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Watch Buddina Beach
Nesting Habitat, Loggerhead Turtles
Watch Turtle Hatchlings
WE NEED YOUR HELP URGENTLY!
On the 30th of April 2019, the Sunshine Coast Council approved the development of a 7 storey, 21 metre high-rise consisting of 73 apartments, a shop and 188 car parking spaces (MCU18/0190) on the corner of Pacific Boulevard and Talinga St.
It is on the primary dune, adjacent to the beachfront. The development is located within an existing low-rise residential area, directly overlooks the Buddina State School as well as Buddina beach and threatens the nesting habitat of the endangered loggerhead turtles that nest here. In addition the development is 100% within a coastal erosion prone are (State Declared).
This development is completely out of character with the Buddina area and severely impacts the amenity of all residents. Friends of Buddina have expert legal advice that the approval of this development was unlawful and are therefore currently challenging it in the Maroochydore Planning and Environment Court. Documents have been lodged and we are currently waiting for a firm court date to be set. It is anticipated it will be in late 2020.
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LIST OF ISSUES
Environmental Impacts - Biodiversity
Buddina beach provides one of the most important nesting habitats on the Sunshine Coast for the endangered loggerhead turtles, typically recording the highest number of confirmed nests. The nesting habitat extends the full length of Buddina beach.
Research informs us that artificial light is known to deter nesting turtles and brightly lit beaches discourage adult female turtles emerging from the ocean to nest onshore.
In addition, lighting can negatively impact hatchling sea-finding, causing disorientation and higher likelihood of consequent mortality.
Lighting impacts are cumulative; accumulated impacts of artificial light on marine turtle nesting habitat and hatchling orientation identified in scientific research reference distances measured in kilometres, not metres. At 21 meters high, this development is higher than exisiting and surrounding residence. The impact of the direct light spill plus the increased skyglow from this development will significantly impact the turtle nesting habitat.
Loggerhead turtles are listed as endangered - as a Matter of State Environmental Significance, the State Planning Policy must be considered.
Impacts on local Traffic
Current traffic volumes are high and delays are experienced on local roads around Kawana shopping centre, particularly during peak hours and school pick-up and drop-off times. The Traffic Impact Assessment presented as part of the development application reflects a lesser impact than the current experiences by the Community. How? The surrounding road network and the potential for traffic and pedestrian incidents, given the proximity to the Buddina Primary school, require detailed assessment using current data.
Coastal Protection Overlay Code
Council’s Coastal protection overlay code is informed by a superseded version of the State Planning Policy however, it does reference the requirement for development to “take appropriate account of the predicted effects of climate change, including sea level rise” and also requires that development within an erosion prone area avoids:
Intensification of existing uses;
New permanent built structures; and
Seaward extensions to existing built structures
Coastal Hazard and Sustainability
State declared erosion prone area - The risks associated with natural hazards, including the projected impacts of climate change are relevant to the site which is located on a primary / frontal dune, approximately 30m from the beach, 45m from the highest astronomical tide and 100% in the State declared erosion prone area.
The development will intensify the existing use by intensification of the existing footprint in excess of 1,000%; it includes new permanent built structures, and is situated seaward of existing built structures.
This development is neither critical infrastructure nor coastal dependent infrastructure, the development CAN be located elsewhere, outside the natural hazard area.
The development site is located on land that was recommended for resumption by the Beach Protection Authority.
Existing land use.
Lowrise residential homes
84 submissions opposing the development were received by Council; many highlighting significant areas of noncompliance with several codes in the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014 and 2 Matters of State Interest. A petition signed by 1,016 residents was also presented to Council requesting the development be rejected on the grounds it did not comply. Council disregarded many community concerns although 74 conditions (some with multiple elements) were added to the development approval to reduce the extent of non-compliance. Through an appeal process between the developers and Council, some of these approval conditions were diluted by Council, in favour of the developer.
Compliance - Planning Scheme Codes
Benchmarks for residential amenity require adequate consideration. The High density residential zone code requires development states that there is to be no unreasonable loss of amenity for surrounding premises – including matters relating to the extent and duration of any overshadowing; privacy and overlooking impacts upon views and vistas; and building massing and scale relative to its surroundings.
The Multi-unit residential uses code also considers building massing and scale in terms of site density, building width and setbacks.
Does the development raise any significant issues that cannot be addressed by reasonable and relevant conditions? Do the 74 conditions imposed on the development approval achieve compliance? Will compliance be achieved when these conditions are further negotiated and potentially diluted even further in favour of the developers?
Latest News on our Legal Challenge
Friends of Buddina Ltd. Community Challenging Inappropriate Development
August 23 2020
UPDATE Legal Challenge – Review in Planning & Environment Court 21 Aug 2020
Following the Approval by Council on 23 July of the “minor change” proposal to development turtle lighting conditions, the scheduled review date in the Planning & Environment Court was Friday 21 August 2020.
