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Noosa Civic proposal fails to deliver long term job needs

Noosa Council has refused a Noosa Civic shopping centre expansion bid, citing major planning scheme conflicts among a raft of concerns.

In recommending refusal, planning staff flagged unacceptable impacts for retail centres such as Noosa Junction, and the need for costly road upgrades and traffic lights.

“Those people who would like to see higher order shopping, including the department stores in Maroochydore and Brisbane, would be disappointed with this proposal if it was built. It simply offers more of the same, the same types of shops that already exist at Noosa Civic,” says Noosa Mayor Noel Playford.

Cr Playford said the application failed to provide the long-term job opportunities the Noosa Plan required of the proposed site.

“Nor does it fulfil the South East Queensland Regional Plan’s Desired Regional Outcome for employment because it will not diversify our economy,” he said.

“In fact, it would sterilise a land parcel intended to provide higher order employment with more retail, which our population can’t support.

“The Noosa Business Centre precinct – where Noosa Civic sits – holds huge potential as an employment hub for high-value industries such as digital, medical, science and research, and education. These are the sorts of uses the planning scheme calls for on this site to provide long term professional career options for school leavers,” Cr Playford said.

“QIC’s proposal flies in the face of that vision, as well as the work we’re doing with the community to develop a local economic plan. This development threatened to severely erode the Noosa Business Centre’s capacity as a major employment growth centre.”

Cr Playford said the infrastructure needed to manage traffic demands was too great and QIC hadn’t demonstrated a need for the extra retail. Noosa Civic already provides more retail than prescribed by the Noosa Business Centre master plan, which the community helped develop.

“QIC would need to generate substantial business from south of Noosa Shire to support this expansion. This site was never intended to serve the greater Sunshine Coast’s retail needs, with Maroochydore having been designated the region’s principal activity centre,” Cr Playford said.

“Demand on Walter Hay Drive and Eumundi-Noosa Road would require a number of traffic light-controlled intersections – both costly and at odds with Noosa’s traffic management philosophy – and road widening.

Council’s own traffic consultant has noted that the necessary changes to traffic infrastructure are likely to be substantially greater than the developer has indicated. Planning staff have also explained that these costs could be worn by Council rather than the developer, and that they may amount to many millions of dollars.

“I encourage QIC to rework its proposal to address the planning scheme's vision for this site, with a focus on growing high-value industries and providing skilled labour opportunities,” Cr Playford said.

25 September 2015

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