan, subtropical community serving as the Coast’s social and economic hub by 2031. There will be mixed-use neighbourhoods (retail, residential, commercial, government) built around a civic heart with a transit centre, plaza and arts and exhibition centre. It will be showcased by central parklands and the Centre will be linked by walkways making the most of open space and waterways such as Cornmeal Creek. The council delivered the revised Structure Plan to State Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe as scheduled on December 1. It contained quite a few changes to building heights and other built form controls as a result of the submissions received from the development industry and independent review. Significantly, the plan now allows 12 storeys in a 40-metre building – two extra storeys than previously – and has removed the rules for maximum habitable floor heights and minimum floor to floor heights. While it maintains the 40-metre height rule for most of the area, a number of 16-storey buildings (64m) and one 18-storey landmark building (72m) may be considered if they adhere to exemplary sustainable building design and are located only in the new Maroochydore Central Precinct (expected to be built on Horton Park). The council also removed certain restrictions on the expansion of Sunshine Plaza, meaning the plaza may build a department store within its 28,000sqm retail allowance.

A

The Minister approved this revised plan, with his own conditions relating to aspects such as the future master planning process, on December 6. The final plan was formally adopted by the Council on 15 December, 2010 and is now operational. However, implementation cannot go ahead in 2011 until the matter of Horton Park Golf Course is resolved. To stay on its timeline, the council must access the golf course by September 2011. It has given the golf club until February 23, 2011 to respond to its notice of intention to resume 20 hectares of the course for roads, other essential infrastructure and open space in the new Maroochydore. Mayor Bob Abbot says, “Resumption is the last and least favourable option available to us.” The council’s $39million offer to buy the whole golf course is likely to stay on the table until February. The golf club will hold another meeting on February 20, 2011 to put options to its members. Written by Julie Gatehouse.

However, implementation cannot go ahead in 2011 until the matter

Horton Park Golf Course is

of

resolved

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To be Australia’s most sustainable region – vibrant, green, diverse.

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local update

Marine zones may protect property The council is keen to protect the Coast’s popular waterfront. unshine hi C Coastt R Regional i lC Council ill iis looking to establish marine zones on the Maroochy, Mooloolah and Pumicestone Passage waterways to balance the social, environmental and economic demands on our waterways. Marine zones restrict certain types of recreational vessels and activities in a specified area of a waterway. Division 9 Councillor Vivien Griffin says there has been significant erosion to these waterways, affecting ecosystems and property owners who live along the riverfront. “There are people with property along the river bank and riverfront properties along Maroochy River that are suffering serious erosion from boat wash,” she says. “Over the years they’ve lost metres off their property through erosion.” The concept will study recreational use of the waterways to determine how the rapid erosion is occurring. “I’m aware of property owners whose property’s front fish habitat reserve has disappeared and they’re also getting wash from the boats. They’re getting told by the Department of Primary Industries that can’t do any foreshore stabilisation work because they say the erosion is natural. Quite clearly it’s associated with boat wash. Those properties are like the ham in the sandwich.” A large volume of registrations for water crafts over the past seven years has sparked concerns that the waterways are eroding due to the use of water vessels such as boats, Jet Skis, waterskis, wakeboards and kayaks. “We’re trying to work something out for both property owners and users of the river,” says Vivien. “We try to get management plasn for uses on land but we also need management plans for uses on the water.” Marine zone plans already exist on the Noosa River, and the Coast’s three remaining estuaries will be evaluated to determine whether council needs to go down this route. If approved by the council, the twoyear process to develop the Marine zones will be done with extensive consultation with local groups who use the waterways, such as water skiers and rowers, and the community. Division 3 Councillor Keryn Jones says there needs to be a balance between everyone who uses the waterway.s “Our waterways are very popular and shared by lots of people – from swimmers,

S

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FRIDAY,

8 OCTO BER

2010

YOURS TO KEE P

photo: greg gardner

FREE –

SAFE AS HOUSES

paddlers, rowers and sailors to Jet Skiers, wakeboarders and waterskiers,” she says. “In fact, more than 700 additional water craft are registered every year. That, along with people swimming, paddling, rowing and sailing, puts extreme pressure on our waterways, bringing with it safety and environmental issues. “We want to make sure that our waterways are safe and enjoyable for all users. Marine zones are one way we can do that.” Keryn says that marine zones help to achieve a good social outcome for the waterways and its users. “The draft Waterways and Coastal Management Strategy, which is currently out for public comment, recognises that the increased demand for recreational space on our waterways associated with population growth is a big challenge for us.” Viviene says there is State Government registration for local council to prepare a marine plan. “Through consultation with users we look at environmental, social and economical issues and devise a management plan for the rivers that are under significant pressure. The first six months will be spent finding out what’s happening out on the water right now. That means talking to users, stakeholders and therefore where we need to go from here. The following six months will be the development of the plan and will involve significant consultation with stakeholders.” A final decision on whether to pursue Marine zones on the Maroochy and Mooloolah River estuaries, and Pumicestone Passage was scheduled to be made at the ordinary meeting of Council on Wednesday October 6, 2010.

Property , shares or term one is the dep safest inve osits – which stment?

The busy Mooloolah River MY HOM E PREVIEW Page 1.indd

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| LOCAL UPDATE

| AUCTION

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ISSUE 111

postscript ouncil considered the issue of marine zones at its meeting on September 29, 2010 and resolved to commence the process for establishing marine zones for the Maroochy and Mooloolah River estauries, and Pumicestone Passage, in parallel with the development of holistic management plans for these waterways. To establish marine zones for the Sunshine Coast, a proposal will need to be prepared and submitted to Maritime Safety Queensland for assessment. In preparing and finalising this proposal, Council is responsible for determining the need for the marine zone and undertaking community consultation. It is estimated the establishment of marine zones for these estuaries will take at least two years; however, it may take longer depending on the outcomes of the community consultation, and the time taken for the State Government to endorse the proposal and amend the relevant legislation.

C

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cover story

A healthy outlook by Julie Gatehouse

The huge new public hospital at Kawana will boost the health of the Sunshine Coast in more ways than one. But how will it impact the local property market? MPP investigates. he primary benefits of building a new public hospital on the Coast have never been in doubt: healing the sick and injured, caring for the health of residents, easing waiting lists at other regional hospitals, particularly at Nambour, and cutting some of the patient traffic to the capital, Brisbane. The doubts about the project have been in the details: location, time line, funding, partnerships and size. Not any more, according to the State Government. Deputy Premier Paul Lucas, who took on the health ministry when Anna Bligh became Premier in March last year, clarified almost all these details during a visit to Maroochydore this month to address a Property Council of Australia lunch. On the critical issues of funding and time lines, he acknowledged the effects of the global financial crisis on the planned public-privatepartnership (known as a PPP) but was adamant the Sunshine Coast University Hospital would start construction in 2013 regardless. “One can’t overestimate the significance of a tertiary hospital for this region,” he tells MPP. “It’s a $1.97 billion investment, a massive undertaking that will generate more than 12,000 visits a day … and it will create significant demand for the property market.” Local developers and analysts say the opportunities are eagerly awaited by the property industry, from potential home buyers to commercial investors. “This is the biggest infrastructure project ever on the Coast and it will be a major stimulus to the regional economy including residential and commercial property,” says University of the Sunshine Coast Professor of Property and Development

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The public hospital is planned to open towards the end of 2016 with 450 inpatient beds, expanding to

738 beds five years later

We’ll need to recruit

3500 health staff for the hospital

Mike Hefferan. “It’s also unique here – a teaching and research hospital linked to university staff and students, covering many areas of health and related services, boosting job numbers and career paths, lifestyle, the economy and the development industry.”

What will the project involve? The Sunshine Coast University Hospital will be built on a 20-hectare greenfield site on the corner of Kawana Way and Lake Kawana Boulevard (see page 8). That’s about 30 football fields, explained Paul Lucas at the business lunch. The public hospital is planned to open towards the end of 2016 with 450 in-patient beds, expanding to 738 beds five years later. However, a co-located private hospital will be the first built on this Kawana health campus. The Government expects to announce the successful private owner-operator mid-next year and see the first sod turned soon after (see page 8). Two companies have been shortlisted, Ramsay Health Care and Healthscope. It’s due to open in 2013 – the same year that construction starts on the public hospital. About 110 of the private hospital’s 200 beds will cater for public patients while the bigger hospital is being built. Other on-site developments will include a health-related innovation park for private and non-government sectors (such as childminding businesses and pharmacies), an academic and research centre, parkland, more than 3000 car spaces, roads and utilities infrastructure. A community reference group has been set up to participate in the process. The 15 local residents, health users and health professionals met for the first time on Monday (20 Sept) at the Lake Kawana Community Centre. “We welcome the Deputy Premier’s ironclad commitment that the public hospital will be operational in 2016 regardless of whether a private sector partner can be found,” says Debra Robinson, the Sunshine Coast chair of the Property Council. However, the council is still hopeful the public hospital may be delivered ahead of 2016, given a recent government decision to fast-track a rail line at Springfield to cater for growth. Debra, who is also development manager at Juniper, says the new hospitals precinct will be a big job generator for the Coast, and not

just in the construction phase. “It will have the longer-term impact of growing and diversifying the local economy,” she says. “From florists to pharmacists, there will be greater demand for services provided by local businesses.” Queensland Health estimates 2000 construction workers will be on site at the peak of the public hospital job, with another 300 needed for the private hospital construction.

How many will work there? “We’ll need to recruit 3500 health staff for the Sunshine Coast University Hospital,” says Paul Lucas, describing the diversity of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, hospital workers and administration staff. “You’ll have highly-paid people making lifestyle decisions in terms of where they live and you’ll have young trainees interested in rental properties while they’re doing qualifications. No doubt the private sector will be seeking to invest in doctors’ rooms and ancillary services that sit around any major hospital. This will bring a broad variety of opportunities and create significant demand for the property market.” The Deputy Premier says it’s reasonable to expect the majority of new staff will want to live on the Coast. “You’ve got a good internal road network and I hope many people will want to walk or cycle to work,” he says. He adds the rollout of public transport services will continue. The State Government recently released its integrated regional transport plan, Connecting SEQ 2031. It proposes improved bus services on the Coast and the construction of a new UrbanLink passenger rail line “in the longer term” for high-frequency trains from Beerwah station through Caloundra south and Kawana to Maroochydore. (For details visit www. connectingseq.qld.gov.au ) Mike Hefferan recently visited five tertiary hospital precincts in the US and Canada as part of his advisory role on the $1.78 billion Gold Coast University Hospital, due to open in late 2012. He saw on-the-ground impacts ranging from trade jobs during construction to new services, business hubs and housing clusters. “Sunshine Coast communities are so scattered but this type of precinct becomes an anchor, making things like public transport

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cover story

Artist’s impression

It’s unique – a teaching and research hospital linked to university staff and students, covering many areas of health and related services, boosting jobs, lifestyle, the economy and the development industry

81.5 years, and by 2050 our population over 85 will quadruple,” he told the business lunch. “Of the Sunshine Coast’s 300,000 people, 16.5 per cent are over 65 years old compared to the state average of 12.5 per cent. And the Coast is forecast to have half a million people by 2031.” The Minister predicts this will create opportunities as well as challenges for sectors such as property “and not just in traditional retirement villages”. Older people with superannuation will want to choose from a variety of housing options according to needs such as proximity to family and health services, he says.

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How will it affect Kawana?

Sunshine Coast communities are so scattered but this type of precinct becomes an anchor, making things like

public transport more viable.

For examples of current prices in surrounding suburbs, RP Data shows the median sale price for houses in Parrearra/Kawana Island is $535,000, Buddina $570,000 and Minyama $901,500. The median asking rent for houses in Wurtulla and Bokarina is $380 a week. Stockland, as the major landowner and master developer of the Kawana area, is well-prepared for the residential and commercial growth expected around the new hospital. Land releases are already selling at Birtinya Island and a vacant 30-hectare block between Bokarina Beach and Nicklin Way is expected to accommodate a significant number of people in houses, townhouses and units, along with a new surf club and tourism uses. That approval process is expected to begin before the hospital opens in 2016. Stockland Sunshine Coast regional manager Troy Wainwright says the latest release at Birtinya Island, Headland Drive, has 17 home sites from 300 to 689 square metres and priced from $270,000 (see next page). Sunshine Coast Regional Council last month approved a new $100 million retirement community and aged persons home to be built on six hectares at the corner of Nicklin Way and Lake Kawana Boulevard. Councillor Keryn Jones says the 340 units will be close to bus routes, the beach, the future Kawana Town Centre, a bowls club, Lake Kawana and the future hospital. Tony Long, a key player in multi-awardwinning Kawana developments since the early 1990s, expects the new hospital to become a national health icon. “Having had a hand in developing the private hospital complex in Innovation Parkway, I see this new project as having an enormously positive economic and social impact on the region,” he says.

Tony, who’s now director of PlaceMakers Communications & Marketing, says the Coast should celebrate this government move. “The level of expenditure required to deliver this major regional facility will lift investment confidence on the Coast,” he says. “Health professionals of all disciplines will gravitate to Kawana and the multiplier effect will deliver further job creation. All these employees will need to live somewhere, buy cars, send kids to school and buy local goods and services.” He says higher-density living close to the hospital will encourage the walk-to-work principle. When asked about prices, Tony says

History has shown that investment in infrastructure such as hospitals delivers real increases in property values and local economic development opportunities

more viable,” he says. “And the jobs are sustainable long-term, which is of fundamental importance given our current volatile, cyclical employment sectors.” Debra Robinson says property owners and investors across the Coast can take heart that the new hospitals will underpin future capital growth. She says, “History has shown that investment in infrastructure such as hospitals delivers real increases in property values and local economic development opportunities.” Paul Lucas raises the wider implications of the Coast’s ageing demographic. “Australia has the second longest life expectancy on earth of

they will be driven by supply and demand. “Kawana is already a great location to live and work and having state-of-the-art health services at your front door will only add value to that experience,” he says. “For commercial, land availability and speed-to-market will be the most important influences on the market.” Real Estate Institute of Queensland Sunshine Coast chair Brett Graham says universities and hospitals are the two major pieces of infrastructure that assist property markets. “They create a lot of professional and office space and attract a lot of students and staff,” he says. “People like to live close to their continued over >

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cover story < from overleaf

Lake Kawana

TIMELINES FOR DELIVERY Sunshine Coast University hospital (450 beds initially): -IDTOLATETENDER PROCESSWITHCONSTRUCTION CONSORTIAINCLUDESWORKINGOUT THEBESTDESIGNFORTHEFACILITY

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%ARLYTOLATEBUILDTHE3#5(







,ATE ANNOUNCE SUCCESSFUL CONSTRUCTION CONSORTIA

Co-located private hospital (total of 200 beds):

*ULYTOMID TENDERPROCESS WITHSHORTLISTEDPRIVATE HOSPITALOPERATORS !PRIL REQUESTED EXPRESSIONS OFINTEREST FROMPRIVATE HOSPITAL OPERATORSTO DEVELOPTHE HOSPITAL

-IDTOLATE CONSTRUCTTHEPRIVATEHOSPITAL -ID ANNOUNCETHE SUCCESSFUL PRIVATE HOSPITAL OPERATOR

,ATE THEPRIVATE HOSPITAL OPENS

Source: Qld Government 

s!NEW KILOMETREEXTENSIONTO +AWANA7AYWASOPENEDRECENTLY ANDWILLHELPTOSERVICETHE PROPOSEDTOWNCENTRE HOSPITALAND NEWRESIDENTIALCOMMUNITIESAT "IRTINYAAND"OKARINA"EACH4HE MILLIONROADEXTENSIONWASA COLLABORATIONBETWEEN3TOCKLAND ANDTHE1UEENSLAND$EPARTMENTOF 4RANSPORTAND-AIN2OADS Source: Stockland Sunshine Coast regional manager Troy Wainwright

,ATE THE3#5( OPENS



s4HEADJACENT+AWANA"USINESS 6ILLAGE THE3TOCKLAND0ARKSPORTS FACILITY ANDTHELEISUREACTIVITIESOF ROWING KAYAKINGANDSAILINGON ,AKE+AWANACOMPLETETHEPICTURE FORTHISFUTURE3UNSHINE#OAST LIFESTYLEHUB



s4HEPROPOSED+AWANA4OWN#ENTRE WOULDENCOMPASSANEWBUSINESS RETAILANDENTERTAINMENTPRECINCTFOR THEREGION

!PRIL TOMID PLANNING PHASE

-ID INVITE EXPRESSIONS OFINTEREST FROM CONSTRUCTION CONSORTIA



s3TOCKLANDHASBEENWORKINGCLOSELY WITHTHE3UNSHINE#OAST2EGIONAL #OUNCILAND3TATE'OVERNMENT AGENCIESONA3TRUCTURE0LAN s"IRTINYA)SLANDFORMSAKEY COMPONENTOFTHEOVERALL MASTERPLANFOR+AWANA7ATERS

Birtinya Island

Aerial view of the hospital site



s4HEPROPOSED+AWANA7ATERS MASTERPLANINCLUDESTHECREATION OFTHE+AWANA4OWN#ENTRE THE"OKARINA"EACHRESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY THE3UNSHINE#OAST (OSPITALANDASIGNIlCANTTRANSPORT CORRIDOR

Currimundi Lake

Nicklin Way



STOCKLANDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S PLANS

Wurtulla

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

workplaces and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have specialists, investors, nursing staff â&#x20AC;Ś I can see this will be very positive for the growth and identity of the Kawana area, commercially and residentially.â&#x20AC;? Brett expects the market to react â&#x20AC;&#x153;as soon as the button is pressedâ&#x20AC;?, initially with activity in existing houses and units. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It should also be a catalyst to start releasing land,â&#x20AC;? he says. He describes the current market as returning to the steadiness of three years ago. Steve Kealey, director of Platinum Properties Sunshine Coast, says the market has been waiting a long time for confirmation of the hospitalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time line. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d expect to see a lift along the prime beachside strip from Currimundi Lake to the Mooloolah River, on Birtinya and Kawana islands, even Kawana Forest,â&#x20AC;? Steve says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hospital staff with a range of incomes can pick from a mix of absolute beachfront, beachside, lakefront and water access. Kawana has been holding its own on prices â&#x20AC;&#x201C; weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been selling everything from a $300,000 duplex to multimillion-dollar properties.â&#x20AC;?

