SCRC New Planning Scheme Project
The Sunshine Coast Regional Council voted in 2021 to prepare a new planning scheme for the region, anticipated to be finalized some time in 2024. When completed, this new planning scheme will shape the look and feel of the Sunshine Coast out to 2031. In late February 2022, Council released a broad planning vision for the region together with some specific guidelines for each local area. This formed the basis for community feedback which closed on 31 March 2022.
As we suspected, the mass transit proposal is at the heart of the proposed new planning scheme together with increased high rise and housing densification along our Coastal Corridor.
The Regional Strategy states:
"parts of the coastal corridor from Maroochydore to Caloundra will experience urban renewal, with the revitalisation of key centres including Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Kawana, Birtinya and Caloundra. These key centres will be highly accessible and will, create more jobs, attract investment and offer a diversity of housing choice"
What they didn't tell us?
How high is high?
What is the density and height they are planning for each locality?
How far do the proposed major centres and nodes extend? 400m? 800m?
What is a node?
How many extra dwellings are they planning for?
Council has indicated the following:
low rise = 1-2 storeys (maybe 3)
mid rise = 3-6 storeys
high rise = over 6 storeys
Council is currently at Step 3 in the process as shown below.
Council was not obligated to undertake this initial consultation (step 2) so it is even more encouraging to see such a large number of people respond and take the opportunity to have input at this early stage.
The messages were clear. Hopefully Council will listen and modify their thinking to reflect what they have been told when preparing the draft new scheme.
The draft new 2024 Planning Scheme is due to be submitted to the State Government (step 4) mid 2023 for the first round of State Government Interest checks.
The next round of Public Consultation (step 5) will include much more detail and is due late 2023 to early 2024.
MTAG will continue to monitor the progress and let people know when and how they can participate in the future
Proposed Planning Directions
1. Kawana Waters
Beware Kawana-High Rise is Coming
The proposed Kawana Waters planning direction states:
“There are significant opportunities for further growth and development in this local plan area due to proximity and accessibility to retail, business and health services and infrastructure investment, including the potential for high frequency public transport. Constraints to further development include flooding associated with the Mooloolah River, coastal hazards, and current road capacities.”
The main changes Council are proposing:
2 Major Centres of high rise
Kawana Shopping World and Surrounds (Buddina) (What does "surrounds" mean?)
Kawana Town Centre (Birtinya)
Focus areas of increased density and height in nodes along Nicklin Way
These areas will be low to mid rise.
These are the images Council are using to depict the Kawana area:
Council states the overall level of change on the ground to be "moderate" but also notes:
“the level of change is expected to be generally low for the majority of the LPA but moderate-high for some areas”
2. Mooloolaba and Alexandra Headlands
The proposed Mooloolaba -Alexandra Headland Direction States:
“A series of local mass transit stations provide fast and convenient connections for residents and visitors to Maroochydore, and south to Kawana and Caloundra, and are a catalyst for targeted redevelopment. Outside these identified areas, the majority of existing low-density housing areas in Mooloolaba and Alexandra Headland are retained with minimal change….
Brisbane Road creates an attractive gateway to Mooloolaba. It forms a vibrant mixed use corridor which connects surrounding residents with services and transport options. Older residential areas adjacent to this corridor are revitalised, with a range of low-medium density housing including lower scaled apartment living, townhouses, and duplexes
The main changes Council are proposing:
Focus areas of increased density and height along key corridors and in nodes (eg close to centres and transit stations)
No Increase in height limits on the Spit east of the Mooloolaba Wharf site or on top of Alexander Headland (What about the rest of Mooloolaba and Alex?)
Provide opportunities for mixed use development along Brisbane Rd and in the vicinity of Naroo Crt/Walan St/Muraban St/First Av/Smith St. (Map ref 1)
Additional low-medium density residential development such as duplexes and townhouses to improve housing diversity (Map Ref 2)
Council states the overall level of change on the ground to be "moderate"
A high level of change is Coming
The proposed Maroochydore planning direction(excl the CBD) states:
“There are significant opportunities for further growth and development due to proximity and accessibility to the emerging city centre which will attract significant business and infrastructure investment, including the potential for high frequency public transport. Constraints to further development primarily include flooding associated with the Maroochy River and coastal hazards, and current road capacities.”
Our concern with this proposed direction is the CBD appears to be the catalyst and justification for extensive rezoning of residential areas in Maroochydore to “integrate” with its look and feel.
When the concept of a CBD area for the Sunshine Coast was first floated, there was no mention of the rest of the Maroochydore area having to change its character and built form to suit the new CBD development. This direction for Maroochydore, if implemented, would see these same residents experiencing significant change to their immediate neighbourhood. The look and feel of the CBD appear to take priority over the wellbeing and lifestyle of the current residents. Why does the rest of Maroochydore need to change to fit the CBD? How far does this eventually go? Cotton Tree? Mooloolaba? Minyama?
The main changes Council are proposing:
Review height limits on sites adjoining the new CBD to facilitate a built form integration with the CBD (Map Ref 1)
Provide additional areas for medium and low-medium density residential re-development close to the centre and transit stations
Provide mixed use redevelopment opportunities along Aerodrome Rd (Map Ref 3)
Transition the Sunshine Home Centre to a mixed-use node to facilitate residential uses located in multiple floors above the ground storey with limited large format retailing. (Map Ref 4)
Council states the overall level of change on the ground to be "High"
Results of Preliminary Public Consultation
Preliminary Public consultation on the SCRC new Planning Scheme for the region occurred in March 2022.
Results were finally released in September 2022. Council said this was their "largest and most successful engagement project.”
Over 8000 people provided feedback. In particular there were over 6,000 surveys completed and a further 375 written submissions. The feedback report makes it clear, the community did not support Council’s proposed densification along the Mass Transit Corridor.
There was a very clear message delivered to Council re concerns about building heights, increasing densities, parking and maintaining the character and feel of what exists today.
In their report, SCRC state:
“Issues and concerns raised will be carefully considered in drafting the local plan area provisions, allocating zones and nominating maximum allowable building heights in different localities, particularly in relation to:
• potential increases in density or height along key corridors and urban villages (or nodes) in the Kawana Waters and Mooloolaba–Alexandra Headland local plan areas.
• possible areas for additional low-medium density residential development in Beerwah – Landsborough, Coolum – Peregian, Mooloolaba – Alexandra Headland, Mooloolah Valley and North Shore local plan areas."
MTAG would like to congratulate everyone who participated in this consultation. It is an example of how collectively we can effectively deliver a clear message to Council and hopefully have Council reflect this thinking in the planning for our future.
Summary of Feedback
Top five planning priorities:
-Protecting the natural environment and green spaces
-Maintaining building heights within set limits
-Improving our region’s resilience to climate change
-Retaining local character
-Providing parks and open space.
Top eight community concerns:
-Potential increases in density or building height along key transport corridors in the coastal corridor between Maroochydore and Caloundra, particularly in the Kawana Waters and Mooloolaba – Alexandra Headland local plan areas
-Potential areas for additional low-medium density residential development (duplexes and town houses) within some existing suburbs
-Conversion of some rural residential or rural land to urban residential uses
-Resilience to flooding
-Improving design outcomes
-Preserving the character and identity of each of our local communities
-Maintaining existing larger urban and rural residential lot sizes to preserve local character
-Traffic congestion and parking associated with growth and change.