At the review, His Honour Judge Long SC signed an Order (of 13 sequenced instructions) including that the matter be listed for 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗻 𝟮𝟲 & 𝟮𝟳 𝗡𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟬. The key dates and instructions commence on 28 August with Council required to issue a Statement of Reasons for its decision to approve the “minor change” application. This is followed by further actions required by all parties on specified dates each week in September and October, culminating in the hearing scheduled in late November.
Friends of Buddina have long argued that the development breached the Planning Scheme; its lighting would negatively impact the nearby endangered loggerhead turtles' nesting habitat; and the building height, excess site-coverage and density would impact neighbours' views, vistas, amenity and privacy.
An Originating Application in November 2019; the P&E Court initial dates were set and legal processes commenced early in 2020 with Friends of Buddina Ltd as the Applicant, Sunshine Coast Council as the 1st Respondent and Pacific Diamond 88 Pty Ltd, the developer, as the 2nd Respondent.
On 8 April 2020, the developer (2nd Respondent) submitted a “minor change” proposal to Council (1st Respondent) for proposed changes relating to the Turtle Lighting approval conditions, one of the subjects of the P&E Court documents lodged by Friends of Buddina Ltd. This arrangement was made between the two Co-Respondents in the case; their own legal teams were advised, yet, neither Friends of Buddina nor their legal team were advised of these actions - not even a courtesy email or call, even though this action would directly impact the case. Of course, there is no legal obligation to advise such an action – such an advice is optional.
Friends of Buddina and their legal team became aware of the two Co-Respondents actions in May and all parties agreed that the Directions Orders of the Court be vacated until the minor change application has been decided. On 23 July 2020, Council (1st Respondent) approved the “minor change” proposal for the developer (2nd Respondent).
Interesting tactics that appear to demonstrate that both Council and the developer were so concerned about their legal position that they needed to change the development approval conditions in an attempt to improve their own defence of an Approval being challenged on the basis it was unlawful. What other motivation would there be to disrupt the legal proceedings?
Nevertheless, in reviewing these recent changes to the turtle lighting Approval conditions, there are some improvements (such are tinting of all glazing facing north, south and east), however, other changes appear to have diluted and weakened some of the original conditions and fail to remove some of the ambiguities. Furthermore, failure to address other amenity considerations referenced in the original Originating Application remain.
It’s been a long battle, now getting closer to a decision, so please chip-in.
June 7th 2020
Don’t fear’: Sekisui won’t affect Buddina Beach case
COMMUNITY group Friends of Buddina has said the Sekisui House court decision handed down last week will not impact their case against Sunshine Coast Council's approval of a seven-storey, 21m high rise development in Buddina.
The group followed the Sekisui House case with great interest and strongly supported the Friends of Yaroomba in the appeal by Development Watch and Sunshine Coast Environment Council against the regional council and Sekisui House. The group had been left disheartened the courts chose not to find in favour of the residents.
"Our hearts go out to the people who worked so hard to stop this massive overdevelopment that is so far out of character with what is currently there and threatens to destroy the lifestyle of so many," Friends of Buddina spokeswoman Tracey Goodwin-McDonald said.
"We know why they fought so hard.
"What we have is unique and we do not want to lose it."
While also challenging an application of a separate development in Buddina, Ms Goodwin-McDonald said the two cases were "very different" and the community should not fear their case will be affected.
"While the impacts from the developments to the two beach side communities are similar, the legal processes of the two cases are very different and therefore one does not impact the other," she said.
Ms Goodwin-McDonald said the Sekisui case was an appeal seeking to overturn the development approval, while the Friends of Buddina case is challenging the lawfulness of the conditions contained within the approval. " … and will hopefully result in the application being returned to the new council for further consideration," Ms Goodwin-McDonald said.
The Friends of Buddina have long argued the development breached the Planning Scheme; saying its lighting would impact the nearby endangered loggerhead turtles' nesting population; and the building height and coverage would impact neighbours' views, vistas and privacy. Ms Goodwin-McDonald said the development was also within a state-declared coastal erosion prone area.
Pacific Diamond 88's Robert Scott previously told the Daily that he was of the view the approval was lawful and was granted after councillors applied the Planning Scheme 2014.
"Over the past two years we have consulted with the community and council and have made numerous adjustments to the building and wording of conditions to satisfy all stakeholders, including a significant reduction in building size from the original design, to ensure we have created a vibrant community lifestyle for the future residents of Buddina," he said.
Mr Scott said they would build setbacks from the boundary which complied and were in some instances greater than necessary to protect "vistas and views".