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2/3/2011 11:13:40 AM


postscript he State Government says timelines are on track for the development of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital site at Kawana. On November 9, Health Minister Paul Lucas reiterated that the Government had “committed to building the $1.97 billion hospital by 2016, securing more than 9800 construction jobs over the life of the project and 3500 health care jobs.” The tertiary-level teaching hospital is planned to open in 2016 with 450 inpatient beds, increasing to 738 beds by 2021. Currently, the public hospital’s design and service specifications are undergoing a second external review by national and international experts before finalising project documentation. A workforce planning and transition manager has been appointed and the community reference group met for the second time on November 17. Meanwhile, a working group comprising Queensland Health, the council, developer/land owner Stockland and other agencies meets regularly to ensure that planning and infrastructure is coordinated. This is to ensure that new roads, footpaths and other services are available to support the new hospital. The group’s final meeting for 2010 was held in November. By April 2011 the State is expected to appoint the preferred bidder for the co-located private hospital. Its construction is due to begin soon after, in preparation for a 2013 opening – the same year the public hospital will start being built. The private hospital is expected to have 200 beds, 70 of which will be leased as public beds. The council, State Government and Stockland are also reviewing the future infrastructure requirements and master planning for the surrounding Kawana Town Centre, Bokarina Beach tourist/residential site and Birtinya residential community. A generous network of community facilities, a new beach node and open space, all linked by bikeways and footpaths, are planned to complement new employment, education and housing opportunities. Written by Julie Gatehouse.

T

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The tertiarylevel teaching hospital is planned to open in 2016

450 inpatient beds, with

increasing to 738 beds by 2021

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FRIDAY, 30 APRIL 2010

FREE – YOURS TO KEEP

MAPPING THE FUTURE Unfolding the plan for Caloundra South ISSUE 88

MY HOME PREVIEW | AUCTION ACTION

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| MARKET TRACKER

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2/3/2011 11:14:00 AM


cover story

Great southern plan by Julie Gatehouse

The public has been asked to comment on a controversial plan for the Coast’s biggest greenfield development. MPP talks to the mayor and the minister, in the third and final part of this series.

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environment. This is an exciting opportunity for the Sunshine Coast in terms of an integrated community to be designed on 21st century urban design principles over 20 years or more.” Bob tells MPP, “It’s sensible to develop in an area that in future will be serviced well by public transport and to keep our urban areas close together. But it’s a very large development and I don’t think bringing this plan forward is advantageous. We’d be better off doing it in four or five years rather than rushing it.” So what exactly are the boundaries of this new community? Looking at Map 13.1 on the council’s website, it’s a big wedge between the highway and Pelican Waters/Golden Beach.

This is an exciting opportunity for the Sunshine Coast in terms of an integrated community to be designed on 21st century urban design principles over 20 years or more

he next time you’re driving north on the Bruce Highway past Bells Creek Road, take note of the line of trees flanking the eastern verge to the Old Caloundra Road turn-off. Imagine, in 20 years, peering through those trees at a new town with a population almost that of Hervey Bay. Those 2290 hectares are expected to form Caloundra South, a new master-planned community of more than 46,000 people. The Coast’s biggest greenfield development seems a done deal, with the new Structure Plan amended and supported by the State Government before its release by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council for public comment. Years of work have already gone into it at a local planning level – since before Caloundra Council was amalgamated in March 2008. But the devil is in the detail. The Plan is causing controversy at political and community levels and confusion for many people invested in the property, lifestyle and environment of the Coast. Just in that short introduction were four bones of contention – the width of the green buffer from the highway, the potential traffic impacts, the timing of development and the size of the population. While Sunshine Coast Mayor Bob Abbot disagrees with Queensland Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe on significant points, the two leaders are still negotiating for the “right” outcome for the Coast community. Both want as many residents as possible to make submissions before the deadline of Thursday May 20. Both say the new master-planned community, like Palmview and Maroochydore, is about far more than new housing. The focus is on overall sustainability including employment, the environment, transport and other infrastructure. Stirling tells MPP, “I’m confident the Structure Plan for Caloundra South identifies the right footprint of where development can happen and the right protection for the local

In the north-east it adjoins the estate of Bellvista and Caloundra Aerodrome. The aerodrome is expected to close, becoming a gateway for land-based public transport – namely the State’s CAMCOS rail corridor linking Beerwah, Caloundra and Maroochydore. Despite ongoing argument about the timing and the loss of aerodrome businesses, the map shows a transit station and interchange along with new infill residential development on the site. Two new roads are planned from the highway. There is a Sunshine Motorway extension turning east in the vicinity of Roys Road, skirting the southern

outskirts of the new development before aiming north, crossing Caloundra Road at the existing roundabout and on towards Kawana. A new arterial road is to run due east from the highway, through the northern residential area of Caloundra South, joining the Nicklin Way-Pelican Waters Boulevard roundabout. Environmental protection is as strong a theme of the Structure Plan as the 22,000 new dwellings. Even the map showing the Road Transport Infrastructure Network identifies fauna crossings over roads and fauna fencing around the whole development. The environment is described as gently sloping coastal plan, with branches of Bells Creek and Lamerough Creek. Large parts have been cleared for rural activities – previously a pine plantation – but wetlands associated with Pumicestone Passage are marked as nationally and internationally significant. The Plan makes the point that this area “currently forms part of a large non-urban area that separates the Caloundra coastal urban area from urban communities north of Caboolture”. Bob says the council wants the site as “a world-class, transit-oriented community that provides a benchmark for ecologically sustainable development”. How that’s achieved is in the hands of planners, politicians – and the public. According to the document, there must be affordable living and job opportunities,

Have your say For details on how, go to www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/sitePage .cfm?code=cs-splan

Those 2290

hectares are expected to form

Caloundra South, a new master-planned community of more than

46,000 people Caloundra South is expected to produce more than

10,000 jobs

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cover story

QUESTION

transport options starting from pedestrian and bike paths, social services, schools and community facilities for recreation and sport. “A network of green open space [will] define the boundary of urban development and provide an attractive setting for neighbourhoods,” it states. The Plan envisages a spread of walkable, compact neighbourhoods offering a high-quality experience and celebrating the Coast’s subtropical lifestyle via a range of contemporary housing choices for all life stages. Project co-ordinator Shaun Matthews says about 1500 hectares will be zoned for urban purposes and the balance will be reserved for open or green space. New residents will live in “generally low to medium-rise accommodation”. The mix is expected to range from detached houses on conventional lots to multiple dwelling units, with higher densities (buildings up to 21 metres) surrounding the activity centres. Overall, development provides for a minimum average density of 25 dwellings per hectare. Leading technology, including local energy generation and fibre-optic connections for high-speed broadband, will be built into homes, businesses and community buildings. An integrated water cycle management system aims to collect high levels of water on site and re-use waste water to reduce any effect on existing supplies. Caloundra South is expected to produce more than 10,000 jobs. The focus is on mixed-use shopping, business, entertainment and service centres. At the core will be a major activity centre with continued over >

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Mayor Bob Abbot

Minister Stirling Hinchliffe

RESPONSE

RESPONSE

1. Should development provide for a minimum or maximum population of 46,250?

“The Sunshine Coast is not prepared, this early in the piece, to have such massive population growth without getting a real understanding of what the current carrying capacity of this community is. That’s why we’re so resistant to a minimum.”

“This population will happen over a long time, more than 20 years, but we’re doing it in a well-planned way, which hasn’t been the experience on the Coast over its history. A minimum provides a basis for further investment in infrastructure.”

2. When will infrastructure happen?

“This amount of development will change the southern end of the Coast considerably if things like critical infrastructure aren’t addressed early enough. Our plans for early Infrastructure Agreements with the State and the development industry have been taken out of the Structure Plan, which means we may not guarantee when infrastructure is delivered. Our community has major concerns of being overrun by traffic. We are on the cusp of generational changes in processes for water quality, sewerage, power consumption and transport and I fear [rushing] these Structure Plans will ignore some of the future benefits.”

The State wants phased-in Infrastructure Arrangements. “It’s important to work with the council and the community in making sure we drive this Structure Plan for Caloundra South [to justify] infrastructure investment. The South-East Queensland Infrastructure Plan already identifies more than $22 billion worth of projects on the Coast to 2026, but the prospect of population centres like Caloundra South is justification for State investment in CAMCOS, for example. If these extra dwellings are not accommodated there, the State would be sensible to redirect expenditure to other places.”

3. What’s the problem with Caloundra Aerodrome and the CAMCOS public transport system?

The council wants the State to commit to CAMCOS within two years of development starting. “And we want the redeveloped aerodrome site to be on the CAMCOS rail alignment. The State’s proposed alignment skirts outside that area and will make that new centre difficult to service. The council has operated the airport and the State Government owns the land. We’ve been waiting for a State report on their proposals for the future of Caloundra and Caboolture airports. Now they say they’re waiting for our decision. We’re struggling to know what options we can offer people in the flying industry. I’ve spoken to the minister about it because it’s integral to Caloundra South’s future.”

“The council operates and manages the aerodrome and they decided they would close it. We’ve been working with them on how we go forward and deal with the users of the aerodrome. The Structure Plan is based on the view the aerodrome will not operate on that site beyond 2014. I’m waiting for the council to come back to us with their final plan.” Stirling says that will determine the final CAMCOS alignment.

4 How wide should the regional inter-urban buffer be?

“We’re keen to see a 200-metre regional inter-urban break buffer to the Bruce Highway to maintain the integrity of that rural gap. The State says it’s about noise, but we say it’s about what you can see from the highway. There will be large buildings in Caloundra South and we want that separation for visual appeal.”

The State wants it reduced to 80 metres and renamed a scenic amenity and highway acoustic buffer. Its amendment to the Plan says this will adequately maintain the appearance of the natural landscape between urban communities, protect the visual amenity of the Bruce Highway as a scenic route and protect the amenity of the future Caloundra South community.

5. Should 2000 hectares be set aside for ecological protection and rehabilitation to offset the development?

The council says that’s the amount of land that developers should dedicate to vegetation rehabilitation to offset the urbanisation at Caloundra South.

The State removed that element because it would relate to land outside the Structure Plan area, which is only 2290 hectares. “Ultimately, in further planning processes such as development applications, the council can set conditions that might result in that outcome. The Structure Plan isn’t the place to do it.”

6. Who should set the standards for energy efficiency and sustainability of buildings?

The council wants its own energy-efficiency provisions and best-practice standards for sustainable development in the Structure Plan. It targets each phase of activity including subdivision, engineering, landscaping, building and rehabilitation. “Our community is keen to see significant options for environmental sustainability in the future built into our planning scheme because we want guarantees locally. For example, Caloundra South should not be a burden on Caloundra’s existing water supply. We believe those measures should be done on a catchment basis, not house-to-house basis, and should be in our planning scheme.”

“I know the council hopes to achieve a higher level of sustainability in urban development on the Coast but their planning schemes are not the place for that. State legislation prevents councils setting mandatory requirements for sustainability. However we’re raising the bar to minimum six-star green ratings for all new Queensland homes from May 1 and I’m happy to work with the council about how they can provide further incentives for industry.”

7. Should the development have artificial lakes and canals?

The council doesn’t agree with the State’s desire to allow these sorts of artificial waterways. “We have considerable concern about the community’s ability to manage those lakes long-term. The current cost to this community of remedial work to Chancellor Park lakes is immense so we would prefer that doesn’t arise in the future.”

The Structure Plan should accommodate artificial lakes. “They can be used very creatively in order to facilitate sustainable design. Developers can use them to manage stormwater and water recycling for parklands. We were concerned about any kibosh on consideration of those things at this stage, but I’m keen to hear what the community says.”

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2/3/2011 11:14:18 AM


cover story < from overleaf

main street layout, town square and transit interchange. A similar but smaller district centre will serve residents in the northern neighbourhoods plus Bellvista and part of Little Mountain. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be local activity centres and encouragement of home-based businesses. With a large existing regional industrial park adjoining the siteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s northern boundary, a wide range of industrial use is expected. The Plan expands this area available for industry, business and commerce and establishes a second enterprise zone near the Bruce Highway for mainly transport and storage uses. People wanting to live or invest in Caloundra South may be surprised at the level of detail in the Plan. Even the character of the area is projected. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Views of the iconic Glass House Mountains and the Blackall Range from the coastal plain [are to be] retained through the configuration of road transport infrastructure and the layout and design of activity centres.â&#x20AC;? However, the Plan â&#x20AC;&#x201C; even if approved by the intended deadline of August 27 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; will not get off the ground until the land owner Stockland makes a move. MPP asked both the mayor and the minister how Caloundra South may affect the property market. Bob doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t expect a big impact, although he wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t speculate on values. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sunshine Coast real estate prices have steadily increased over the years and I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see anything changing,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Coast will always be a desirable place to live and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always tension in the industry as new estates come on.â&#x20AC;? Stirling â&#x20AC;&#x201C; who recently told a Property Council of Australia lunch at Twin Waters that the Structure Plan would provide certainty for developers â&#x20AC;&#x201C; says it will do the same for home buyers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It will allow a fresh start in terms of a major community with a range of different product in one place, giving confidence to families wanting to settle there, but also to investors.â&#x20AC;? The minister says planning areas such as Caloundra South to 2031 with an emphasis on new jobs will help get the balance right between managing population growth in South-East Queensland and protecting the lifestyle that attracts people here.

Caloundra South Structure Plan Area

â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want jobs built into these new communities to avoid dormitory suburbs where people have to drive,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What we know is that the investment market is driven by proximity of housing to employment. Good-value investment properties are about providing rental opportunities to people who want to work locally. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My parents have owned a holiday house at Caloundra for more than 20 years and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve spent holidays there with my children. I know some things are special and need to be protected.â&#x20AC;?

Sunshine Coast Su

Just the facts s"Y THE3TRUCTURE0LANSFOR -AROOCHYDORE 0ALMVIEWAND#ALOUNDRA 3OUTHAREEXPECTEDTORESULTINATOTALOF ABOUT PEOPLEIN NEW DWELLINGSONHECTARES

ourr pla lace ace o u r futu our futur fu u t ure re re

Planning Scheme $QHZ $QHZSODQQLQJVFKHPHLVEHLQJGHYHORSHGIRUWKHUHJLRQÂąWKHÂżUVW UHJLRQÂąWKHÂżUVW VW IRUWK QQLQJSURMHFWWREH WWR IRUWKH6XQVKLQH&RDVWDQGWKHPRVWVLJQLÂżFDQWSODQQLQJSURMHFWWREH undertaken by council.

Visit the planning and building section at www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au for more details.

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00024 12/10

ve your say Keep your eye on councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website for opportunities to have throughout 2011.

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FRIDAY, 29 OCTOBER 2010

FREE – YOURS TO KEEP

CHANGING TACK With the planning of Caloundra South now in the hands of the state government, what does this mean for end-users? ISSUE 114 MY HOME PREVIEW | MARKET TRACKER | AUCTIONS & MORE

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My Property Preview 27

2/3/2011 11:14:36 AM


cover story

Full steam ahead by Julie Gatehouse

The fast-tracking of Caloundra South is causing much controversy. MPP talks to the Minister, the Mayor, the developer and the state planning authority about how and when it will happen.

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It will open up the market to people who

can’t buy into the current market, particularly first home buyers

The debate has confused many, including those eyeing off the potential new residential property supply and affordable lifestyle choice. Why did the State take over Sunshine Coast Council’s planning for this huge new community? How does a UDA work? And what will it mean for home buyers, investors and residents?

Why did it happen? Caloundra South is a greenfield site covering about 2300 hectares on the eastern side of the Bruce Highway, north of Bells Creek Road and west of Pelican Waters. Its northeast corner adjoins the suburb of Bellvista and Caloundra Aerodrome. It is envisaged as a future master-planned community where people live, work and play, with a mix of sustainable housing, long-term and diverse employment, transport choices and environmental and social infrastructure. Several years ago, the State Government decided the site should be fast-tracked to help cater for population growth over the next 20 years and boost the supply of affordable housing on the Coast. Sunshine Coast Council has been working through this planning, including the public release of an amended structure plan. There has been conflict about the timing and size of the development, traffic impacts and infrastructure and environmental provisions. Things got more difficult last month when Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe decided the Caloundra Aerodrome should not be relocated, to save money and jobs. This upset the council’s planned uses for the site, including a major transport route. But the dirt really hit the fan on 5 October when the Minister and Premier Anna Bligh declared their intention to transfer all planning of Caloundra South, and the adjoining Bellvista stage two, to a state-owned agency called the Urban Land Development Authority (ULDA). They said the council had repeatedly failed to meet statutory planning deadlines. “The Sunshine Coast has the highest housing prices and least affordability in the state,” said Anna Bligh. “At Caloundra, with

the potential to deliver around 23,000 homes (over the next 10 years), employment centres and transit services, planning has too often failed to be properly progressed.” Bob Abbot rubbished the reasoning. “We have 6000 blocks approved and ready to be developed in the region and the Palmview structure plan includes another 800 lots that could be developed immediately,” he said. “The government has given the ULDA 12 months to complete planning for Caloundra South when council could have had it finalised in February.” While the theory behind the decision remains a political hot potato, in practice the new regime is underway. The boss of the state’s planning authority spoke to MPP as he prepared to visit the Coast on Thursday October 28 to talk to the development industry.

