SCEC's Narelle McCarthy says urban development is limited north of the Maroochy River because of crucial flood plains.
SCEC's Narelle McCarthy says urban development is limited north of the Maroochy River because of crucial flood plains.

Community groups dispute ‘critical’ land supply shortage

An alliance of community groups has disputed recent claims that the Sunshine Coast has a "critical" land supply shortage.

Urban Development Institute of Australia this week said the region was hanging on a "knife edge", with CEO Kirsty Chessher-Brown warning there could be a "substantial" rise in house prices.

But Melva Hobson, president of Organisation Sunshine Coast Association of Resident, said the UDIA had cherrypicked the land supply data.

She said it hadn't acknowledged 15 years of supply identified in the Southeast Queensland Regional Plan and the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme.

A statement from the Sunshine Coast Environment Council said the approved land supply was in the hands of developers to bring to the market.

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"Suggestions more land is needed under the guise of housing affordability is a constant cry from the development industry which continues to ignore the region's carrying capacity and liveability," it said.

"It has been used before to fast-track developments, such as Caloundra South."

The SCEC said amid those claims was a call for land to be released north of the Maroochy River by developer interests.

Consolidated Properties Group CEO Don O'Rorke had told the Daily it was terrible for families and first home buyers that there was no land supply north of the Maroochy River.

"The primary reason urban development is limited north of the Maroochy River, including Coolum West, is because this area within the Maroochy catchment is a critical, regional flood plain," SCEC's statement said in response.

SCEC's Narelle McCarthy said the flood plains included the award-winning 'Blue Heart' project which provided flood storage for the Maroochy River Catchment.

"It is integral to the region's Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy response to increasing sea level rise, storm surge, tidal inundation and riverine flooding," she said.

"It also provides long-term sustainable economic, environmental and recreational opportunities."

Development Watch President Lynette Saxton said community groups were justifiably opposed to residential development on the flood plains but would welcome further expansion of the Blue Heart project to achieve its 5000ha footprint.

"The balance of the flood plains continue to offer flood storage, rural production, and valuable open, green space and amenity," she said.

Ms McCarthy said developments that were ecologically sustainable should take precedence over developer and land owner interests.