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Lake Weyba is currently under threat from the speculator, Godfrey Mantle’s “Noosa On Weyba” high density urban development proposal.

Its not over yet! | updated 24 June 2015

Despite the recent outright refusal of the Noosa on Weyba development application by both the Noosa Shire Council and the Sunshine Coast Regional Council on over 20 different grounds for refusal, the imposition of stringent conditions by the Department of Environment Heritage and Protection that impact significantly on the proposal, and submission of more than 1000 objections by the community, the developer has lodged an Appeal in the Planning and Environment Court.

On the 29th May 2014, Community Groups Friends of Lake Weyba, Noosa Parks Association and Sunshine Coast Environment Council jointly lodged a Notice of Co-Respondent in support of the local and state government decisions to refuse the application.  This action will also provide the community with a voice in court.


On the 3rd June 2015, Judge Everson of the Planning and Environment Court delivered his judgement on the changes to plans sought by the developer, Mantle.  The Judge rejected the application by the developer to dramatically scale down the size of the proposal, remove the aged care component, reduce the commercial precinct, once touted as the heart of the development, from 12,000 m2 to 600 m2 and alter access significantly to the remaining development area.  The Judge noted that the changes were significant and required further assessment which was not the role of the court, but the role of the local government.

The developer now has until the 1st July 2015 to decide whether to proceed with the appeal in accordance with the original plans for the development or withdraw the appeal.

The developer’s decision may be affected by the fact that the Biodiversity Offset Agreement which facilitated submission of a proposal for urban development outside of the urban footprint is due to expire on the 31 December 2015.  Any extension of this agreement would be doubtful on a number of fronts.  More news soon……

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Below is a timeline of the application process.

In December 2012, developers Godfrey Mantle and John Hoffman lodged an application for urban development (1000+ allotments) on environmentally sensitive land partially fronting Lake Weyba.

In February 2013, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council requested further information from the developer on more than 90 different issues relating to the proposal.

The further information requested was lodged on the 28 October 2013 and the public notification stage commenced immediately, with submissions closing on the 10 December 2013.

An unprecedented number of objections to the application were lodged. Over 1500 individual submitters voiced their concern about this contentious, inappropriate and unjustified proposal for urban density in a ecologically sensitive rural and open space conservation area.

Appropriately, after de-amalgamation of the Noosa area, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council passed the Assessment Manager role to the new Noosa Shire Council. The proposal finds itself now straddled across two local government areas. The community of interest and impact will be the Noosa area which will need to supply all services.

The Sunshine Coast Council as concurrence agency for the 56% of the proposed density of this application that is located in it’s local government boundaries, made a determination on Thursday 30th January 2014 to reject the proposal outright as recommended by Council staff and by independent experts.  Councillors Robinson and Dickson urged their fellow Councillors to reject the proposal as it was out of sequence with the new draft planning scheme, the proposed location had no planned infrastructure provisions and it would have a negative impact on the environment and the sensitive waterways of Lake Weyba and the greater Noosa River system

On 3rd April 2014, the newly formed Noosa Shire Council voted unanimously to refuse the application in accordance with their planning staff recommendation which cited 17 individual grounds for refusal including economic, environmental, cultural heritage, infrastructure and road issues.

Mayor Noel Playford said, ” Our lake and river system is the lifeblood of Noosa and our tourism industry.  Our community has demanded that we protect it by upholding the Noosa Plan.”

Friends of Lake Weyba applaude the decision to refuse the application by both the Noosa Shire Council and the Sunshine Coast Regional Council who have rightfully upheld the provisions of the local and state planning schemes, and also commends the State Government concurrence agencies for imposing such stringent conditions. In view of these definitive outcomes any further action by the applicant can only be deemed imprudent.

On Friday 5th September 2014 a directions hearing was held in the Planning and Environment Court which settled Orders requiring the developer to identify the grounds relied on in support of the Appeal and similarly the Councils and other Respondents are to identify the grounds relied on to support refusal of the application.