We’re seeking to ensure an early release based on the good work already done by council officers and Stockland’s commitment to see lots viable as soon as possible

ince the State Government announced its intention to declare Caloundra South an Urban Development Area (UDA), the Sunshine Coast has heard outrage at high levels. Mayor Bob Abbot called it a disgraceful attack on the community, an abuse of power based on nonsensical reasoning. Just a week earlier, he had told MPP: “If the State forces us to make arrangements there before an infrastructure agreement is in place, all hell will break loose”. The Local Government Association of Queensland said it set a dangerous precedent as “the first time a State Government has used its exceptional powers to suspend democracy for what effectively will be a city with an end population of 50,000”. It called the decision “a developer’s dream – fast-tracking, no community say and no appeals” and questioned the influence of developer Stockland, which owns the land. Environmentalists expressed fears for the area’s ecosystem, especially after the Pumicestone Passage and its freshwater catchment both dropped a grading on Healthy Waterways’ 2010 Report Card.

How will it work? Paul Eagles, the CEO of the Urban Land Development Authority (ULDA), says time is of the essence. “Affordability is an issue now, so we need to get housing on the ground as soon as possible,” he says from his Brisbane base. “We also recognise the construction industry is doing it tough on the Coast, and we need to get product on the market to give tradies jobs and stimulate the economy.” Caloundra South has become the 14th urban development area under his control in Queensland. Others range from Bowen Hills and Northshore Hamilton in Brisbane to Ripley Valley near Ipswich and Oonoonba at Townsville.

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cover story

We have the same principles and values of Sunshine Coast Council and we’re on the same page in terms of outcomes desired. We understand this phase may be seen as an imposition, but we hope to then work with councillors and officers in a collaborative manner

Paul Eagles, CEO of the Urban Land Development Authority According to its website, the authority works with local and state government, communities, land holders and the development industry to “deliver commercially viable developments that include diverse, affordable, sustainable housing, using best-practice urban design”. Paul explains what this does and does not mean. The ULDA is responsible for planning and assessing development applications. In some cases it acts as developer – but not at privately-owned Caloundra South, where it will not set land prices or build dwellings. That will be up to the market and the land owner, developer Stockland. Basically, it means Stockland will apply to the ULDA instead of the council to rezone and develop properties on that site. So how can the ULDA pick up the pace without cutting corners that may affect quality? First, Paul says the council’s work is not in vain. In fact, it’s vital. “To achieve our timelines we need to use council planning so far,” he admits. “We have the same principles and values of Sunshine Coast Council and we’re on the same page in terms of outcomes desired. We understand this phase may be seen as an imposition, but we hope to then work with councillors and officers in a collaborative manner. ” Second, Paul says the ULDA has less than 12 months to finish an overarching Development Scheme for the site. “We have proven on our projects that we can deliver good outcomes, with good community consultation, quickly. We can resolve issues quickly. We have a whole-of-government process supporting us in breaking log jams and we bring specialist skills in inner-urban renewal or master-planned communities.” He acknowledges concerns about the transport corridor, ecology, water supply and major infrastructure but says the UDA process is “tremendously productive” in negotiating solutions. Meanwhile, a confidential council meeting last Thursday (Oct 21) resolved to submit its finalised Caloundra South structure plan and related documents to the Minister and the ULDA for consideration. But Bob Abbot says

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Caloundra South will

large, model community be a

with a mix of detached homes and apartments, jobs, community facilities, public transport and biodiversity

The Sunshine Coast has the

highest housing prices and least affordability in the state

Aerial of Caloundra South infrastructure costs – worth $1.8billion – remain a major worry. The council wants a guarantee that costs associated with Caloundra South will not be transferred to existing or future ratepayers. “The council is now only in an advocacy role on behalf of the community about what we see are future issues,” the mayor says. Bob points out that the council successfully produced both a structure plan and a $600million infrastructure agreement for the Palmview greenfield site, further up the highway. He says developer Investa was among the stakeholders who signed that agreement to support the growing community “and they are excited about getting on with business”. The council’s regional strategy and planning director Warren Bunker says the council awaits advice from the Minister on what’s next. “We’re a good planning authority,” he says. “We know how to do appropriate planning that ensures good infrastructure outcomes – we’ve achieved this to date with Palmview.”

What will it mean? Those looking to buy property at Caloundra South won’t have to wait long, according to the Minister, Stirling Hinchliffe and ULDA chief

Paul Eagles. “We’re seeking to ensure an early release based on the good work already done by council officers and Stockland’s commitment to see lots viable as soon as possible,” says Stirling. “It’s clear that Bellvista stage two is an early opportunity not only for residential land release but also for employment land.” The Minister expects light industrial to be first cab off the rank, followed over the longer term by commercial and retail. More than 100 lots of Bellvista Two’s 700-plus could be on the market within a year. “Caloundra South will be a large, model community,” says Paul, “with a mix of detached homes and apartments, jobs, community facilities, public transport and biodiversity.” He says modern lifestyles and demographics dictate a variety of different housing types. “Not everybody wants a big yard. People want diversity in a walkable, livable community.” He says the Fitzgibbon UDA, on Brisbane’s northside near Carseldine, provides examples of the timing and types of residential housing that may be adopted at Caloundra South, although the latter will be more “suburbia” than “urban village”. The first continued over >

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cover story < from overleaf

residents have moved in within a year of Fitzgibbon’s UDA declaration. There are terraces, lofts, villas and townhouses as well as traditional family homes on big blocks. “In the latest stage now for sale at Fitzgibbon Chase, the smallest lots are 250 square metres and those house and land packages start at $330,000,” Paul says. “The 500-square-metre lots have packages starting at $473,000 – and that’s only 12 kilometres from the Brisbane CBD. Housing affordability can be improved dramatically by changes in lot sizes and innovative house designs.” He believes Caloundra South housing may include small apartments from $250,000 and detached house and land packages from the low $300,000s to half a million dollars. “It doesn’t mean cheap and nasty. It will be well-designed and part of a quality community.” There are ways of ensuring this, he says. “Mix up the lot sizes so you don’t get concentrations. Establish upfront more pocket parks with equipment. Install a good pedestrian and cycle network from day one. You don’t need a big backyard if your apartment backs onto public open space.” Paul is sure there will be demand for higher density housing on the Sunshine Coast, which last year had only 14 percent of registered lots under 450 square metres, compared to neighbouring Moreton Bay Council’s 26 percent. “It will open up the market to people who can’t buy into the current market, particularly first home buyers.” The Minister says the ULDA has demonstrated its leadership in smart residential housing. “Some people react poorly to ‘higher density’ because in the past it was done poorly and designed badly,” says Stirling. “But we won’t be repeating mistakes of the past. We won’t be creating dormitory suburbs without high-level services including public transport and employment.” He believes well-planned communities can achieve 30 dwellings per hectare, which is more than double the Coast’s current average in new estates. As for issues such as noise related to the aerodrome, and the ability of Caloundra South to fit into the council’s big picture for the rest of Caloundra, stay tuned.

Affordability is an issue now, so we need to get housing on the ground as soon as possible. We also recognise the construction industry is

doing it tough on the Coast, and we need to get product on the market to give tradies jobs and stimulate the economy

Fitzgibbon Chase park, Brisbane. The type of greenspace expected for Caloundra South

What are Stockland’s intentions? A Stockland spokesperson says it’s too early to provide details of lot timings or prices for such a large project. “From zoning and planning to the physical conversion of undeveloped land into housing lots with roads and services, this is a complex project that will take time,” she says. “And rightly so – planning regulations and environmental standards are critical to upholding the sustainability of new developments.” The company rejects claims about land banking by developers to inflate prices. “It is in Stockland’s interests, the interest of its shareholders and customers, to bring land to market as quickly as feasible,” she says. “Any delay is costly to the community because it will delay the delivery of housing affordability and jobs. It is also costly to Stockland as undeveloped land incurs holding costs.” Stockland Queensland general manager Kingsley Andrew says the company is committed to “a robust consultation process” and continuing to work with the council, the State and the community. It intends the project to provide 15,000 full-time, non-construction jobs upon completion, as well as the rehabilitation of degraded former pine forest. “Our commitment remains to deliver a sustainable community, where infrastructure leads growth and the emphasis is on local job creation,” Kingsley says.

For further details about UDAs (Urban Development Areas) or the ULDA (Urban Land Development Authority), visit www.ulda.qld.gov.au

Sunshine Coast Su

our plac ou acce ce our o urr fut ffu u ttu u re ur re

Biodiversity Strategy 2010-2020 20 The Biodiversity Strategy is council’s greenprint for protecting the Coast’s unique environment for future generations.

Biodiversity Strategy 2010-2020

You can help preserve the region’s biodiversity into the IXWXUH±¿QGRXWKRZDWZZZVXQVKLQHFRDVWTOGJRYDX

30 My Property Preview

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00024 12/10

It outlines the strategies council will use to protect, enhance and connect the Coast’s natural assets.

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postscript 011 will determine how Caloundra South develops over the next 20 years, following the State Government’s October 5 decision to transfer direct planning responsibility and development assessment from the council to the state’s Urban Land Development Authority (ULDA). The ULDA has to finish an overarching Development Scheme for the site by October 2011 and wants to get housing on the ground at Caloundra South “as soon as possible”. All parties say they want to work together – the council, the ULDA and developer Stockland, which owns the 2360 hectares declared as an Urban Development Area, including Bellvista 2. The council will represent and support the interests of not only future Caloundra South ratepayers and residents, but the people who already live across Caloundra and the Sunshine Coast. “The council wants to work with the State Government and ULDA to the greatest extent possible, with the objective of advancing the interests of the whole community in the planning of Caloundra South,” says the council’s Ron Piper. “The plans prepared by the council were soundly conceived and will continue to be advanced by the council as its preferred position on the development of the site.” In fact, the council forwarded its finalised Structure Plan to Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and the ULDA on October 29, asking them to incorporate key elements such as sustainability. The plan is available on the council’s website. The ULDA released its first Caloundra South Community Newsletter in November. It says the community of up to 50,000 people will demonstrate best practice urban design, ecological sustainability and a mix of land uses to facilitate the delivery of jobs. “The early preparation of the development scheme is already underway with information supplied by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council being reviewed, including the results of community engagement.” The ULDA says it will hold its “first major community engagement activity” in February, 2011. On December 6, CEO Paul Eagles joined the Minister and Stockland’s Marc Wilkinson at a public forum organised by residents’ group OSCAR at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Environmental concerns, particularly in relation to the Pumicestone Passage, were among those aired by the crowd of hundreds. Written by Julie Gatehouse.

2

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The plans prepared by the council were soundly conceived and will continue to be advanced by the council as its

preferred position on the development of the site

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FRIDAY, 26 MARCH 2010

FREE – YOURS TO KEEP

MAKING ALL THE PIECES FIT The latest plans for Palmview are revealed ISSUE 83

MY HOME PREVIEW | AUCTION ACTION

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| NEW DEVELOPMENTS www.mypropertypreview.com.au 2/3/2011 11:15:28 AM


cover story

Green and keen to grow by Julie Gatehouse

As potential home owners and investors await the urban growth of perfectly-planned Palmview, governments and industry debate the ďŹ ner details. MPP investigates. Z UIFSFXJMMCFMJUUMFDIBODFPG newcomers still confusing Palmview with Palmwoods to its north-west. That first syllable will be the only common factor, as the new Palmview Structure Plan conceives the CJSUIPGBMFBGZTVCVSCBOHJBOUo QFPQMF living, working and playing south of Sippy Downs on the eastern side of the Bruce Highway. The new residents will be housed in a variety of ways, from single workers and retirees in affordable unit complexes to large families in detached homes with backyards. Commercial development aims to encourage a self-contained economy, with a new town centre of retail businesses and office blocks plus a light industry precinct to the south. Community services such as public transport, a primary school and recreation facilities aim to boost lifestyle. .PSFUIBOUXPUIJSETPGJUTQMVT hectares will remain protected as green space, bounded by the Mooloolah River National Park to the northeast and Palmview Conservation Park to the southwest. From the Sunshine Coast Regional Councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s point of view, those are the vital elements of sustainability: economic, social and environmental. But the details are not yet set in concrete and the public is encouraged UPIBWFBÄ&#x2022;OBMTBZCFGPSFUIF"QSJMEFBEMJOF Describing Palmview as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;make or breakâ&#x20AC;? development for the Coast, Mayor Bob Abbot wants residents to send a message to the Queensland Government about their vision for this Greenfield community. While Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe supports most of the plan including its core land use designations, the council does not think his latest changes match expectations. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The council wanted to create an outstanding, transit-oriented, sustainable community on this site,â&#x20AC;? said the Mayor after releasing the plan earlier this month. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We devoted a lot of time and resources to getting the planning right and these changes do not support our original intent.â&#x20AC;?

B

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The plan for Palmview provides for a minimum

6285 dwellings with an average residential density of

25 dwellings per hectare

The main bugbears are: tNBLJOHUIFQPQVMBUJPOUBSHFUBNJOJNVN JOTUFBEPGBNBYJNVN tTPNFSFEVDUJPOTJOWFHFUBUJPOCVÄ&#x152;FST tSFNPWBMPGTPNFFOFSHZFÄ? DJFODZ QSPWJTJPOT tDIBOHJOHJOGSBTUSVDUVSFiBHSFFNFOUTw to â&#x20AC;&#x153;arrangementsâ&#x20AC;?. Bob Abbot says it suggests a â&#x20AC;&#x153;less than ironclad guarantee that infrastructure will be in place when itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s neededâ&#x20AC;?. tBNCJHVJUZBCPVUXIFUIFSUIFNBJO east-west public transport corridor, known as Greenlink, will cater for a regional bus service as well as pedestrians and bicycles. The council says this capacity is vital so people can travel to Kawana Town Centre and the proposed Sunshine Coast University Hospital. Welcoming public input, Stirling Hinchliffe says he intends to continue working with the DPVODJMUPQMBOUIFOFYUZFBSTPGUIFOFX residential community. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This development wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t happen overnight and must ... provide homes plus access to transport and jobs,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want to state up-front a minimum

population to give certainty with regard to medium and long-term infrastructure plans.â&#x20AC;? The Minister says buffers have been based on the results of thorough assessments of significant ecosystems and points out UIBUIFDUBSFTXJMMCFQSFTFSWFE â&#x20AC;&#x153;The State Government is doing all JUDBOUPIFMQQSPWJEFBÄ&#x152;PSEBCMFHPPERVBMJUZ housing for new residents and the children of existing residents â&#x20AC;&#x201C; should they decide to stay in the area,â&#x20AC;? he says. All new residential CVJMEJOHTXJMMIBWFUPNFFUTUBSFOFSHZ FÄ? DJFOUSFRVJSFNFOUTCZ.BZ Meanwhile land owners, developers, employers and the property industry want RVJDLSFTPMVUJPOTTPQFPQMFDBOTUBSUTFUUJOH up homes and businesses. They believe the XIPMFBSFBoUPDPOUBJONPSFUIBO dwellings â&#x20AC;&#x201C; has enormous potential. According to latest Real Estate Institute of Queensland figures, the median house price BUOFBSCZ4JQQZ%PXOTXBT JOUIF %FDFNCFSRVBSUFSoBHSPXUIPGQFS DFOUPWFSUIFRVBSUFS0WFSNPOUIT JUT median grew half a per cent to $430,000. The figures show Sippy Downs is a bit more affordable than the Sunshine Coastâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

What type of house can be built? > Up to 50 per cent: detached houses > At least 25 per cent: semi-attached such as townhouses, duplexes, villas > At least 20 per cent: attached such as one or two-bedroom units > Covenants cannot specify a minimum ďŹ&#x201A;oor area > At least 12.5 per cent of housing must be affordable to the lowest 40 per cent of the income range and dispersed throughout neighbourhoods. - according to the councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Palmview Structure Plan

Have your say Go to http://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/sitePage.cfm?code=pv-struct-plan

