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"The Beachfront" Dilution of Approval Conditions

Where is this development?

The site of this proposed development is located at 84 and 85 Pacific Boulevard, 2 and 6 Talinga Street, and 61 and 63 Iluka Avenue, Buddina.  5 residential houses are being replaced with 73 Units and a Corner Store at a height of 21m. 

  • It is sited directly opposite the beach which is mapped by the State as turtle nesting habitat; and

  • located 100% within the State's 2015 declared erosion prone area and also is mapped by Council as erosion prone.

What's this "change" about?  Why?  What are the intended outcomes?

The Minor Change application MCU18/0190.04 as submitted by Project Urban, seeks to remove (yes, completely remove) 3 of the key turtle lighting approval condition sub-clauses applied to the Buddina Beachfront development, i.e. approval conditions 70 (a), (b) & (c).  If approved, the outcomes anticipated to include:

  • financial gain (substantial cost reductions) for the developer/builder

whilst creating:

  • environmental loss of protection for endangered loggerhead turtles & other migratory species

  • loss of certainty and enforceable compliance with lighting conditions

  • loss of energy-saving components included the built form for new owners/residents

  • loss of privacy and amenity for adjacent residents

  • loss of darker sky benefits for the community


Refusal and Appeal in the P&E Court - progress as at 15 September 2023

11 August 2023:

Council decided to refuse the Minor Change application MCU18/0190.04 and issued the advice on 15 August to Pacific Diamond 88 Pty Ltd (trustee developer).  Council advised that the existing development approval issued on 17 June 2022 (Council reference MCU18/0190.03) remains unchanged and is the current development approval.

24 August 2023

Pacific Diamond 88 Pty Ltd (trustee developer) lodged an appeal in the Planning and Environment Court against Council’s Refusal of their Minor Change.  The appeal proposes seeks the following orders or other relief:

(a) the appeal be allowed;
(b) the Change Application be approved with appropriate development conditions; and
(c) such further or other orders as the Court considers necessary or appropriate


How did the community respond to the developer's minor change?

Our submission (objection) 

We wrote a comprehensive submission to Council which outlines our objection to this “minor change” application and multiple reasons for rejection.   To read the details, click here.


Community objections

Thank you to everyone who wrote a submission to Council.  Their "Assessment Report" identifies that a total of 107 community comments were received for the subject change application, all in opposition to the proposed changes to the conditions.

A submission (or comment) does not need to be extensive; 1 page or less is sufficient.   It should include the 6 fields specified by Council plus comments (1) and (2).  Here is an example to provide some assistance, with reasons for rejection that may resonate with you.  If so, use any number or all of these suggestions / samples or others.  As Council may discount “proforma” submissions, please modify the wording for your reasons to be in your own style.

Email to:                     Attention: Katrina Patey, Assessment Officer

and cc:        


Application number:     MCU18/0190.04   Minor Change to Development Approval

Application address:     2 & 6 Talinga St, 84 & 85 Pacific Bvd, & 61 & 63 Iluka Ave, BUDDINA



Contact number:

Address:  Street, Suburb, State, Post Code



(1)  I / (We) oppose this minor change application to remove Approval conditions 70(a), (b) and (c) and request that Council reject the application, without amendment.  The application ought to be refused over its significant and unacceptable impact on the endangered loggerhead turtles.


(2)  Reasons for rejection include, but are not limited to:

  • Removal or any dilution of these approval conditions will increase the severity of known impacts (Artificial Light at Night) on the endangered loggerhead turtle & their nesting habitat at Buddina.


  • Removal or any dilution of these approval conditions eliminates compliance criteria and ongoing certainty of the protection measures, further diminishing the protection of the endangered species.


  • Removal or any dilution of these approval conditions introduces uncertainly as to how to block interior artificial light spill which will not be measurable nor enforceable without the compliance criteria.

  • Removal or any dilution of these approval conditions may undermine Council’s legislative responsibility to protect a listed endangered species, also classified as MSES under State legislation.

  • Removal or any dilution of these approval conditions reflects inconsistency with multiple other DA approvals by Council which specifically include similar turtle lighting control elements (such as 15% VLT on glazed surfaces).

  • Removal or any dilution of these approval conditions would likely demonstrate preferential treatment by Council in favouring this particular developer by providing reduced compliance and substantial cost savings, not available to other developers.

Here is the link to the Minor Change Application documents

Sunshine Coast Regional Council - Development.i website DA documents – MCU18/0190.04 dated 18 April 2023

WHY should Condition 70 be retained, unaltered, as approved in July 2020?