On the 24 October 2014 the Court ordered the Appellant (Northbrook) provide the court and other parties with details of changes it intended making to the proposed plans including supporting information by the 21st November 2014.  By the 19th December 2014 the other parties were to advise the Appellant whether they considered the changes to be major or minor.  The amended plans submitted by the Appellant Northbrook Corporation (Mantle and Hoffman) reduced the scale of the development significantly, altering its’ composition and amending road networks.  All parties except for Noosa Airfield contended that the amendments were major and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection requested further information.

Further amended plans were submitted by the Appellant in February 2015 and the relevant parties were asked to advise whether they still considered the changes to the major and all parties reaffirmed their position.  On the 12 March 2015, the Appellant filed an application and supporting affidavits seeking a declaration from the Court that such changes are “minor” not “major”, and if the application is successful this will allow the appeal to proceed on the basis of the amended plans. Affidavits etc can be accessed via this link .

Fast Facts

  • Development stretches from Noosa Par 3 to banks of Lake Weyba. Potential for up to 1000+ dwellings!
  • Equates to over 2000+ residents. A whole new town!
  • Unsustainable pressure on existing roads, schools, medical services, community services and your lifestyle!
  • Destruction of one of the region’s precious natural assets – assets that underpin our tourism industry, our economy! Urban density inappropriate for sensitive ecological area.
  • High urban density on high value conservation rural land. Outside urban footprint!
  • Non compliant with existing planning schemes! SEQ Regional Plan/Maroochy Plan 2000/Noosa Plan – no urban development planned in this area.
  • Sunshine Coast Regional Council report rejected Biodiversity Offset proposal as providing no net environmental gain!
  • Postage stamp size 350m2 lots. Sardine City!
  • Dwellings, shops, townhouses up to 3 storeys!
  • New town drains into Keyser Creek and Lake Weyba – the lungs of the Noosa River!
  • Potential for the high water quality of this sensitive catchment to be irrevocably compromised.
  • Over 2000+ additional residents boating, fishing, kayaking on this delicate waterway, its tributaries and local parks!
  • 55% of urban density on 25% of land available for development: land fronting sensitive Lake Weyba!
  • Buffer zone 60 metres? 10 metre lot setback+10 metre drainage = 40 metre buffer inadequate to lake.
  • Developer reports state “manicured grass NOT revegetate as claimed to prevent fire.
  • Wetland to be filled – home to vulnerable wallum froglet, wallum rocket frog and wallum sedge frog.
  • 150,000 cubic metres of soil moved. Developer claims “world’s best practice”. Modifying landscape and landform dramatically indicates land is unsuitable for development.
  • Loss of flood storage of 25,600m3 developer’s report states that this is negligible given the size of Lake Weyba and surrounding flood plain. Does flood water stop at boundary of development?????
  • Tidswell and Hollets Road – 22 metres wide! Loss of old growth trees koala feed trees and endangered vegetation! High traffic volume!
  • Wildlife experts say proposal detrimental to koalas and other fauna. NO net gain!
  • Fragments fauna movement – isolates existing National Park and Nature Refuges.
  • The applicant responded to only part of the further information requests, which means large unknowns for the assessment process, particularly for some of the environmental issues.
  • Development brings forward water storage deficiency of the Tewantin Reservoir to 2016.
  • Noosa Sewage treatment plant only has the capacity to serve existing connections and any new appropriate development until late 2015.
  • Sewage may need to be trucked to Coolum if there is insufficient capacity at Noosa. Jeopardises careful planning for peak tourist loads. Is trucking effluent sustainable and greenhouse friendly?
  • Any appropriate development within urban footprint unlikely to proceed because of high capital contributions as NoW uses all remaining water and sewage capacity for Noosa.
  • Blinding increase in lights associated with traffic and housing in low impact rural area.
  • Current ratepayers live here for the amenity and lifestyle guaranteed by existing planning designations.
  • Claims 2076 jobs over 8 years BUT only 909 on site! Where are the rest! Down south? Local benefit?
  • Access for up to 550 lots via Eumarella Road! Thousands of additional cars each day!
  • Walter Hay Drive – no longer limited access road. 6600 more cars daily! Speeds reduced.
  • Water, sewage, power! NoW would take infrastructure to or beyond capacity. No reserves for Noosa ratepayers or appropriate responsible development proposals!
  • Locals in development area forced to pay access charges for water and sewage. Connected or not!


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