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cover story

COUNCIL MAGAZINE.indd 34

More than

two thirds of its 950-plus hectares will remain protected as

green space

Palmview aims to

create 3000 jobs

Stirling Hinchliffe, Infrastructure and Planning Minister compact, distinct, well-connected, walkable a mix of retail, business, entertainment and neighbourhoods that are safe, pleasant and community facilities. friendly and celebrate the Coastâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s subtropical, 8JUI TRVBSFNFUSFTPGDPNNFSDJBMÄ&#x2DC;PPS outdoor lifestyleâ&#x20AC;?. space, the Palmview Centre will be bigger than It provides for: the existing Chancellor Park shopping centre but tBNJOJNVNEXFMMJOHTXJUIBOBWFSBHF secondary to the proposed, fast-tracked Sippy SFTJEFOUJBMEFOTJUZPGEXFMMJOHTQFSIFDUBSF Downs Town Centre and Technology Park. Ron tHFOFSBMMZMPXUPNFEJVNSJTFSFTJEFOUJBM says Palmview aims to create 3000 jobs. development, but with the highest densities Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a potent mix to have this new town adjoining in and around the Sippy Downs, whose population Palmview District is expected to almost double Activity Centre UP CZBTJUCFDPNFT The council wanted and local activity a bustling university town of to create an outstanding, workers in â&#x20AC;&#x153;smartâ&#x20AC;? jobs and young DFOUSFT TFFCSFBLPVU  tOFJHICPVSIPPETUIBU QFPQMFJORVBMJUZFEVDBUJPO transit-oriented, support high levels Mike Hefferan, Professor sustainable community of Property and Development at of walking, cycling and public transport via the University of Sunshine Coast on this site 400m walkable catchments. (USC), expects important links Ron asserts that residential between the two. â&#x20AC;&#x153;For example, development is only one piece of the USC relies on surrounding areas to provide Palmview pie. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a housing estate on accommodation options for students, staff and steroids, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a community of 14,000,â&#x20AC;? he says, visitors,â&#x20AC;? he says. explaining the importance of public transport, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We hope that, through market demand, commercial and social growth and a range of residential types will be available.â&#x20AC;? environmental care. Mike believes that a large planned precinct The District Activity Centre, for example, such as Palmview has a better chance of achieving will have a main street layout, town park, sustainability than smaller developments, through civic plazas and transit station. Bang in the innovations in design and housing options and middle of the urban area on the map, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s continued over >

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

34 My Property Preview

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

This development wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t happen overnight and must ... provide homes plus access to transport and jobs. We want to state up-front a minimum population to give certainty with regard to medium and long-term infrastructure plans

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

NPOUINFEJBOIPVTFQSJDF PG  XIJDIXBTBESPQ PGQFSDFOUPWFSUIFZFBS4JQQZ %PXOTÄ&#x2022;WFZFBSHSPXUIPGQFS cent was about eight per cent faster than the Coast in general. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re happy that the Structure Plan has been issued because it removes uncertainty and enables the industry to start moving ahead,â&#x20AC;? says Mark Van Wyk, president of the local branch of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Queensland. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Neighbouring estates such BT$IBODFMMPS1BSLBOE#FMMÄ&#x2DC;PXFS are already offering good value for first home buyers and start-up families, plus the area is supported by the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and Innovation Centre. With constraints on land supply across the Coast, the Palmview plan will be further impetus for the area to grow and, in doing so, create work for the housing and construction industries to sustain the economy.â&#x20AC;? However, Mark warns that Palmview is nowhere near â&#x20AC;&#x153;developer readyâ&#x20AC;?, despite its official fast-tracking as B(SFFOÄ&#x2022;FMEEFWFMPQNFOUJONJE as part of a State land supply strategy. According to the current timeline, the council should adopt the finalised 4USVDUVSF1MBOPO+VMZ â&#x20AC;&#x153;If thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the case, it could be two or three years before the first sod is turned,â&#x20AC;? says Mark. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want both levels of government to get things moving at master-planned Palmview as well as Maroochydore and Caloundra South.â&#x20AC;? (Maroochydore was explained in Part 1 of the MPP series and Caloundra South is expected to be released to the public after Easter.) So, when the details are ironed out, what exactly will rise from the ground at the new Palmview? At the moment, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pretty much just green space. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s some natural vegetation but most of it had been cleared for agriculture such as cane-growing and cattle-grazing. Taking a look at the maps, the Structure Plan area is coastal plain sloping down to Sippy Creek and the .PPMPPMBI3JWFS"CPVUQFSDFOUJT TVCKFDUUPÄ&#x2DC;PPEJOH XIJDIFYQMBJOTUIF sizeable amount set aside for protection. (The Structure Plan area is not to be confused with the older section of Palmview on the western side of the highway, around the Ettamogah Pub, which already has housing.) Ron Piper, the councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s project director of urban development, explains UIFJOUFOUJPOUPDSFBUFBIJHIRVBMJUZ lifestyle in an attractive setting with a range of affordable housing choices that meet all stages of life. The plan defines the new Palmview as â&#x20AC;&#x153;a community of

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cover story

smart treatments of stormwater, drainage and sewage. “If pursued correctly, it also has a better opportunity of providing employment nodes and building community than the old system of ‘five blocks here, ten blocks there’,” he says. “Of course the obligation is on developers to make sure these promises are delivered.” Ron says one of Palmview’s outstanding features will be an integrated water cycle management system designed to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in potable use. That means plenty of rainwater harvesting and re-use for toilet flushing and gardening. With fibre-optic connections to houses and businesses providing high-speed broadband, planners expect more homebased businesses and “information industry” jobs rather than, for example, any reliance on Bruce Highway frontage or access. There will be four roads connecting the new Palmview to existing roads north and south. The public transport system is designed to have frequent direct services to Sippy Downs Town Centre, the University, Kawana Town Centre and the new hospital at Kawana. However, the routes of the latter two, subject to the controversial ministerial changes, may be less direct than the council wants. What effect might Palmview have on the overall property market? “A Structure Plan gives a much higher level of predictability for those investing large sums of money in the region, for those buying property and, eventually, for the whole community,” says Mike Hefferan. “Hopefully it will ensure a more consistent supply of land and that can only help affordability over time. Structure Plans are now integral to managing growth on the Coast.” Mark from the UDIA says while greater diversity and density in housing is good for community vibrancy, he hopes the property market embraces the smaller units as much as the detached houses with four bedrooms and double garages on conventional lots. “The plan imposes up to 40 dwellings per hectare compared to the traditional 10 to 12,” he says. “That’s a lot of units, townhouses and group housing.” There are four landowners in the new Palmview and the largest urban-designated portion is owned by Investa Property Group which developed nearby Bellflower. Investa’s development manager for Palmview, Michael Hopkins, says the company supports the government planning process and is reviewing the Structure Plan. “The components of the document are very detailed and complex,” he says. “We are working through the sections so we can respond appropriately, particularly regarding the environmental, infrastructure and transport aspects of the plan. Our fundamental aim is to participate in the development of a community that is sustainable, welcoming and well-planned.” www.mypropertypreview.com.au

COUNCIL MAGAZINE.indd 35

The plan defines the new Palmview as a community of compact, distinct, well-connected, walkable neighbourhoods that are safe, pleasant and friendly and celebrate the Coast’s subtropical, outdoor lifestyle

< from overleaf

Ron Piper, project director of urban development, Sunshine Coast Regional Council

Source: Sunshine Coast Regional Council

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local update

Palmview approval a step closer The council and Palmview landowners come to an infrastructure agreement, pushing the plan into its final stage. wners of the Palmview greenfield site have guaranteed $600 million worth of infrastructure will be rolled out to support the planned residential community, as part of a landmark agreement signed last Sunday night. The infrastructure agreement was reached following rigorous negotiations between Sunshine Coast Regional Council and the three landowners, and was signed by all parties and Unitywater. Council’s structure plan and the agreement have now been forwarded to Planning and Infrastructure Minister Stirling Hinchliffe for a second state interest check. The minister has 15 days to respond to the documents, signalling the final phase in the lengthy master-planning process. The council’s planning portfolio spokesman Russell Green says some compromises were required from all parties during negotiations, but the outcome is positive for Sunshine Coast ratepayers. “This is the first structure plan of its kind in Queensland and we were determined to ensure that existing ratepayers would not be forced to foot the bill for the infrastructure required on this site,” Russell says. “As a result of negotiations, landowners have undertaken to provide $600 million worth of infrastructure sequenced to support the growing community, with completion of each stage of development triggering the next phase in infrastructure delivery. “Our plan also includes 615 hectares of land for ecological protection and rehabilitation, and more than 130 hectares of land for local, district and regional community, sport and recreational facilities. “It will deliver affordable housing with 12.5 per cent of dwellings on the site set aside for that purpose, and incorporates water- and energy-efficient urban design.

O

It will deliver affordable housing with

Caloundra d

12.5% of dwellings on the site set aside for that purpose, and incorporates water- and energy-efficient urban design

Sippy Downs

An aerial view of the site

“It includes a ‘greenlink’ – a dedicated public and active transport link – connecting Palmview to Sippy Downs and to Kawana. Council has fought hard for the best outcomes for community amenity and environmental sustainability.” Sunshine Coast Mayor Bob Abbot says finalisation of the structure plan and infrastructure agreement demonstrates that the council is up to the task of planning for significant greenfield sites in the region. He says if the council’s plans are supported by the minister, 800 ‘shovel-ready’ lots at Palmview could be approved immediately. “This is further evidence that we are genuine about moving this project along,” the mayor says.

More than

130 hectares of land for local, district and regional community, sport and recreational facilities

“We have participated in the process set down by the State Government in good faith and our staff have worked tirelessly to meet the requirements and deadlines. “The plan for Palmview is consistent with council’s goals for the provision of public transport, affordable living, environmental protection, and well-designed communities. “Some compromises have been made in an effort to balance a wide range of interests and views on how this development should proceed. “However, we believe the result is fair and reasonable, provides a range of community and infrastructure benefits and supports our vision for a sustainable future.”

our ou ur pl place lace ou our u r futur f ut utu t u rre e

Sunshine Coast Climate change and peak oil present major threats to the Sunshine Coast; its natural environment, communities and economic activity. Council has responded. The Climate Change and Peak Oil Strategy 2010-2020 is a proactive approach intended to build the region’s environmental, social and economic resilience. Our goal is build a low carbon, low oil, resilient future for the Sunshine Coast.

Land use, infrastructure ure and transport planning, plan anning an ng, ng innovation and partnerships erships are key to o tackling tta tacklin ing these in e issues across the region. on. Using these se tools, s, the action plan intends to: Ź reduce greenhouse gas s emissions Ź cut oil dependency Ź help the Sunshine Coast transition tto alternative lt energy sources Ź adapt to the prospect of climate change Ź build business capacity for the council and the region.

Visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au for a copy of the strategy. 36 My Property Preview

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Climate Change and Peak Oil Strategy rategy 2010-2 2010-2020 20 20 02 20

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2/3/2011 11:16:06 AM


FRIDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2010

FREE – YOURS TO KEEP

THE PUSH FOR PALMVIEW Planning has finally been given the green light

ISSUE 118

NEW THOUSANDS T HO OF PROPERTIES ONLINE NOW www.mypropertypreview.com.au

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cover story

Palmview gets the green light by Julie Gatehouse

A master-planned community of 17,000 people has got the green light at Palmview. MPP finds out how we’ll watch it grow.

T

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The council’s vision for Palmview is a

water- and energyefficient community where new residents are housed in diverse ways, with up to 50 per cent in detached dwellings

We expect to deliver the first home sites in

early 2012

of the state’s Urban Land Development Authority and developer Stockland, which owns 2300 hectares. “Finalising the Palmview structure plan and $600 million infrastructure agreement has demonstrated that council is up to the job of planning for greenfield sites in the region,” Bob Abbot says. “We believe the plan is fair and reasonable, provides a range of community and infrastructure benefits and supports our vision for a sustainable future.” Stirling Hinchliffe has congratulated the council on its quick endorsement of the revised Palmview plan and its commitment to resolve outstanding issues. These include adjusting the routes of the main public transport corridor called Greenlink, which aims to connect Palmview to Sippy Downs and Kawana.

Investa will be engaging local builders, local architects and local contractors to deliver this new community. Through the 15 years it takes to create Palmview, about 4700 direct jobs will be created

he first page of the Palmview Structure Plan states: “As adopted on 1 November 2010.” It sounds simple, but it represents a breakthrough in more than two years of angst and arduous negotiations among government, the community and the land owners of 926 hectares south of Sippy Downs/ Chancellor Park, on the eastern side of the Bruce Highway. What it means for the future is even more significant – between 16,100 and 17,700 people living in 8000 new dwellings in a mixed-density, ‘green’ community served by $600 million worth of new infrastructure. While the real detail is only just beginning to emerge, Sunshine Coast Regional Council calls its state-approved document “a milestone in planning for the region” and land owners are knuckling down to their master plans and development applications. How soon could it all happen? Investa Property Group, which owns 375 hectares, tells MPP it intends to start the ball rolling next year by designing and building roads and other services. The early provision of infrastructure and preservation of vegetation have been hard-fought issues between all parties, including community and environmental groups, Mayor Bob Abbot, councillors and the State Infrastructure Minister Stirling Hinchliffe. The project has massive scope. “Investa will be engaging local builders, local architects and local contractors to deliver this new community,” says development manager Michael Hopkins. “Through the 15 years it takes to create Palmview, about 4700 direct jobs will be created.” What’s the earliest people may become owner-occupiers, tenants or landlords in the new Palmview, with its deliberate goal of affordability? “We expect to deliver the first home sites in early 2012,” Michael says. This means Palmview may progress on a similar early timeline to the Coast’s other fast-tracked greenfield site, Caloundra South. The minister recently told MPP that more than 100 lots of its adjoining suburb Bellvista Two could be on the market within a year. Caloundra South is in the planning hands

The Minister says the east-west Greenlink, for example, should avoid the Birtinya Wetlands, a sensitive ecosystem that is home to endangered frogs. The north-south Greenlink, through an Energex easement, copped criticism in public submissions. Local residents are also concerned that limited road access points, including to the Bruce Highway, will worsen traffic congestion in surrounding suburbs. Councillor Russell Green, whose portfolio is strategy and regional planning, says public transport will be as integral to the development as sustainable urban design and environmental protection. The council is re-examining the options and expects to finalise the routes within months. There’s already a map and table showing the order of construction for each major transport infrastructure element (see map

12.8). The Claymore Road link must be built before any development in the masterplanned area, followed by the South Road link, which is triggered after 2500 dwelling units are done. So what will Palmview actually look like, and who will be involved in developing it? The key stakeholders are Investa, private landowners Peter Crosby of Nambour and Gerard McCafferty of Brisbane, Juniper Group, Reed Property Group, the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), the Housing Industry Association and Unitywater. The Palmview structure plan area is mostly green space due west of Kawana, criss-crossed by Sippy Creek and bordered by the Mooloolah River. There’s some natural vegetation but most was cleared for agriculture such as cane growing and cattle grazing. About 45 per cent is subject to flooding, which is partly why two-thirds of the site – or 615 hectares – will be set aside for ecological protection and rehabilitation. More than 130 hectares are allocated for community, sport and recreational facilities. Russell Green says the adoption of the structure plan signals the next phase necessary to get shovels in the ground, to ensure about 800 lots “are delivered quickly to market”. With 12.5 per cent of all housing to be affordable, he says more than half of this first batch will be in that category. Investa says it will deliver 450 discounted lots in the first release, as part of its commitment to the Federal Government’s Housing Affordability Fund. These funds are granted to improve the supply of new housing and make housing cheaper for first-home buyers. It alleviates two barriers – land holding costs incurred by developers and infrastructure costs. “In addition, we’ll gift a site suitable for building 50 townhouses to the Sunshine Coast Housing Company,” says Michael Hopkins. “This will ensure the lots are spread throughout the first stages of Palmview.” While there are no prices yet, RP Data statistics show the median sale price of houses in adjoining Sippy Downs was

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cover story

An aerial view of Palmview

The industry is looking forward to Palmview’s diversity in housing choices, its creation of a central hub for commercial opportunities and its connectivity to other centres using modes of transport other than private cars

Mark says the industry is looking forward to Palmview’s diversity in housing choices, its creation of a central hub for commercial opportunities and its connectivity to other centres using modes of transport other than private cars. He believes the designated residential land is conveniently located to support the University of the Sunshine Coast and Sippy Downs precincts and will encourage the live-work-play ethos. “Other important employment centres like Maroochydore to the north-east, Kawana Business Village and the proposed hospital and town centre to the east, and the Sunshine

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“ Palmview will have its own town

centre and schools linked by road, cycle and pedestrian networks

Between

7319 and 8051 dwellings will be built at Palmview over 15 years

Finalising the Palmview structure plan and $600 million infrastructure agreement has demonstrated that council is up to the job of planning for greenfield sites in the region. We believe the plan is fair and reasonable, provides a range of community and infrastructure benefits and supports our vision for a sustainable future

$439,000 in June, a 2.1 per cent increase over the previous year. The median for units was $200,000, a 2.6 per cent rise on June 2009. Its residential population was just over 9000 and the median age of residents was 34. The median asking rent for houses was $400 and for units was $375. The UDIA’s Queensland branch president Mark Van Wyk points out that estates such as Chancellor Park and Bellflower are fully inclusive communities that have been offering good value for all family types, from firsthome buyers and young families to retirees.

Mayor Bob Abbot

Coast Industrial Park to the south, are all within easy reach,” Mark says. He adds that the local development and construction industry and the region’s economy desperately need the injection of investment and the improvement in business confidence. Michael Hopkins says Investa can now move immediately into detailed planning to secure approvals to begin site works, including roads, “as early as possible in 2011”. “We believe the combination of early infrastructure, green space, a plan for housing diversity and choice to support affordability, as well as recreation and public transport initiatives, will set benchmarks for new communities,” he says. Palmview will have its own town centre and schools linked by road, cycle and pedestrian networks. The map shows the central district activity precinct (in blue, map 12.7) encircled by medium-density residential (orange), and fringed to the south by a local industry and enterprise area (purple). Three educational facilities, four local activity centres (smaller retail strips) and more than half a dozen sports/recreation parks are drawn in.

