Why we are voting against the Springs Hotel

Noosa councillor Brian Stockwell

Noosa councillor Brian Stockwell

At Monday’s general committee meeting of Noosa Council, councillors voted against a staff recommendation that would have allowed the building of a 106-room, five-star hotel next to the Noosa Springs Golf resort.

It’s important that our community understands the reasons we have voted this way.

While many residents have raised issues about the size of the planned hotel and the fact that the land in question is just 220 metres from the Noosa Sewage Treatment Plant (with hotel rooms 270 metres away), there’s much more to this that’s of serious concern.

Today I moved a motion in council that we should deviate from the staff recommendation and refuse the application, and this was supported in the general committee. We will vote again on this at the ordinary meeting on Thursday.

In simple terms, as we developed the Noosa Plan 2020, part of the land in question at Noosa Springs was mapped in the biodiversity overlay with a clear intention to protect the vegetation. This area would also buffer adjacent residents from increased noise of hotel operations. Extensive clearing of under the Biodiversity Overlay was required to build the eastern wing of the hotel.

This proposal also represents an excessive use of the Recreation and Open Space Zone land for an inconsistent use (the hotel) and does not achieve the desired outcomes for the zone. At committee I argued it would:

• Have an adverse impact on Noosa’s environmental values.

• Have an adverse impact on the ecologically important areas on site.

• Failed to manage the amenity impacts of the hotel with appropriate landscape buffering.

A large number of valid planning grounds have been raised by over 400 people in our community. Importantly, Unitywater has expressed very strong opposition as a result of the potential risks and flow-on costs posed by the close proximity to the Noosa Sewage Treatment Plant.

There’s a long-standing principle of council that we should not facilitate development applications that force us to significantly amend the Planning Scheme – which is the blueprint for the way our community and Council move forward together.

This proposal, as it stands, simply doesn’t fit the values our community rightly expects its council to stand by.