At the Sunshine Coast Business Council Think Tank session attended by Greg Smith (President, OSCAR) on 26 June 2017, there was a discussion on projected population growth in the Sunshine Coast LGA and the consequences for housing availability.
Stephen Patey (Manager, Strategic Planning Branch, SCRC) who is another participant in these sessions indicated that there was a large pipeline of existing approved development and that this situation is not always understood or acknowledged. These existing approvals represent ‘development entitlements’ and it is reasonable to assume that they will happen (although not all at once). In this context, engagement about the future pattern of settlement needs to recognise that at least part of the future is already ‘locked in’. In a subsequent email to OSCAR Stephen kindly provided additional information which he was happy to share with OSCAR’s members.
He indicated that while he could not provide definitive figures about the population likely to be supported by approved development he is confident that the figure certainly lies somewhere above 120,000 people depending on what you include/exclude (he included all housing types), the level of approval (he included all approval types as well as structure plans that are in place for declared master planned areas under the Economic Development Act) and the occupancy rate that you apply to approved dwellings (the Sunshine Coast averaged around 2.6 persons per dwelling in the early 2016 census release).
At this stage Stephen indicated that he could not apportion these figures across particular areas, but he gave examples of areas where some of the major approvals/commitments already exist:
- Caloundra South (Priority Development Area – Structure Plan – under the control of Economic Development Queensland (EDQ))
- Palmview (Major Development Area – Structure Plan – SCPS 2014)
- Pelican Waters Southern Lakes and Golf Course Development (Preliminary Approval – Master Plan – Caloundra City Plan 2004)
- Maroochydore City Centre Development (Priority Development Area – Structure Plan – under the control of Economic Development Queensland)
- Kawana Town Centre, Birtinya Island North and Bokarina Beach remaining stages and sites (Major Development Area – Kawana Waters DCP and Structure Plan – various planning schemes)
- Sunshine Cove remaining sites (Preliminary Approval – Master Plan – Maroochy Plan 2000)
- Other development sites in and around Maroochydore (Preliminary Approval and Development Permits under various planning schemes)
- Sippy Downs Town Centre and Buderim South various development sites (Preliminary Approval and Development Permits under various planning schemes)
Based upon the above projects alone Stephen arrived at a theoretical population yield of somewhere between 85,000 and 100,000 people (depending on whether the development proponent realises the dwelling yields that are provided for under the approvals). This is without looking at any development:-
- north of the Maroochy River;
- in Nambour, Beerwah and the other hinterland towns;
- in any rural residential area; or
- involving infill and redevelopment of existing developed sites for higher dwelling yields (generally in and around existing centres other than Maroochydore).
He indicated that it is important that there remain in place a pipeline of approved development because not all development sites are made available at once and the absence of adequate development approvals can have negative consequences in terms of dwelling supply and pricing.