“Between 7319 and 8051 dwellings will be built at Palmview over 15 years,” says Michael of Investa. “More than 60 per cent of their total will be constructed on Investa’s land … [as will] the village centre. Roads, parks and schools will be spread across the site. To develop this new community, the landowner group will continue to work in co-operation, which we have done from the start.” The council’s vision for Palmview is a water- and energy-efficient community where new residents are housed in diverse ways, with up to 50 per cent in detached dwellings. Single workers or retirees may enjoy the convenience of townhouses and units. Young couples may gravitate towards homes on small lots. Larger families needing more space can take advantage of the houses with bigger backyards. An integrated water cycle management system will include rainwater harvesting and re-use for toilet flushing and gardening. Investa says the Coast’s style will be reflected not only in the architecture of buildings, but also in the streetscape and continued over >

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cover story < from overleaf

landscape. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want the design for streets and houses to reflect the Sunshine Coast character,â&#x20AC;? says Michael. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This might be down to species of landscaping or the materials used in the buildings. All of this will be surrounded by natural and rehabilitated bush and native flora. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The village centre is designed as a main street with low-scale buildings and an emphasis will be placed on walking rather than car travel. There will be shaded pedestrian paths. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There will be parkland, ranging from pockets in local neighbourhoods for a game of cricket, to a district park where field sports will be played by local schools and sporting associations.â&#x20AC;? He says the company travelled for inspiration when designing Palmview, but was more heavily influenced by local communities.

How will development contribute to lifestyle? s4HECREATIONOFAHIGH QUALITYLIFESTYLEWITH ARANGEOFAFFORDABLEHOUSINGCHOICESAVAILABLE TOMEETALLLIFESTAGES s!COMMUNITYOFCOMPACT DISTINCT WELL CONNECTED WALKABLEANDTHOUGHTFULLYDESIGNED NEIGHBOURHOODSTHATPROVIDESAFE PLEASANT ANDFRIENDLYPLACESTOLIVEANDPROMOTEASENSE OFCOMMUNITYANDCOMMUNITYRESPONSIBILITY s4HE3UNSHINE#OASTSSUB TROPICAL OUTDOOR LIFESTYLEISCELEBRATEDWITHCOMMUNITYAND OPENSPACESFORPEOPLEOFALLAGESTOSOCIALISE EXERCISEANDPLAY Source: Sunshine Coast Regional Councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s adopted Palmview Structure Plan.

What will Palmview look like? s(IGH QUALITYDESIGNANDCONSTRUCTIONOFCIVILWORKS

BUILDINGS PLACESANDSPACESTHATCREATEADISTINCTIVE LOOKANDFEELTHROUGHLANDSCAPESETTING LOCALCLIMATIC INmUENCESANDTHECONTEMPORARY VERNACULAR SUB TROPICALCOASTALBUILDINGSTYLE s(OMES BUSINESSESANDCOMMUNITYBUILDINGS DESIGNEDANDBUILTTO@SITINAGREEN LEAFYLANDSCAPE s!VIBRANT MIXED USETOWNCENTRETHATPROVIDES AFOCUSFORTHECOMMUNITY OFFERINGACCESSTOARANGE OFSHOPPING LOCALEMPLOYMENTANDSERVICESASWELL ASCIVICSPACESANDCOMMUNITYANDCULTURALFACILITIES s!TOWNCENTRESUPPORTEDBYANETWORKOFLOCAL CENTRESLOCATEDTOPROVIDEFORTHEDAY TO DAY NEEDSOFRESIDENTS4HESECENTRESARELOCATED WITHINWALKINGDISTANCE

Palmview master-planned area: development and transport infrastructure network sequencing

Source: Sunshine Coast Regional Council

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cover story What sort of jobs will it have? Palmview master planned area: land use structure sequencing, and precincts and sub-precincts

!VARIETYOFLOCALJOBSMAKINGACONTRIBUTION TOIMPROVEDLEVELSOFSELF CONTAINMENTWITHIN THE0ALMVIEWAND3IPPY$OWNSCOMMUNITIES s!SMALLLOCALINDUSTRYANDENTERPRISEAREA TOTHESOUTHOFTHE0ALMVIEWTOWNCENTRE PROVIDESLOW IMPACTINDUSTRIALUSESAND COMPLEMENTARYBUSINESSANDCOMMERCIALUSES s,OCALBUSINESSESBENElTFROMHIGH QUALITY BROADBANDANDINTERACTIVETECHNOLOGICAL

SYSTEMSWHICHCONNECTBUSINESSESAND PROVIDEOPPORTUNITIESFORHOME BASED BUSINESSES WITHlBRE OPTICCONNECTIONS TOEVERYHOMEANDBUSINESS s"USINESSESDONOTRELYONDIRECTACCESSOR FRONTAGETOTHE"RUCE(IGHWAYFORTHEIRVIABILITY Source: Sunshine Coast Regional Councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s adopted Palmview Structure Plan.

Source: Sunshine Coast Regional Council

Sun nshine Co oastt

our plac ou acce ce our o urr ffu fut u ttu u re ure ur e

The Coastâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s population and economy has expanded rapidly leading to an increase in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Cheap energy, in the form of electricity and fuel, has underpinned that expansion â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but this shows signs of coming to an end with both electricity and fuel prices on the rise.

Moving to cleaner and renewable energy is the way forward and will help prepare the Coast for a low carbon, low oil future â&#x20AC;&#x201C; creating diverse economic opportunities along the way. The Energy Transition Plan, along with the Climate Change and Peak Oil Strategy, details how council and the region can begin this transition.

Visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au for more information on the Energy Transition Plan. www.mypropertypreview.com.au

COUNCIL MAGAZINE.indd 41

Sunshine e Coa astt

Energy Transition Plan 2010-2020

00024 12/10

Energy Transition Plan 2010-2020

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postscript ne of the councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest planning success stories of 2010, Palmview will start taking shape on site in 2011. Over the next 15 years, Palmview will be built as a sustainable, master-planned community of about 17,000 people surrounding a commercial activity centre. Up to half of the 8000 or so residential dwellings will be detached houses. A range of lot sizes and building designs will encourage affordability for home buyers and tenants. About 3000 direct jobs will be created, excluding jobs during construction. The councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s adoption of its State-sanctioned Structure Plan on November 1 progressed further on November 5, when council planning scheme amendments took effect. These amendments will facilitate the new Palmview. Key features will include an integrated water management system and fibre optic connections to houses and businesses for high speed broadband internet. Land owners and developers now have the certainty to prepare master plans and lodge them with the council. These will provide more detailed planning on early infrastructure such as roads, and the types of development to occur onsite. Investa Property Group is eager to start building more than 60 percent of the total dwellings on its 375 hectares. The company aims to deliver the first home sites in early 2012. The council is awaiting lodgement of Investaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Plan of Development for part of the Palmview site to ensure that 500 affordable housing lots are delivered to market quickly as part of the Housing Affordability Fund agreement with the Commonwealth Government. Written by Julie Gatehouse.

O

Over the next 15 years,

Palmview will be built as a sustainable, master-planned community of about 17,000 people surrounding a significant commercial activity centre

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FRIDAY, 22 OCTOBER 2010

FREE – YOURS TO KEEP

TAKING OFF How will a new runway and masterplan for the Coast’s airport affect nearby property?

ISSUE 113 MY HOME PREVIEW | MARKET TRACKER | AUCTIONS & MORE

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cover story

Airport takes off by Julie Gatehouse

MPP gets to the heart of the $500 million masterplan for Sunshine Coast Airport to discover its likely effects, from the economy and jobs to lifestyle and property.

W

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The greater Marcoola area

stands to gain significantly from the

airport’s masterplan, which reflects the Council’s desire to boost investment in

aviation and related industries to diversify the Coast’s economy.

Coolangatta or Cairns, the runway will be a major springboard, enabling links with Asian markets such as India, China and Japan and catering for new generation aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The masterplan also includes aprons, taxiways, another terminal, more car parking facilities and commercial infrastructure to support the projected growth in tourism and the population of the Coast. What will this mean for local people and property, across the Maroochy North Shore and beyond? According to those behind the plans, the benefits are likely to range from surging employment to improved residential

With passenger rates among the fastest growing in the country and expected to rise more than four per cent a year to 2027, there will be need for expansion as the airport will quickly approach its operating capacity

hen the Sunshine Coast Airport opened in 1961 as a grass landing strip amid cane land at Marcoola, no one could have anticipated that it would serve a region of 330,000 people, with almost a million passengers a year across the tarmac, and suburbs full of housing to its north, east and south. As the airport approaches its 50th anniversary next year, it has reached a critical stage of implementing a 2007 masterplan to cater for growth. “With passenger rates among the fastest growing in the country and expected to rise more than four per cent a year to 2027, there will be need for expansion as the airport will quickly approach its operating capacity,” says general manager Peter Pallot. There are more than 70 flights a week from the Coast to Sydney and Melbourne on Jetstar, Virgin Blue and Tiger Airways. Over the past couple of years, passengers, motorists and residents have seen multimillion-dollar government works in and around the airport, which is about five kilometres north of the Coast’s designated CBD, Maroochydore. The most recent was a major upgrade of the terminal and departure lounge, doubling the number of retail outlets. That followed construction of the North Shore Connection Road linking the airport to the Sunshine Motorway via a new interchange, and the opening of the airport’s new four-lane entrance road called Runway Drive. A new project is set to elevate the airport into a bigger league. “We’re planning a new, wider runway along an east-west alignment,” Peter says. “With approvals and funding, it’s hoped construction will start in 2016 so the runway can be operational by 2020. This will open the door to new domestic, trans-Tasman and international destinations, as well as enhancing our capacity to access freight markets, particularly fresh local produce.” While it won’t bring the Sunshine Coast in line with supersized regional airports like

amenity due to redirected aircraft noise. The main challenge for Sunshine Coast Regional Council, which owns and manages the airport, is obtaining a big chunk of the $500 million cost from the Federal Government. Debbie Blumel has personal and professional knowledge of the airport and the council division surrounding it. She lived at Marcoola 10 years ago before moving to Yaroomba, was elected in 2008 to represent that division, and also heads the council’s major projects portfolio, which includes the airport plan. “I’ve seen the Maroochy North Shore transform from the poor cousin of the Coast

to the jewel in the crown, especially in the past two years,” Debbie says. “People in Marcoola, Mudjimba, Pacific Paradise, from Twin Waters to Mt Coolum know they’re sitting on fabulous residential property. These are vibrant communities that have faced extraordinary growth pressures and have had to catch up on issues such as traffic, infill and drainage.” Debbie says three levels of government have been contributing to the rejuvenation of this low-lying coastal strip north of the Maroochy River and east of Sunshine Motorway. One example was the State’s construction of a second bridge over the river and subsequent new and upgraded road, which removed traffic gridlock around Pacific Paradise. Another was the council winning $3.5 million in federal funding to build a community centre adjacent to the airport. “We’re now selecting the successful tenderer so construction can start before Christmas,” Debbie says. “When the centre opens mid-2011 it will have social and business benefits, with meeting rooms for up to 150 people. It will be perfect for ‘fly in, fly out’ business meetings.” Streetscaping is underway as part of a revitalisation project along Suncoast Boulevard to the north, near the SurfAir resort and other accommodation high-rises. The aim is to create an attractive, safe, pedestrian- and cycle-friendly village centre. “And that hub will expand as the airport business grows,” Debbie says. She believes the greater Marcoola area “stands to gain significantly” from the airport’s masterplan, which reflects the council’s desire to boost investment in aviation and related industries to diversify the Coast’s economy. “The council is now studying the sorts of businesses that want to locate near our regional airport,” Debbie says. It expects an influx of support services from accommodation to catering and car

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cover story

It also reduces the “aircraft noise footprint” which means improved liveability and amenity for thousands of current and future residents… Debbie Blumel, head of the Council’s major projects portfolio

Aerial of Sunshine Coast Airport and Marcoola rentals. “We want to provide long-term commercial and residential opportunities.” The decision to build a new east-west runway, rather than extend the existing runway parallel to the coastline, was not taken lightly. There was extensive consultation with stakeholders amid public controversy earlier this decade. Some home owners had been worried about the potential for increased aircraft noise and safety issues relating to flight paths for the existing runway, previously upgraded to 1800 metres long and 30 metres wide. On the technical side, the north-south runway still couldn’t

We want to provide

long-term commercial and residential

The new runway is the more expensive option but is considered the best long-term solution for both planes and people. It will be 45 metres wide and have a longer take-off distance of 2450 metres from both easterly and westerly directions

handle aircraft larger than the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. Debbie says the new runway is the more expensive option but is considered the best long-term solution for both planes and people. It will be 45 metres wide and have a longer take-off distance of 2450 metres from both easterly and westerly directions. This means bigger planes with more passengers flying longer routes will be able to touch down on the Sunshine Coast. However, it also reduces the “aircraft noise footprint”, which means improved liveability and amenity for thousands

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opportunities

With approvals and funding, it’s hoped construction will start in 2016 so the runway can be

operational by 2020

of current and future residents. “The number of dwellings significantly affected by noise comes down from 2400 to about 600,” says Debbie, adding that more flight paths are expected to cross the ocean and cane land instead of housing. “No dwellings will be located in the designated public safety area of the new runway, whereas there are 115 dwellings in the safety area at the northern end of the existing runway.” She also points to environmental benefits. “This will give us an opportunity to address land issues surrounding the airport, with the potential to link the coastal dune land from the airport to the Maroochy River and to extend council programs protecting and revegetating parts of the river precinct.” Potential property investors or residents with questions about future flight paths can check with the airport as the masterplan progresses. Peter Pallot says, “The project enjoys substantial community support and the same level of engagement and open communication will continue in upcoming phases.” He says preliminary runway designs should be with the council by Christmas. If a design is approved early next year as expected, the next step will be an environmental impact assessment, which may take up to three years. Buffer zones have already been acquired to achieve biodiversity and open space goals. “This upgrade will help people travel, trade and communicate,” Peter says. “It will improve our overall quality of life and cater for population growth in a major sea-change region.” Jay Pashley, an owner of North Shore Realty at Marcoola, expects a positive effect on the property market as demand increases for housing in an area that is generally still affordable but in limited supply. “This airport upgrade will bring a lot of employment to the North Shore, making the collection of low-density, beachside

villages highly sought-after,” he says. “I’d expect to see activity in any of the suburbs from the Maroochy River to Mt Coolum. There’s a wide variety of housing, from the original beach homes to modern residential estates at Twin Waters around the Novotel resort, the Town of Seaside, Mudjimba.” Jay says the range of prices suits owneroccupiers and investors. “You’ve got the rare commodity of absolute beachfront unit developments or a small house in the $400,000s just a block from the sand,” he says. What about aircraft noise? “It isn’t as big an issue as some think, and the people who look here are aware of it anyway. Living on the North Shore is such an attractive option. People who work interstate can fly in and be at the beach within 20 minutes of landing.” Debbie says suburbs like Mudjimba mix a traditional village atmosphere with trendier beachside living. “The pressure is on as more people discover these areas,” she says. “They’re buying older, singlestorey homes to renovate in that coastal architectural style rather than McMansions. Everyone’s keen to protect the look and feel of the area.” She expects the airport upgrade to launch a property boom as people seek the convenience of a major transport hub with the lifestyle of the North Shore. The council will send a new submission to Infrastructure Australia (IA) in December, seeking federal funding. IA knocked back last year’s submission for $122 million, despite south-east Queensland’s Council of Mayors including it in a pre-election ‘Magnificent 7’ priority list of transport projects considered of national significance. Debbie says the latest submission is stronger and answers IA’s queries about user charges, international passenger forecasts and benefits to the nation. continued over >

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cover story < from overleaf

“An analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers found a benefit cost ratio for the project of 3.52, meaning every dollar invested in the project results in $3.52 generated in the regional economy,” she says. “The Sunshine Coast Airport is a strategic asset that contributed almost $470 million in direct expenditure to the regional economy in 2008-2009.” She says the masterplan will provide social, economic and environmental benefits far beyond the Coast, injecting more than

The masterplan will provide social, economic and environmental benefits far beyond the Coast, injecting more than $1.6 billion into the national economy

$1.6 billion into the national economy. A spokesman for federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese tells MPP says the Sunshine Coast Airport plan is not currently on the national priority list, but the council is welcome to put new submissions to IA. “When it comes to investment decisions, the government is guided by advice from that independent body,” he says. “However, the airport is essentially a commercial enterprise and there

Aerial of the existing Sunshine Coast Airport runway

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This upgrade will help people travel, trade and communicate. It will improve our overall

quality of life and cater for population growth in a major seachange region

is no Commonwealth pool of funding available for that. There are a couple dozen airports around the country owned by councils and they all have different needs.” Debbie Blumel says the masterplan has been endorsed by the council and will go ahead regardless of the federal submission. “The method of funding is what we’re negotiating,” she says. “We say there’s a

worthy argument for seeking federal support because of the broader benefits to the community which extend beyond the financial benefits to equity investors. Sources of capital will be subject to great consideration.” Options could include corporatisation, although Debbie says this is premature while options that better benefit the community are considered.

