Artist's impressions of Sekisui House's hotel and residential development at Yaroomba.
Artist's impressions of Sekisui House's hotel and residential development at Yaroomba.

Sekisui revelations not expected to impact legal battle

The president of a community group fighting against a controversial billion-dollar beachside development says she doesn't think recent Right to Information revelations will affect the legal battle.

Development Watch president Lyn Saxton said any revelations unearthed in a recent 3435-page Sunshine Coast Council document release about the approval of Sekisui House's Yaroomba Beach proposal would be separate matters to be dealt with by a future investigation.

She said anything that happened prior to the lodgement of an appeal was not relevant and the courts assessed an application anew when an appeal was lodged.

The recent Right to Information release revealed council planners had been preparing to recommend a refusal of the proposal just weeks before it was approved 6-5 by councillors in a special meeting, after officer's had recommended its approval.

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Planners had formed an opinion the development would not comply with the council's height of buildings and structures overlay and that there were not sufficient grounds under the State Planning Act to override the council's planning scheme overlay and grant an approval.

Development Watch president Lyn Saxton.
Development Watch president Lyn Saxton.


But other staff considered there were enough public and economic benefits associated to meet the sufficient planning grounds.

"It's (Right to Information disclosure) certainly raised a lot of questions," Ms Saxton said.

The matter is currently before the Court of Appeal in the Supreme Court, where the community group opposed to the proposal are fighting to have the upholding of the approval reviewed in the Planning and Environment Court based on what they considered errors in the appeal judgment.

The three key grounds the community group was contesting were errors made in judgment on the need for the project, community expectation and the height overlay code.

She lamented the fact information revealed in the recent document dump hadn't surfaced in the immediate aftermath of the initial approval as she said they could've lodged a judicial review and avoided what had been a lengthy, costly legal process to-date.

Sekisui House’s Yaroomba Beach project director Evan Aldridge.
Sekisui House’s Yaroomba Beach project director Evan Aldridge.

 

The community had raised about $450,000 for the first appeal in the Planning and Environment Court and about an extra $80,000 had been raised to-date for the Court of Appeal process under way in the Supreme Court.

It was understood about another $20,000 was still to be raised to fund that matter.

Sekisui House's Yaroomba Beach project director Evan Aldridge did not comment at length as the matter was still before the Court of Appeal.

"The Yaroomba Beach development approval issued by the Sunshine Coast Council was both validated and upheld by the Planning and Environment Court with a new conditions package issued on 15 June 2020," he said.

"This judgment is currently being appealed through the Supreme Court, with a hearing due in March 2021.

"Therefore we won't be providing any comment whilst this matter is being processed."


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