Approval Condition 70 outlines prescribed measures to “minimise light spill and maintain or reduce the existing established sky glow levels at the adjacent turtle nesting grounds”. 

Approval conditions 70(a), (b) and (c) are specific design requirements for achieving these outcomes and specify that:

(a)    all glazing (including windows and doors) on the north, south and eastern elevations must be tinted with non-reflective tinting, or utilise smart glass technology, to  achieve a maximum 15% visible light transmittance;

{Explanatory Note: 15% VLT blocks 85% of artificial light when tinted glazed doors and windows are closed and consistently blocks 85% of artificial light on all tinted glazed fixed panels. Tinted glazed doors and windows can be opened at all times, 24/7, 365 days a year at the discretion of the residents};


(b)    all windows and doors within all units on the north, south and eastern elevations must be fitted with automatic opaque blinds. The automated blinds must be configured to be closed automatically, and must remain closed, between 8:00 pm and sunrise during turtle nesting and hatching season (1 October – 31 May)

{Explanatory Note: When tinted doors and windows are open at night, the closed blinds block a high % of artificial light during turtle nesting season.  The blinds can be opened during daylight hours 365 days a year};


(c)    indoor and outdoor paint/surfaces/fixtures must be matte and dark in colour and have a maximum reflectance value of 30%.

{Explanatory Note: LVR of 30% absorbs 70% of the light, which can help reduce energy costs plus reducing LVR to 30% can have a significant impact on skyglow at night - by reducing the amount of light that is emitted upward, less light will be scattered back down, resulting in less skyglow.}


Condition 70, in its current form was approved by Council on 23 July 2020 as minor change MCU18/0190.01 based on the submitted application by the developers.  The formal resolution reference is OM20/70.  The Decision Notice was issued on 30 July 2020.


Council determined that the Officers’ recommendations in MCU18/190.01 were sufficient to effect the requirements for protecting the MSES recognised endangered loggerhead turtles.  The established principles for the protection are to ensure:

(i)            NO increase in direct artificial light at night is visible from the beach and inshore waters as a result of the development;

(ii)           NO increases in sky glow at night as a result of the development;

(iii)          Certainty and enforceability of all approval conditions.


Contrary to and in the interests of correcting some "unbalanced" statements,

  • Residents are not restricted whatsoever in opening their doors and windows during daylight hours nor during the evenings; 

  • Similarly, residents are not restricted whatsoever in accessing their balconies; 

  • There are no grounds for suggesting Condition 70 prevents resident access to daylight and fresh air;

  • The artificial lighting restrictions includes 15% VLT tinting which provides positive on-going energy cost savings to residents; 

  • The 15% VLT provides significant sun, heat and glare protection, blocking out most of the harmful UV rays, reducing the need for air conditioning.  Aesthetically, a 15% VLT can give glazed surfaces a sleek, stylish look that enhance the appearance of a  building.  It also provides some level of privacy, making it harder for people to see inside a building;

  • Similarly, the automated blind closures during summer months also supports these outcomes, particularly when doors and windows are left open. 


Marketing of the apartments should have identified the requirements to potential purchasers and they would have (or should have) been aware of the lighting restrictions applicable for the protection of the endangered loggerhead turtles.  Current marketing suggests “almost sold out”.  Therefore, any proposed changes to effect and increase “the outlook through closed doors and windows” of the residents are post-contract and not what was (or should have been) marketed to potential purchasers of the apartments.

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Together we can make a difference!

So what's the problem?

Impacts on loggerhead turtles

To put it simply - marine turtles dig dark beaches.

Scientific research confirms artificial light at night (both direct and sky glow) deters nesting turtles and disorientates hatchlings which are then unable to find the sea or successfully disperse to the open ocean. 


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 and high percentages of male hatchlings (critical for the endangered species survival as increasing temperatures result in feminisation of the population).

A 7 storey building will be visible for some distance from and along the beach.  All visible lights will negatively impact the beach and inshore waters, deterring turtles from nesting and disorientating hatchlings.  Research confirms that turtles are negatively impacted by lights up to 18km distant.

Get involved - what you can do?   HAVE YOUR SAY


1.   Lodge a submission with Council before 15 May 2023 about this Minor Change Application


2.   It's important for residents to participate in the Council's New Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme Project as their proposed changes that will impact each and every one of us.


The first step is to register now to receive updates about the new Planning Scheme.  Click HERE to register

Documents and access links
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