Flying facts s*OBSnThe airport directly employs more than 600 people, stimulating the equivalent of 4400 full-time jobs. The new runway and associated upgrade of facilities will create 5300 more jobs, including 2900 post-construction. s%CONOMYnThe airport upgrade will inject $475 million into the Coast economy annually, dramatically boosting the tourism industry, which contributes 16 per cent of the region’s annual gross regional product. Currently, about nine per cent of all Coast visitors get here via the airport. s6ISITORSn About 1.9 million passengers a year are expected through the airport by 2020. Source: Sunshine Coast Airport

Draft plan of the new airport runway

Source: Sunshine Coast Airport

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postscript s the airport celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2011, the council will be steadily continuing work on the $500million master plan. In the month after this article appeared in MPP, preliminary documents were considered by the council’s Performance and Service Committee and reported to a full council meeting. The documents included a design for the new east-west runway and associated infrastructure and a referral to the Federal Government under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The council adopted the committee’s report, which outlined the opportunities and constraints of implementing the master plan, and resolved to forward the preliminary documents to state and federal agencies for consideration. Airport general manager Peter Pallot says it’s the start of a lengthy approval process, including an Environmental Impact Statement and funding sources. He says the EIS will take up to three years and involve public participation. “Environmental investigations so far have revealed a range of flora and fauna onsite but this is no surprise given the airport’s location beside a national park,” he says. “Our task will be to minimise the impacts.” The council is confident that construction of the new runway can start in 2014 and become operational by 2020. Meanwhile, long-term passengers have started taking advantage of newly-installed covered car parking for 160 spaces at the airport. The council has also allocated $4.1million in its latest capital works program to build the North Shore Community Centre adjacent to the airport at Mudjimba. Written by Julie Gatehouse.

A

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Environmental investigations so far have revealed a range of

flora and fauna onsite but this is no surprise given the airport’s location beside a national park

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FRIDAY, 22 JANUARY 2010

FREE – YOURS TO KEEP

How future job creation will affect property prices ISSUE 74

MY HOME P PR PREVIEW | AUSSIE BACKYARD BBQ | NEW HOMEwww.mypropertypreview.com.au & LAND

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2/3/2011 11:18:03 AM


cover story

Getting on with the job by Julie Gatehouse

There is a vision for our Coast to become a vibrant, green and diverse region, but what does this mean for jobs and property?

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s thousands of Coast residents celebrate Australia Day around barbecues, in backyards and at beaches, the last thing on their minds is work. But without jobs, few would be enjoying this lifestyle, not to mention the dream of home ownership. Many workers, from tradies to executives, took a hit in the recent financial turmoil, and with 200,000 new residents moving here over the next 20 years, employment is critical to our region’s success. “If jobs dry up, our community cannot be sustainable,” says the Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s new investment and marketing manager Alex Lever-Shaw. That, in a nutshell, is why the council, business and industry are determined to do something about jobs at a local level. It’s also why anyone who’s invested in Coast property is keen to know specifics, considering strong employment and economic growth underpin a buoyant property market. The Coast’s economy is dominated by three industries – construction, tourism and retail. We have more than 116,000 households and 31,700 businesses. Most businesses are small, with 85 per cent employing fewer than five people. The Queensland unemployment rate fell marginally to 5.9 per cent in December. Mayor Bob Abbot, who is leading a council and community agenda to make the Coast the most sustainable region in Australia, advocates “an economic climate of opportunities for work and income”. He says sustainability involves balancing environmental, economic and social values while managing growth. So what is being done to boost jobs on the Sunshine Coast? For employers like Hugo Schreuder, chief executive officer of Youi Insurance, setting up a on the Coast has proven lucrative. Youi is part of FirstRand, a global financial services group worth $16 billion and employing 42,000 staff. When the South

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We sat down and agreed that while the Coast is well-known as a tourism destination, it’s time to drive it forward as a

business destination

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The Sunshine Coast is open for business. We are serious about our future and want our business partners to value this community’s desire to be sustainable Alex Lever-Shaw, investment and marketing manager, Sunshine Coast Regional Council

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close next Sunday January 31 – see box overleaf). Its purpose is “to enable the creation of wealth, prosperity and jobs in line with sustainability”. Initial sectors targeted are aviation, creative industries, food and beverage, tourism and events, digital industries, education services and environmental technologies. Later this year four more sectors will be examined. These are health services, sport and leisure, light industries and professional services. The council is determined to respond to the challenges of population growth, climate change and financial cycles. An example given by councillor Lew Brennan, whose portfolio is economic development and entrepreneurship, is investing in green energy production. “We have started the tender process for a proposal to generate electricity from the region’s waste,” Lew says. “It will create jobs, reduce landfill and costs to rate payers, and

We need to reduce our own red tape, streamline planning regulations and form partnerships that help residents turn their ideas and skills into businesses

African-based company wanted to establish a new headquarters a few years ago, it looked around Australia, and settled on Maroochydore. “We’re going unbelievably well,” Hugo says. “We now employ more than 250 staff at Maroochydore, from young singles to senior executives and their families, in departments ranging from the call centre to information technology to claims and finance. We’ve helped the Coast retain skilled professionals who would have sought work in capital cities, and we’ve attracted staff from other areas who are now investing in the region.” Hugo says the quality of staff and the level of council support have helped Youi exceed its business plan projections for both car and home insurance. Fostering national and international investment is one of the council’s most recent job-creation strategies. Two months ago it launched the Natural Advantages initiative, in which 12 of the region’s leading industry, government and educational representatives, such as the University of the Sunshine Coast, Innovation Centre, TAFE and the State Government, are working to encourage innovative, export-focused businesses. “We sat down and agreed that while the Coast is well-known as a tourism destination, it’s time to drive it forward as a business destination,” says Alex. He adds the public may not realise how heavily the council and stakeholders are involved in what could be called the ‘silent’ business. “Our economic development department talks to companies every day about the benefits of moving here, but everything must be confidential until it happens. We’re focusing on particular types of highvalue businesses because, unlike some other regional locations, we don’t have vast tracts of cheap industrial land. We do have an enviable lifestyle and this helps businesses attract and retain the best staff.” Alex says the council is also working with its partners to encourage successful homegrown firms to follow the example of Ingenero (solar), BizFurn (furniture) and Gourmet Garden (food) in expanding locally rather than moving to the capitals. Broadening the Coast’s economic base is the first element of the council’s five-point Action Plan 2009-2014, part of a Draft Economic Development Strategy now out for public comment (submissions

create electricity we can sell on the grid.” Council wants to see controlled growth and a solid footing for property owners and investors, says Alex. “We want to manage growth to maintain our region over the long term and make sure all the elements are balanced for a sustainable future,” he says. “If we don’t, the returns on housing investments certainly won’t be consistent. If there’s a boom you might get bigger returns short term, but who will afford your property if the region isn’t creating high-value jobs?” He says the idea is to increase the value of employment across the Coast to generate more household income so people can enjoy a higher standard of living, including buying their own home. Supporting local businesses is the second part in the plan. Alex points to revitalisation plans for town centres from the beaches to the hinterland, including fresh images and new business practices. Work is underway at Noosa Junction, in

Five ways to boost employment and the economy 1

A broad economic base: Diversifying the economy to enable the creation of more jobs in a wider base of economic sectors while encouraging the growth in employment and output of individual businesses

2

Support for local businesses: Training and development to enhance the capacity of small to medium businesses. Providing the right framework and legislative environment that allows businesses to operate without the burden of over regulation.

3

Infrastructure for economic growth: Ensuring that the right infrastructure is in place through targeted development of land aimed at ensuring business growth.

4

A sustainable tourism industry: As the main industry, it is important that we continue to grow the volume and value of tourism, which also generates business for all the other sectors of the economy.

5

A strong rural sector: The retention of productive capacity is vital to the future sustainability of the region as well as contributing to the lifestyle and appearance of the region.

There are more than

116,000 households and 31,700 businesses on the Sunshine Coast. Most businesses are small, with 85% employing fewer than five people.

Source: the Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s Action Plan

Nambour and Bulcock Street, Caloundra. Meanwhile Sunshine Coast Enterprises, a council-owned company, is running development and training programs for small- to medium-sized businesses across the Coast. Lew says “supporting local” is the fastest way to boost jobs and the Coast economy. “We need to keep working through issues, such as reducing our own red tape and streamlining planning regulations and forming partnerships that help residents turn their ideas and skills into start-up businesses,” he says. Lew says the current overhauls of council strategies relating to planning and economic development recognise the need to make the rules “less onerous and expensive” for business people, particularly in smaller suburbs and hinterland towns. “Employers and sole operators also need better access to state and federal government provisions and financial support from banks.” The plan’s third point is ensuring the infrastructure is in place, such as “through targeted development of land aimed at ensuring business growth”. The recent provision of fibre-optic network through the Connecting the Coast continued over >

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collaboration is expected to attract private companies and government organisations that require high-speed broadband connectivity. Alex says the council is now amending policy to ensure all new developments on the Coast becomes fibre-optic compatible. Transport needs such as the Sunshine Coast Airport terminal’s recent upgrade, plus road and rail partner projects, are a focus. Intensive master-planning is underway for the huge new communities at Palmview and Caloundra South. But the availability of developable land is contentious. Lew acknowledges that industrial land is constrained by policy and cost and wants more of it “freed up”. Mark Van Wyk, who last month became president of the Coast branch of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), says fast-tracking land approvals and creating more industrial land would be incentives for new businesses to set up here. In his list of priorities for job creation in the region (see breakout this page), Mark calls for the approval of land to allow construction around designated activity centres. “This will support enterprise growth,” he says. “The construction and development industries have vast networks to help entice investment to our region. We are not advocating ‘open slather’ or Gold Coast-style development.” Point four on the council’s action plan is a sustainable tourism industry. With this sector a key economic driver of the Coast’s prosperity, a new tourism partnership aims to represent these interests from Noosa to Caloundra. An upcoming example, says Alex, is the Mooloolaba Triathlon on March 26 to 28, which generates thousands of bed nights for the industry – and expenditure that supports other businesses – at a slow time. A strong rural industry is the plan’s fifth point. An innovation for 2010 is the inaugural Sunshine Coast Food Show, to be held at Twin Waters on February 21. “Council, in agreement with the recently formed Sunshine Coast Food and Beverage Marketing Group, is a founding sponsor,” says Alex. The event aims to

Supporting local is the fastest way to boost jobs and the Coast economy

showcase local produce and businesses to a wider distribution network. Lew, who is also on the rural futures strategy working group, says primary production and manufacturing remain vital to the region’s sustainability. Mark from the UDIA believes economic sustainability is already intrinsic to the Sunshine Coast. “Over the past decade the vast majority of businesses here have re-engineered the way they operate and have a far greater social and environmental awareness,” he says. He offers cautious support for diversification. The Coast’s construction and development industry workforce was reduced by 42 per cent, or more than 9200 full-time jobs, in the year to last August. “The good news is that the December 2009 quarter showed a jump of more than 6100 full-time jobs,” he says. “The transition to sustainable job creation should occur over a realistic period to allow for proper planning, consultation, re-skilling or the creation of alternativ industries. It should not alternative occur at the expense of the con construction industry, which is vital to our economy s sustainability in the short to m medium term.” Lew has been a c councillor since he was el elected in Noosa 12 years ago and has worked in

Five priorities for employment and the economy – development industry 1

Promote our region as “open for business” and bring confidence to the market.

2

Act now. Create more industrial land and attract new business and investment.

3

Approve land for construction around various activity centres (for example Maroochydore town centre, Palmview, Beerwah, Kawana, Nambour, Caloundra South) to support enterprise growth.

4

Align the region’s economic development strategy to support these outcomes. The proposed new planning scheme should support the region’s economic development as opposed to controlling it.

5

Establish a meaningful platform where the captains of industry and other stakeholders can work collaboratively to find solutions. Source: UDIA Sunshine Coast

construction, farming, small business and property investment. He agrees that the “mandate to be green” must put a healthy economy and community on the same rung as the environment. “We can’t afford to get the balance wrong at this point in the future of the Sunshine Coast,” he says. Mayor Bob Abbot says the region, which will have some of the nation’s most sophisticated and sustainable master-planned communities over the next 20 years, is already home to a growing and skilled workforce with significant lifestyle advantages over the cities. “We are stepping up our efforts to [tell] the world that the Coast is fast becoming the business location of choice.”

Have your say on the council’s Draft Economic Development Strategy 2009-2014 before Sunday January 31. “The goal for council in terms of economic development is to have a mature, diversified economy based on our unrivalled quality of life, our natural environment and our commitment to sustainability. We aim to build our economy so that it is more resilient to the peaks and troughs of the economic cycle and for our businesses, our infrastructure and our technology to have a reputation for sustainability and success, both nationally and internationally.” Visit business.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au and click on the ‘Draft Economic Development Strategy’ link.

postscript ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY s global economic uncertainty continued in 2010, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council took up the challenge to grow our regional economy and encourage investment to create sustainable employment opportunities. Council’s Economic Development Strategy 2010-2014 was endorsed on 20 May providing the platform for building a robust, diversified economy. On a daily basis, Councillors and staff are leading the implementation of this strategy - working with existing businesses and potential investors so that the whole region benefits from new business ventures, sustainable development opportunities and promoting excellence in our enterprises. The Sunshine Coast is well on the way to becoming one of the most dynamic regional economies in Queensland. Some of the Council’s major economic development wins during the year include finalising the masterplan to create an international gateway for the region at the Sunshine Coast Airport, enhancing our participation in the digital economy by introducing fibre to the premises requirements in three key structure plans for new communities, committing

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over $750 million over five years to build the infrastructure and enterprise centres for the region, establishing a new regional tourism body and launching our Natural Advantage campaign which will seek to position the region as the ideal environment for doing business. Council recently demonstrated its commitment to local companies by agreeing to a three-year sponsorship of the Sunshine Coast Business Expo and Excellence in Business Awards. Economic Development portfolio councillor Lew Brennan said 99.5 percent of the region’s 32,000 businesses were small or medium-sized, forming a strong economic backbone that deserves Council’s support. To top off the year, Council was one of the few local governments in the state to have its financial position rated as “strong with a neutral outlook” following an independent credit review by the Queensland Treasury Corporation. Finance chairman Councillor Chris Thompson says the rating means the council has a high capacity to meet its financial commitments in the short, medium and long term. Written by Julie Gatehouse. My Property Preview 51

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FRIDAY, 1 OCTOBER 2010

FREE – YOURS TO KEEP

PROGRESS REPORT Mayor Bob Abbot’s vision for the Coast is becoming a reality

ISSUE 110 MY HOME PREVIEW | HIA AWARDS FEATURE | AUCTIONS & MORE

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cover story

Vision takes

new turn by Julie Gatehouse

Mayor Bob Abbot had a few surprises when he sat down with MPP to review his sustainability vision over the past year and reveal his priorities for the next.

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The strategies we’ve put in place over the past year can now provide a

very solid foundation and we’re on track to finalise the new regional planning scheme by 2012

we’ve put in place over the past year can now provide a very solid foundation and we’re on track to finalise the new regional planning scheme by 2012, as was my aim last year.” He lists some key strategies out of the flurry of working papers, plans and proposals that have involved extensive community consultation and debate. They are biodiversity, climate change and peak oil, economic development, energy, transport, water and waste management. (See first box, page 8.) “With waste, for example, the strategy is to pull out the majority of recyclables at particular points, either before bins are collected or at the dump,” he says. “We’ve introduced household bins for green waste

Transport affects the Coast’s economy. We want people to live, work and play on the Coast rather than live here and work in Brisbane. Our priority is transport on the Coast, not to the Coast

eading a dozen disparate councillors and 2800 staff in meeting the needs of more than 330,000 people in one of Australia’s fastest growing regions is no walk in the park. It’s even more challenging when you’re a mayor swept into power on solid ‘green’ credentials but facing the economic aftermath of a global financial crisis. In mid-2009, Mayor Bob Abbot outlined to MPP his action plan for making the Sunshine Coast the most sustainable region in the country. Sustainability, he said, was about balancing environmental, economic and social values. It was about carefully planned growth that protected the lifestyles of existing Coast communities. After a year in which the council has been sandwiched between residents and green groups, business, the development industry and other government authorities, does Bob think his sustainability vision is on track? In an interview where he is alternately confident and thoughtful, Bob acknowledges both successes and lessons learned. For a mayor criticised for putting the environment ahead of development and progress, his top three priorities for the coming 12 months will surprise many – as will his admission that he may not contest the March 2012 local government election. At his office desk in Nambour, the Coast’s original heart, Bob points to a document from the Australian Conservation Foundation. It shows the ACF’s 2010 Sustainable Cities Index, “a rigorous compilation, assessment and independent review process” that ranked our 20 largest ‘cities’ according to indicators of environmental performance, quality of life and resilience. The Sunshine Coast is second, behind Darwin and in front of Brisbane (3), the Gold Coast (8), Toowoomba (11) and every other capital. “For that to happen in just two years of this council is recognition of the enormous amount of effort by a lot of people in this community, who are banding together to make a difference,” Bob says. “The strategies

and the council itself has started a full recycling program in our facilities.” Reducing landfill is not the only goal of the Waste Minimisation Strategy, adopted in December, which tackles economic, ecological and social factors. It intends to harness new technologies as a business venture, creating jobs and eventually income for ratepayers. Bob says the recently released draft Sustainable Transport Strategy, which is open for public comment until November 8, has the potential to dramatically improve the way we live. It addresses the fact that 85 per cent of trips made by Coast residents are in private cars, a figure that must be reduced to avoid traffic overload when half a million people are living here by 2031. The strategy includes incentives and infrastructure for

more pedestrians and cyclists, while advocating to the State Government for better public transport services, from more frequent buses and trains to building new transport corridors. “Public transport is an axis,” says Bob. “It’s a critical element affecting those three aspects of sustainability, from reducing travel costs for commuters to improving air quality. That’s why we’re spending considerable time on working out how to deliver it, where it needs to be delivered, and who’s going to pay for it. The council’s transport levy is a good way of bringing forward some services.” The main project underway is CoastConnect, which will initially involve light rail or rapid bus transit between Caloundra, Kawana, Mooloolaba and Maroochydore and eventually link to the Brisbane rail line. “Transport affects the Coast’s economy,” Bob says. “We want people to live, work and play on the Coast rather than live here and work in Brisbane. Our priority is transport on the Coast, not to the Coast.” The economy is a recurring theme as Bob reviews his sustainability vision. “The global financial crisis took the wind out of our sails somewhat because it hit the Coast fairly hard,” he says. “We lost a couple of major companies, although traditional businesses mostly hung in there. Government stimulus packages and low interest rates had a positive effect, but the rebound hasn’t been as quick as we’d like and it’s prompted realisations along the way.” Those realisations have focused on sustainable development as a means of kick-starting jobs and wealth. “The council has taken a positive view by trying to speed up our development assessment program and investing more in the delivery of early infrastructure,” Bob says. “The new Sippy Downs Town Centre is an example where the council has offered to invest $13 million in infrastructure to be paid back once the job’s finished.” Sippy Downs, including the University