Mr Scott declined to comment when approached by the Daily for this article as he wasn't familiar with the Sekisui case and his case was still ongoing.
April 16 2020
Highrise Trial could set Precedent for Future Developments
A COMMUNITY group will take on Sunshine Coast Council and the Buddina Beach highrise developers in a case which could set a precedent for future building approvals.
In September last year, Sunshine Coast councillors voted in favour of the controversial 21-metre, 73-unit, seven-storey apartment building across residential blocks on Iluka Ave and Talinga St, Buddina.
Community group Friends of Buddina have long argued the development breached the Planning Scheme; its lighting would impact the nearby endangered loggerhead turtles' nesting population; and the building height and coverage would impact neighbours' views, vistas and privacy.
In the latest development, Friends of Buddina have launched Planning and Environment Court action against Sunshine Coast Council and developer Diamond 88, headed by Robert Scott and Sam Kassis.
The hearing is scheduled for August 17 to 18 and seeks a legal declaration that council's approval in September last year was "invalid and of no legal effect" and order the approval be "remitted to council to reconsider according to law".
Concept plans for the Buddina Beach development, which will be the subject of a Planning and Environment Court hearing in August this year.
Mr Scott defended Buddina Beach and said he was of the view the approval was lawful and was granted after councillors applied the Planning Scheme 2014.
Mr Boyce said he believed they had a strong case and had "hit the jackpot" to be represented by Chris McGrath who is a University of Queensland professor, environmental lawyer and recipient of the United Nations Queensland Division 2018 Sustainable Development Goals Hero.
Mr Boyce said because the development was code assessable, they could not legally challenge its merits, which he described as "horrendous".
He said, instead, they would argue council did not comply with proper town planning processes, and "misapplied" the assessment benchmarks for the high-density residential zone code.
He said a ruling in their favour could set a legal precedent for future code-assessable applications across the Coast.
Mr Scott accused Mr Boyce of making misleading comments regarding the development over the past 14 months.
"Over the past two years we have consulted with the community and council and have made numerous adjustments to the building and wording of conditions to satisfy all stakeholders, including a significant reduction in building size from the original design, to ensure we have created a vibrant community lifestyle for the future residents of Buddina," Mr Scott said.
Mr Scott said they would build setbacks from the boundary which complied and were in some instances greater than necessary to protect "vistas and views".
November, 2019 SCD
Court action by Friends of Buddina Ltd
The controversial development proposal for a 7 storey high-rise, high-density development at Buddina was approved by Council, initially in April 2019 and subsequently modified in September 2019. The site is located 100% in a State declared erosion prone area and only 30 metres from the beach which provides the most significant nesting habitat on the Sunshine Coast for endangered loggerheads.
On the basis of expert legal advice, Friends of Buddina Ltd applied to the Planning and Environment Court Maroochydore in November 2019 for:-
1. A Declaration that Council’s Approval is invalid, and of no legal effect; and
2. An Order that the Decision be set aside; and the Development Application MCU18/0190 be referred back to Council to reconsider according to law.
As a code assessed development, the community have no right of objection or standing that would give a Right to Appeal. HOWEVER, when legal or jurisdictional errors are made, an application to the Court can be made and this is the approach we have undertaken. Our current Court Application is based on “errors of law”, and or, “failure to follow due process”. This matter was mentioned in court at Maroochydore in late November 2019 and a Review date was set for late February 2020.
As we approach the Court Review Date, fund-raising to support this legal challenge on behalf of our Community continues to be priority for Friends of Buddina. Keep in contact with the fund-raising team via our Facebook page or directly by email to:
30 April, 2019
Councillors approve Talinga St. development 6 to 5 votes
At the Council meeting today, 6 voted for the Developers: Cr Dwyer, Cr Cox, Cr Dickson, Cr Robinson & Cr O'Pray plus Mayor Jamieson. 5 Councillors voted for the Community and the Turtles, thank you Cr McKay, Cr Rogerson, Cr Hungerford, Cr Baberoski & Cr Connolly who also "called up" the development.
Planning staff recommended 74 Conditions be applied to the development which were accepted by the 6 Councillors approving the development. These conditions represent an attempt to comply with performance benchmarks and acceptable outcomes when aspects of the development application are clearly in conflict in the Planning Scheme codes.
Despite serious concerns, a 1,000 signature petition and a development that did not fully comply with the development code. These are the 6 Councillors that voted for the development:
17 April, 2019
Petition with 1,016 Signatures
Our petition with 1,016 original signatures requesting Council to reject the 7 storey, 21m high-rise proposal was lodged today at the Nambour Chambers. The sentiment against this development goes further than our immediate Buddina Community and includes others who visit, walk, swim, surf, volunteer, educate their children here and who appreciate the character, amenity and the importance to protect the Buddina turtle nesting habitat.