Thursday, May 30, 2024

Plan to shape Sunshine Coast land use

Sunshine Coast Council says it will spend the next few years developing a new planning scheme to shape land use and development across the region.

Council’s Group Executive Customer Engagement and Planning Services, James Ruprai said a planning scheme aimed to address the economic, social and environmental needs and aspirations of a local community. 

“Generally speaking, planning schemes describe council’s plan for managing growth and change within our local government area,” Mr Ruprai said.

“They focus on land use, infrastructure and valuable features of an area, whilst setting the standards that new development must meet. 

“Fundamentally, planning schemes apply to land that you own or rent and affects what you can do with your land and what your neighbour can do with theirs.”

Under the Planning Act 2016, all local governments are required to review their planning schemes within 10 years of them taking effect and decide, based on that review, whether to amend or replace the planning scheme. 

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the current scheme had been in place since 2014 and a new scheme would need to respond to emerging issues such as implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the predicted impacts of climate change and new technologies.

“A lot can change in 10 years, but one thing that remains constant is the importance of maintaining our region’s identity, character and lifestyle,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Here on the Sunshine Coast, we’ve been experiencing growth for some decades now – it’s not something new. 

“We cannot escape the fact that people move to the Coast to enjoy our laid-back lifestyle, community spirit and of course, our spectacular beaches and hinterland.

“We have seen our Sunshine Coast transform from a collection of small towns to a connected healthy, smart, creative region, yet we’ve still managed to retain a sense of a community of communities. 

“The planning scheme is, and will continue to be, the key tool to assist council in responding to growth management challenges.

“It’s a living document that guides the way land, buildings and structures are used and developed on the Sunshine Coast and it has been a very effective tool in this regard. 

“In order to remain current, relevant and effective however, a new planning scheme needs to address global and local trends and, in particular, focus on managing anticipated population growth, and reflect the more diverse types of housing that we are likely to expect in the future.

“The development of a new planning scheme is a comprehensive process and one that will be guided and informed by a clear process of community engagement as well as council’s adopted strategies, policies and projects including the Coastal Hazard Adaption Strategy, our Environment and Liveability Strategy, our Regional Economic Development Strategy and our Sunshine Coast Community Strategy.”

Council’s next step in the process is to undertake necessary background planning work before starting the extensive formal plan-making process which typically takes several years.

It will require input from across the organisation and external stakeholders, including the community, development industry and State Government over the coming years and is intended to be in place by 2024.

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