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cover story

The secret to the future of the Coast is its diversity. The planning scheme will enshrine the individual identities of areas, from Caloundra to Mooloolaba, Maroochydore and Noosa on the coast as well as the uniqueness of each of the hinterland towns and villages. This is critical not only for our lifestyle but also for our tourism industry

Mayor Bob Abbot

My top priority for the next year is the regional planning scheme because it will deliver to this community long-term security and lead it down the path of sustainable development

3500 hectares by 2031, have prompted public and inter-governmental controversy about their intended populations, time lines and environmental impacts. “We haven’t always got what we wanted from the State Government [which called for the developments to be fast-tracked], but we’ve got the principles in place to drive our sustainability argument and that’s what’s most important,” he says. “For example, we’re going to make sure people use as much recycled water as possible and are energy efficient in the new communities.” The acceptance of densification in new suburbs has been another of Bob’s realisations. He says transport-oriented developments such as the future Kawana Town Centre and revamped Maroochydore central business

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They must be real jobs,

long-term and sustainable, and we’re now in the position to work on that

We’ve got the planning, the council structure, the financing and the intent, now it’s time to

create the delivery

district will suit some higher housing densities because of their extensive public services and facilities. “However, we’ll be wary of doing this in existing suburbs that are fully developed. There’s a lot of consternation in Brisbane about infill areas but I think, with the population we’ve got coming to the greenfield areas [of Caloundra South and Palmview], the Coast’s need to develop infill will be reduced significantly.” (See page 8) So what are the mayor’s three sustainability priorities for the future? His answers reflect a belief that the council has achieved a lot in terms of sustainability, such as natural resource management, and can now concentrate on economic and development issues.

85 per cent of trips made by Coast residents are in private cars, a figure that must be reduced to avoid traffic overload when half a million people are living here

of the Sunshine Coast and the Innovation Centre, is the centre of a burgeoning business and technology precinct aiming to create knowledge-based jobs. It’s part of the council’s Economic Development Strategy 2010-2014, adopted in May. The strategy aims to build resilience to financial cycles by diversifying the Coast’s economic base from the core sectors of tourism, construction and retail while supporting existing businesses. Bob says three of the most crucial documents the council has dealt with in the past year in terms of sustainability have been the structure plans for Caloundra South, Palmview and Maroochydore. All three, which will house more than 70,000 people on

“My top priority for the next year is the regional planning scheme because it will deliver to this community long-term security and lead it down the path of sustainable development,” he says. “I’ve always had a strong belief that the secret to the future of the Sunshine Coast is its diversity. The planning scheme will [enshrine] the individual identities of areas, from Caloundra to Mooloolaba, Maroochydore and Noosa on the coast as well as the uniqueness of each of the rural towns and villages dotted throughout the hinterland. This is critical not only for our lifestyle but also for our tourism industry.” Bob’s second priority is to finalise the three structure plans “and get those communities happening in a way that they are creating some economic activity”. At this stage, continued over >

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Palmview will be first off the mark. The council is delighted to have just reached agreement with land owners on the document incorporating excellence in urban design, future public transport and a mix of housing options. It guarantees $600 million worth of infrastructure. If approved by the state planning minister Stirling Hinchliffe, Bob says more than 600 Investa-owned lots could be “shovel ready” within months with $11 million of federal funding is available for immediate affordable housing. He says Caloundra South is at least a few years off and warns, “If the State forces us to make arrangements there before an infrastructure agreement is in place, all hell

We are moving from the planning stage to the delivery stage of our environmental strategies, so one of the most important things now is to stimulate our economy

will break loose.” Maroochydore, he says, is facing difficult negotiations and “commercial game-playing”, but the council will continue pushing for a resolution to make it the principal activity centre of the Coast. Bob’s third priority is to rebuild the economy and economic confidence. “We are moving from the planning stage to the delivery stage of our environmental strategies, so one of the most important things now is to stimulate our economy,” he says. “We have a crisis in our community because of the lack of jobs, but I don’t believe in creating false jobs. They must be real jobs, long-term and sustainable, and we’re now in the position to work on that.” He recalls his election declaration to build a foundation for the amalgamated Coast. “All of these strategies and policies are building a

The council has reached agreement with Palmview land owners on the document incorporating excellence in urban design, future public transport and a mix of housing options. It guarantees

$600 million worth of infrastructure

good, solid foundation. We’ve got the planning, the council structure, the financing and the intent, now it’s time to create the delivery. We’ll come out of this term with significant action in place and my first-term dream will be realised.” This sounds like someone about to reconsider his career after 30 years as an elected representative. “I’ll make up my mind about my personal future this time

next year,” says the 59-year-old. “I’ll have to decide whether to go or stay in 2012, but don’t worry, I’ll give voters plenty of time to know what I’m doing.” Why now? “I’m still feeling pretty good, pretty confident,” Bob says. “I’m enjoying it immensely and we’re getting good results. But when this foundation is built I’m going to reassess what I want to do for the following four years. I can’t retire yet.”

Our Place Our Future is the Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s invitation to community members to help implement its sustainability vision – for a vibrant, green, diverse Coast. The range of documents aims to retain the Coast’s lifestyle and character, protect natural assets and diversify the economy over the next 20 years. Visit www.sunshine coast.qld.gov.au and click on ‘About Council’ then ‘Community Engagement’ then ‘Our Place Our Future’ to have your say.

Can the Coast achieve sustainable development? Bob says, “I think we can strike a balance between developing the greenfield areas of Caloundra South and Palmview and some growing suburbs like Kawana and Sippy Downs without bothering the established communities that already give the Coast its identity. For example, there’s enormous land capacity for new housing at KawanaBokarina without affecting the traditional streets of Warana.

How important is the property industry to the Coast in future? Bob says, “The property industry is critical to the way a place looks and feels. The built environment is the first thing you see. When people live in a place they’re proud of, they tend to look after it really well, which also protects their investment. So the housing industry and the average home owner are very important to the look and feel long term of the Sunshine Coast.”

Sunshine Coast Su

Affordable Living Strategy

our plac ou acce ce our o u urr ffu u utu ut ttu u re ur ure re

2010-2020 20 An integrated approach to the principles of Affordable Living is fundamental to all the planning and decision making for future of the Sunshine Coast. Our vision – “Living on the Sunshine Coast is affordable” Visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au or email housing.affordability@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au for more details. www.mypropertypreview.com.au

COUNCIL MAGAZINE.indd 55

Sunshin ne Coa ast

Affordable Living Strategy 2010-2020

00024 12/10

$IIRUG $IIRUGDEOH/LYLQJFRYHUVPRUHWKDQWKH¿QDQFLDOFRVWRIOLYLQJDQG housing. It considers the way we move around, the size and type of hous housing, the resources we use and our relationship with the environment. h

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postscript STRATEGY FRAMEWORK hroughout 2010, the council has consulted on and adopted a range of strategies to guide the way the Sunshine Coast looks, feels and grows over the next 20 years. The Economic Development Strategy 2010-2014 aims to build a robust, diversified economy and outlines a number of key sectors for economic growth and prosperity. The Biodiversity Strategy recognises the richness of the natural environment and guides the protection, enhancement and connection of valuable habitat for future generations. The Climate Change and Peak Oil Strategy is designed to build resilience to the impacts of a changing climate and depleting oil supplies. The council intends to take a lead role in adaptation. The Affordable Living Strategy, which is a framework to improve affordability, covers more than the financial cost of living. It incorporates the size and type of housing, the resources we use, how we move around and our relationship with the environment. The Waste Minimisation Strategy seeks to reduce domestic and construction waste, diverting more than 70 percent of waste from landfill.

T

DRAFT COMMUNITY PLAN he council also has endorsed an early draft of its overarching Community Plan, which will guide many documents including the regional planning scheme to be publicly notified in 2011. Following a review of public input, a revised Community Plan will be released to the public in the New Year.

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OTHER STRATEGIES he council recently finished consulting on a range of other strategies under the second phase of the Our Place Our Future program. The draft strategies addressed a range of issues including sustainable transport, active transport, waterways and coastal foreshore management, energy transition, social infrastructure, open space, sport and recreation and aquatic facilities. Following a review of the outcomes, Council adopted the Energy Transition Plan on December 8, 2010. The remaining strategies are intended to be finalised and adopted in early 2011.

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DRAFT SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT STRATEGY he draft sustainable transport strategy outlined by Mayor Bob Abbot closed to public comment on November 8, along with the other strategies in the second phase of Our Place Our Future program. The draft strategy outlines a framework to decrease the use of private cars on the Sunshine Coast by increasing opportunities for walking, cycling and public transport. The council responded to the State Government’s Draft ‘Connecting SEQ 2031 – An Integrated Regional Transport Plan for South East Queensland’ by drawing from its own draft strategy to make the Coast’s land use and transport integration more sustainable and self-contained, rather than Brisbane-focused. The Sunshine Coast is the only council with a dedicated TravelSmart unit to encourage use of public transport, walking and cycling. In October it gained $1.7million in State funding for scheduled pedestrian and bike path projects. Written by Julie Gatehouse.

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The Sunshine Coast is the only council with a dedicated TravelSmart unit to

encourage use of public transport, walking and cycling

Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast Regional Council – Waste Minimisation Strategy

Waste Minimisation Strategy 2009-2014 7KH6XQVKLQH&RDVWLVWRRYDOXDEOHWRZDVWH/DQG¿OOVDFURVVWKH 6XQVKLQH&RDVWDUHUHDFKLQJFDSDFLW\DQGZDVWHLVDVLJQL¿FDQW FRQWULEXWRUWRFRXQFLO¶VJUHHQKRXVHJDVHPLVVLRQV

Visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au for more details on the strategy. 56 My Property Preview

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Waste Minimisation Strategy

1

00024 1/11

+DUQHVVLQJQHZWHFKQRORJLHVDQGLQLWLDWLYHVIRUZDVWHPDQDJHPHQW UHSUHVHQWVQRWRQO\HPSOR\PHQWRSSRUWXQLWLHVEXWDQDYHQXHIRU GLYHUVLI\LQJWKHUHJLRQ¶VHFRQRP\7KHSunshine Coast Waste Minimisation StrategyRXWOLQHVDUDQJHRILQLWLDWLYHVWRLPSURYHWKHZD\ ZHGHDOZLWKRXUZDVWHLQWRWKHIXWXUH

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FRIDAY, 16 JULY 2010

FREE – YOURS TO KEEP

GREEN SPACE Sustainable housing takes centre stage

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WIN A MERCEDES-BENZ | MY HOME PREVIEW

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2/3/2011 11:20:58 AM


cover story

Mainstream sustainability PART 1

by Julie Gatehouse

A council competition awards excellence in housing sustainability. What can we learn from the finalists? MPP finds out in part one of this two-part series.

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The property had no sewerage or water supply from council,

just two rainwater tanks and a septic system.

When Robert Stynes retired from his architectural practice in Victoria in the 1980s, he and wife Robyn went sailing. They lived on a boat until 2003. “So we were used to looking after our fuel, electricity and resources,” Robert says. “When we got back Robyn said, ‘You promised me a new house.’ We had 2.5 acres at Crosby Hill Road in Buderim with an 80-yearold timber cottage we’d rented out.” The couple considered renovating but decided to rebuild. Their efforts have earned them two Glossies: the University of the Sunshine Coast Golden Glossy for Excellence in Sustainable Design – Residential Construction under $350,000; and the Resource Saver – Residential award.

We could rent out a pavilion if we need future income. If we’re living here into old age we may need home care nurses to stay

GOODBYE COTTAGE, HELLO PODS ould you live comfortably without town water or mains power? What about walking on floors made of bamboo, or plastic milk containers? Can you imagine living in a cluster of pavilions, resort-style? Innovations such as these are being introduced on the Sunshine Coast as home owners and builders become more aware of the environmental, economic and lifestyle benefits of becoming more sustainable. It’s no longer the sole domain of alternative lifestylers, says Ben McMullen of Sunshine Coast Regional Council. “Coast people are becoming more aware of sustainability issues,” he says. “They’re realising that in the long run, they’ll have a more comfortable, liveable house that’s less expensive to both build and live in.” New practices are expected to slowly change the architectural face of the Coast, as tens of thousands of new dwellings are built by a population moving towards half a million within two decades. The council’s annual Glossies Awards recognise clever initiatives and commitment to sustainable building design, land use, transport and business. Eight environmental champions and about a dozen finalists were rewarded at the 2010 awards for their contributions. Ben, who is the council’s project manager of environment initiatives, says the competition aims to inspire other residents and ensure green ideas, materials and measures are adopted by the mainstream. It is part of the council’s Living Smart program, which help householders save money and the planet. (See livingsmarthomes.net.au.) This week MPP examines the category of Residential Construction under $350,000, with winner Robert Stynes at Buderim and finalists Adam Dew at Peregian Springs, and Phil Moran and Kim Maddison at Cooran.

“I’ve always been interested in sustainability,” Robert says. “The property had no sewerage or water supply from council, just two rainwater tanks and a septic system. So we worked with these, while adding solar panels and a solar hot water service. We don’t have to turn the booster switch on, unless there are three overcast days consecutively!”

So we worked with these, while adding solar panels and a solar hot water service

Robert and Robyn Stynes’ innovative home won two Glossies this year

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cover story

Coast people are becoming more aware of sustainability issues,” he says. “They’re realising that in the long run, they’ll have a more comfortable, liveable house that’s less expensive to both build and live in

three split levels The

not only blend into the landscape, they

great views,

ensure

especially from the master suite on top The internal floor in the living area is made of

bamboo from Australian plantations, with recycled timber treads

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Construction started 18 months ago on the 230-square metre, resort-style home described by the judges as “amazing”. It has three pavilions, or pods, around a courtyard with a pool in the centre. “We thought that would give it the wow factor,” Robert says. The couple lived in the old cottage while building the first two pavilions, then moved into them while pulling down the cottage and adding the third pavilion. It meant that all materials from the cottage could be recycled. “Nothing left the site in waste except some metal, and the recycling people picked that up,” Robert says. “I’ve got only one window and two doors not yet sold.” The entrance is through a breezeway created from the old garage. “You cross a bridge to the big yellow front door and it gives the impression of a much larger home,” he says. “It’s actually a little big for the two of us, but we wanted the four bedrooms for the kids or guests.” Each pavilion is self-contained to give the Stynes plenty of options. “We could rent out a pavilion if we need future income,” Robert says. “If we’re living here into old age we may need home care nurses to stay. But we also ensured the standard of home and features such as a pool meet resale requirements for such valuable land, so close to the centre of Buderim.” Robert says the original budget was $300,000, which crept up by $25,000 not including the solar systems, gardens and pool. “The pool had to be weighed up because it’s the main consumer of electricity, though we’ve got it on off-peak low tariff,” he says. Judges said the building materials were low in embodied energy and Robert says the wall lining is made of corrugated Zincalume, “which doesn’t need painting, is economic and maintenance-free”. From the windows and decks the couple enjoys watching wildlife such as kookaburras

Builder Adam Dew’s display home at Ridges Peregian Springs and kangaroos attracted to the extensive native vegetation. Vegetable and herb gardens provide plenty of home-grown food. Pumpkins are ripe at the moment. The judges praised the Watertech grey and black water waste disposal system, and summed up: “The house maintains the integrity of the environment, while incorporating the convenience of modern living. It’s positioned to ensure passive solar design and cross-ventilation, while the solar power system meets 93 per cent of the householders’ peak energy requirements.” Robert believes clever energy and water measures are becoming key considerations for

I’m seeing many people wanting to downsize because they want a home with lower running costs that doesn’t impact on the environment

Ben McMullen, Sunshine Coast Regional Council

both individual home owners and the property market generally. “Just look at the cost of electricity going up. I think solar will be essential in the future and this will obviously impact on the resale of properties. It’s a good thing if more people are aware of this potential asset, not only for the environment but for reducing running costs.” As for water? “We’ve now got more than 100,000 litres stored on site.”

TACKLING A TRICKY SITE It’s not quite Jetsons territory yet, but builder Adam Dew’s Ecobuild display home at Ridges Peregian Springs appears to be floating up the hill. He designed it that way, showing how to build a sustainable home on a steep block within a covenant requiring a minimal site cut.

Its raft of environmentally friendly features resulted in the home on ‘The Avenue’ named as a finalist in the USC Golden Glossy for Excellence in Sustainable Design – Residential Construction under $350,000. “We worked with the contours of the land and minimised site excavation, which also means less material removed and less transport used,” says Adam. “It’s a new way of looking at building slab on ground, with a steel sub-floor system.” Designed for a family over 244 square metres, it has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, open living, kitchen and dining areas, a north-facing alfresco area and a double garage. The three split levels not only blend into the landscape, they ensure great views, especially from the master suite on top. Judges were impressed with the skylights, glazing, solar electricity (including extraction fan) and hot water system, rainwater tanks ceiling fans, insulation and energy-efficient lighting. Perhaps the most startling feature, though, is what’s on the floor. Outside decking and screens are made of ModWood. “It’s 90 per cent recycled plastic milk containers and 10 per cent pine sawdust from the mills,” explains Adam. The internal floor in the living area is made of bamboo from Australian plantations, with recycled timber treads. He says water and energy conservation will become big issues for Coast home owners, buyers and sellers and must be carefully planned. “For example, we made sure this house had the best orientation for cross-ventilation, and installed a 5000-litre water tank feeding irrigation and greywater such as the laundry and dishwasher.” Adam says fantastic feedback from potential buyers indicate progressive attitudes towards sustainability. “They appreciate the custom design and finishes, and that it was built for under $300,000, which continued over >

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is pretty competitive with project builders.” He says the “bigger is better” attitude of the past 10 years in housing construction is slowly being replaced with “back to basics” as people realise the high energy and running costs of poorly designed big homes. “I’m seeing many people wanting to downsize because they want a home with lower running costs that doesn’t impact on the environment.”

ENJOYING NATIVE BUSHLAND FROM THE VERANDAH Phil Moran lived in a shed for 12 years before deciding to build a house on his 33-acre property, including 25 acres of protected native vegetation, at Cooran. Now the natural resource manager for Noosa and District Landcare Group, Phil and his partner Kim Maddison had firm ideas about fitting their new home into the surrounding Burrawingee Nature Reserve. “We wanted to do the solar thing,” Phil says. “The driveway is a kilometre long, so we didn’t want the amenity or cost of getting power from the road. Some time ago I was a labourer for Logan Idiens of Tinbeerwah so I knew he was a good builder. We met to talk about sustainable design, which met our budget and lifestyle.”

I guess I’m a professional tree hugger, educating people about sustainability, revegetation and weeds, and I also wanted our home to blend into the bush and preserve the land

Judges praised the result, naming the couple as finalist in the USC Golden Glossy for Excellence in Sustainable Design – Residential Construction under $350,000. “The home relies on solar power from a standalone photovoltaic system and water harvested on the property,” the judges noted. House lighting is low-wattage LED, waste water is managed through an Ozzi Kleen system and appliances are efficient with water and energy.

The owners were careful to construct the house with

minimal vegetation clearing

The trend towards sustainability is

gaining momentum and it’s all about

awareness

Phil Moran and Kim Maddison’s home was also a finalist for the awards “The owners were careful to construct the house with minimal vegetation clearing.” Phil simply says he practises what he preaches. “I guess I’m a professional tree hugger, educating people about sustainability, revegetation and weeds, and I also wanted our home to blend into the bush and preserve the land.” Longevity was integral. “I’d like to live here forever,” he says. The single-storey home is raised a metre off the ground and has a big undercover verandah (24 metres at the longest point and six metres at the widest) along the front. The elevation, combined with features such as raked ceilings inside and clever gaps in the roofing, helps with air convection, flow and cooling. No air-conditioning is needed. It’s made of a timber frame with fibro and Zincalume on external walls. “That means no maintenance, painting, stripping or replacing wood over the long term,” Phil says. The house is divided into three modules or cores, separated by breezeways, to house two adults and two children. “Down one end are the bedrooms for the teenagers and at the other end is the master with study,” he says.

“The central unit has an extra bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living areas.” As for the original shed? It’s still there and is now surrounded by a vegie garden that provides about half the family’s summer salad needs each season. Phil has noticed a growing change in attitudes on the Coast over the past five years, reflected in the take-up of rainwater tanks, for example. “The trend towards sustainability is gaining momentum and it’s all about awareness,” he says. “A lot of tree-changers move here because they don’t want to build brick and tiles. They want homes that are more gentle on the environment. Houses don’t have to use a lot of power or water. We’ve got low-flow through the house and we don’t miss out on a good shower.” Phil’s three wishes for the future of housing design? Maximum allowable eaves that shade the building sides for coolness, smaller houses per block and low-wattage light bulbs. Part 2: Inspiration from more Glossies winners, and how sustainability trends may affect the property market.

2011 Living Smart “Glossies” Awards Do you promote sustainability in the way you work or live on the Sunshine Coast? Then the 2011 Glossies Awards are for you!

If you are, or know of, a home-owner, builder, designer, architect, community group, ODQGVFDSHURUEXVLQHVVRZQHUZKRPDNHVDVLJQL¿FDQWFRQWULEXWLRQWRVXVWDLQDEOH living and business on the Coast then make sure you nominate when entries open in April 2011. Visit www.livingsmart.net.au or email livingsmart@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au for entry details. 60 My Property Preview

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The Living Smart “Glossies” Awards celebrate achievements in sustainable building design, land use, sustainable transport and environmentally friendly business.

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Smart living PART 2

by Julie Gatehouse

As more residents strive for a sustainable life, MPP looks at how this will influence the property market.

A

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People are prepared to pay for those

‘green ticks’ when building a new home and any extra features can make a home easier to sell down the track

properties for sale or lease in 2011,” says Dan. He lists a few options to consider when building or buying a sustainable home: “whether the property has water-efficient appliances and a rainwater tank; if it has passive solar design which can be achieved by incorporating good ventilation, insulation, shading and materials; whether it is constructed of low-maintenance materials which will reduce the repair and ongoing costs of your home”. On the Sunshine Coast, agents report a growing awareness among buyers and sellers, although it’s not at the stage where sustainability measures equate to specific price points. Some agents are finding that sustainability is a bigger consideration for owner-occupiers of detached dwellings than for investors, tenants or unit buyers. Anthony Gorman of Place Mooloolaba believes the trend is being led by new home designers who are ensuring buildings integrate more closely with the Coast climate and environment instead of following interstate city or suburban traditions. He can see a future where developers plan self-sufficient estates with common vegetable gardens for residents and wind turbine power for street lighting, for example. “Sustainability is becoming more important for purchasers as well as

government planners as we all come to grips with the number of people moving here and the resources needed to service them,” Anthony says. “A lot of buyers are becoming savvy on aspects such as how a home breathes – how it uses natural elements. They’re asking about maximising the amount of light to reduce electricity use, or the amount of sun in winter to reduce heating.” Some buyers of original homes in older suburbs are asking about bore or tank water for recycling while others consider solar power heating. “No one’s rushing out to totally revamp an existing home, but when their hot water service or air-conditioner breaks, they’re looking at upgrading to environmentally friendly appliances or services,” he says.

While the 2010 Glossies recognises outstanding individuals, consumers across the Coast are finding it easier to buy sustainable houses and adopt sustainable practices

re you feeling the chill in your living room this winter? Are your electricity and water bills rising? What about the cost of buying fruit and veg? These are some of the questions prompting more Sunshine Coast residents to seek sustainable solutions in their own homes and backyards. Industry experts say the trend towards ‘smart living’ is being pushed as much by lifestyle, economic and comfort factors as the desire to conserve resources for the good of the environment. Initiatives can be dramatic and started from scratch, such as building an eco-friendly duplex or three-storey beach ‘tree house’. Or they can be simple and added quickly to existing homes, such as rainwater tanks, solar power, vegetable gardens and chicken pens. People who have implemented these ideas were among the award recipients in the Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s annual Glossies Awards. (MPP talks to four of them below.) Ben McMullen of the council says concepts that were cutting edge on the Coast five years ago are now becoming standard, with growing acceptance of the diverse possibilities in housing design and building products. “While the 2010 Glossies recognises outstanding individuals, consumers across the Coast are finding it easier to buy sustainable houses and adopt sustainable practices,” he says. How is this trend likely to affect the property market? Real Estate Institute of Queensland managing director Dan Molloy expects rising demand for sustainable housing across the state. “It is no longer a fringe issue and is increasingly being seen as a smart investment decision undertaken by everyday home buyers,” he says. Dan says more people are becoming committed to a water- and energy-efficient lifestyle because of the costs of using these resources. “People are community-minded and aware of their personal responsibility for conserving precious natural resources.” Legislation is contributing to the trend, with the State Government’s sustainability declaration introduced this year to inform buyers about the sustainability features of a property for sale. “The Federal Government has indicated it will introduce a mandatory energy-efficiency assessment for all

Archicology Architects won the Resource Saver – Professional award

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Gomango Architects was named a finalist for Excellence in Sustainable Design – Professional Construction over $350,000

lifestyle, economic and comfort factors as the desire to conserve resources for the good of the environment

TWO FOR ONE Coolum Beach architect Adrian Just says there’s no mystery to sustainable housing. “It’s common sense and it doesn’t have to cost extra,” he says. “If it’s a better place to live in, needs less maintenance and uses less energy and resources, why wouldn’t you?” When a couple asked him to design a home on a 611-square metre block next to a park

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and overlooking Stumers Creek, Adrian knew just what to do. He drew up a duplex. “Sustainability is also about extending the useable life of a building in terms of years and options,” he says. “The two-storey building covers 375 square metres. One unit has two bedrooms, the other has three bedrooms and I put in a domestic lift so it will cater for a visiting elderly parent. They could also use one unit for holiday rental.” The Glossies praised his duplex for maximising land use and increasing urban density in an existing town area. Adrian’s firm Archicology Architects won the Resource Saver – Professional award. Judges were impressed with its integrated resource efficiencies that “captured ocean breezes and incorporated insulation and wide eaves, a photovoltaic solar power system, greywater harvesting system, recycled stone benchtops and locally made materials.” Adrian says the duplex is made of lowmaintenance fibro and tin with bamboo floors and an Ecohousing roof. “We have a lot of retirees and holiday-makers who want

Sustainability is also about extending the useable life of a building in terms of years and options

Industry experts say the trend towards ‘smart living’ is being pushed as much by

Anthony expects the trend to impact on the way homes are sold on the Coast. “People are prepared to pay for those ‘green ticks’ when building a new home and any extra features can make a home easier to sell down the track.” Tony Van Dijk of Leading Edge Real Estate, which includes a wide range of hinterland properties, says times are changing. “Eight to 10 years ago we saw buyer indifference to energy-efficient housing,” he says. He recalls a Buderim developer offering heavily subsidised solar generators on all allotments “but not one purchaser accepted”. However, Tony believes sustainability measures relating to power and water, along with elevation and northerly orientation, are making homes more comfortable and cheaper to live in. “And as utility prices continue to rise, these assets will significantly increase not only the saleability of homes, but also their prices. It’s not rocket science.” Neither Tony nor Mooloolaba agent Jean Hamer have seen much buyer interest in the formalities of sustainability declarations. But Jean, whose firm Jean Hamer Prime Properties this month marks 43 years in real estate on the Coast, says grassroots trends are coming from innovative home builders, families with young children who learn environmental messages at school, and retirees who want to “get back to nature”. “People buying an existing house might ask if it has a rainwater tank for the gardens,” she says. “And some tenants have arranged through their owners to get ceiling insulation. In the current unit market, though, sustainability issues don’t seem to have significance. Once power and water bills go up, I’m sure more people will be looking into it.” So how did the Glossies winners and finalists do it?

low-maintenance homes on the Coast,” he says. A member of the Australian Institute of Architects’ Queensland sustainability committee and the council’s Housing Affordability Taskforce, Adrian believes the advent of display homes showcasing environmental initiatives beyond the six-star green rating is reassuring buyers. “People are rightly conservative about the biggest investment of their lives and may not want to try something new, but seeing is believing.” Acceptance may be a matter of flexibility. “If a client wants a big glass wall facing west for the view, we tell them we don’t want them to live in an oven. Then we work out how to achieve a view without the heat build-up.” He says key sustainability factors to consider are getting openings and spaces in the right places (such as indoor/ outdoor areas), making the best use of

the site, orientation, wide overhangs, environmentally sensitive building materials and energy-efficient fixtures and fittings.

THE ULTIMATE TREE HOUSE When faced with a termite-riddled, onebedroom shack on a 380-square metre block at Currimundi, architect Liza Neil knew renovation wasn’t the answer for her client, a professional woman seeking space and convenience for a visiting elderly parent. The tricky part was, the client didn’t want to cut down any of the trees she had planted on the site 30 years ago. “Those paperbarks and palms were precious to her and that meant we were limited to the footprint of the original shack,” Liza explains. “So we went up.” Liza’s Moffat Beach firm Gomango Architects was named a finalist in the University of the Sunshine Coast Golden Glossy Award for Excellence in Sustainable Design – Professional Construction over $350,000. Judges noted the “extensive measures taken during construction to retain vegetation”, with the resulting three-storey home built around a courtyard of preserved mature trees. They praised the home’s LED lighting; solar hot water, water-saving devices and 10,000-litre below-ground tank; crossventilation and air flow; and “edible landscape” in the form of bush food trees and gingers. Liza aimed for social as well as environmental sustainability, with the design allowing for disabled access and a lift when required. “It’s a tall, thin building with incredible cross-ventilation and heavily insulated walls and ceilings, for soundproofing as well,” she says. The weatherproofed internal stairs, which stretch up the 11-metre building, have recyclable polycarbonate sheeting to let in light and a shuttered verandah on the top level facing the trees. The home, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a massive deck room, cost $380,000. Liza, who has run her local business for 17 years, says sustainability is taking off. “The Coast has a great history of architectdesigned buildings that touch the ground lightly. If you love a place, you want to do the right thing by it.” continued over >

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Rosina Buckman is amazed by the overwhelming response to her talks about “simple, hands-on stuff ” relating to sustainability around the home. For the past year she has worked with the Sunshine Coast’s libraries to develop and present courses on topics such as ‘How to grow your own vegies’ and ‘How to keep chooks in your backyard’. She recalls 300 people waiting to hear one talk and sell-outs at others. “I demonstrate growth from seedlings,” says the Tewantin great-grandmother who learned her skills from family and previous business. “I teach people how to pick out seedlings, plant crops, recycle. You can become powerful when you produce the food you want to eat and don’t have to rely on the supermarket.” She was named a finalist in the Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE Living Smart Solutions Glossy, with judges saying her message is spreading across the region. Rosina is delighted that more residents are embracing the concepts, also supported by the council. “When I first moved here nine years ago, my neighbours wondered about the mad woman planting strawberries along her driveway. I’m on 670 square metres and I have a shadehouse, chook pen, citrus, greens. At the

The dollar drives attitude and it’s

expensive to buy food. People are realising we can’t chew up resources forever

It is no longer a fringe issue and is increasingly being seen as a smart investment decision undertaken by everyday home buyers. People are communityminded and aware of their personal responsibility for conserving precious natural resources

EATING YOUR GARDEN

Dan Molloy, managing director, Real Estate Institute of Queensland moment I have enough rosella fruit to make 100 pots of jam. I’m on a pension but I have everything I need.”

SUSTAINING A COMMUNITY As property owners try to improve their self-sufficiency on both sides of the fence, community gardens are becoming more hip than hippie. The Yandina Community Garden, a facility on more than 3300 square metres in Farrell Street, won the Edible Landscape Glossy for educating locals on growing vegies and plants that suit our climate, composting, deep litter, worm castings and more. More than two dozen volunteers demonstrate practical ways of reducing ecological impacts every Tuesday and Saturday. Committee president Doug Mahony started attending permaculture (permanent

agriculture) meetings on the Coast after moving from Sydney a decade ago. “It means living in a sustainable manner, through gardening and growing food, through your house, how you use resources,” he says. He’s noticed a groundswell of interest in the past couple of years, due partly to the global financial crisis. “The dollar drives attitude and it’s expensive to buy food,” he says. “People are realising we can’t chew up resources forever.” One of the garden’s most popular features is a large aquaponic system. Vegetables are grown in water that flows through a tank of fish, which in turn provide nutrients for the plants, and the water is re-used. “At the moment we’ve got jade perch helping grow shallots, tomatoes, broccoli and eggplant,” Doug says. There’s companion planting for pest control and chickens providing fertiliser.

postscript

n August, September and October, council libraries hosted a poster tour that showcased the winners of the Glossies Awards, including photos of the final results. The tour aimed to share knowledge and inspire more people to live sustainably on the Sunshine Coast. The 2011 awards will be held in June. Council programs such as Living Smart continue to encourage home builders, residents and business owners to adopt environmentally-friendly ideas, materials and measures. In November, the council’s commitment to sustainability was recognised at both the annual Sunshine

I

Coast Environment Council’s “Froggies” Awards and the 2010 Planning Institute of Australia Awards. At the Froggies, the council’s Sunshine Coast Climate Change and Peak Oil Strategy received the “Responses to Climate Change” award and the Sunshine Coast Biodiversity Strategy was highly commended in the “Positive Contribution to Conservation of Biodiversity” category. The Planning Institute awarded certificates of merit to the council’s Biodiversity Strategy and the Scenic Amenity Regional Strategic Mapping. Written by Julie Gatehouse.

The tour aimed to share knowledge and

inspire more people to live sustainably on the Sunshine Coast

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Council will continue to work with the community to strengthen and diversify the economy, enhance the natural values and assets and create a healthy, active and inclusive Sunshine Coast community.

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Council January 2011  

Sunshine Coast Council January 2011