The Friends of Lake Weyba have sought advice from former Noosa Council population cap town planner Paul Summers, who is appalled at what the Mantle Group could be intending to develop in vital water catchment areas that are presently protected by Noosa and Maroochy planning schemes.
“When I first looked at it I thought this cannot be – this is land that we had secured for future conservation,” Mr Summers said this week.
“It just goes to show that almost everything is under threat. There are obviously other options they are considering, but this is a full-on town with schools and town centres – it’s a population that has to be in the thousands,” Mr Summer said.
But a Mantle Group spokesman has hit back, saying the new master plan would provide lake protection while creating jobs, more national park and greater housing affordability.
Friends of Lake Weyba (FOLW) formally elected a committee last Sunday and is mapping out a strategy which includes having the entire Lake Weyba catchment added to the new Noosa Council boundary review.
Local residents believed this would help maximise the area’s planning protections.
Newly elected FOLW president Anita Brake later said any development for the area should be in accordance with the existing planning regulations.
Mr Summers said the Option 1 plan, listing a town area, mixed use, hotel with retail tourism, community club and recreation, medium-density villas and townhouses, residential A villas and retirement cottages, was outside the South East Queensland Regional Plan urban footprint.
The former Labor State Government opened the door for this parcel of land to be developed by agreeing in February this year to grant a biodiversity offset.
“Not since the Titanium proposal (rejected by the previous State Government) in the Kin Kin area has Noosa had to face a development of this scale and nature,” Mr Summers said in an online examination.
Mr Summers said the scale was about the equivalent or possibly larger than to the Noosa Civic, the Noosa Industrial Estate and Lakes Entrance Blvd estate combined.
“I’ve looked at it and this is a hell of a threat – it’s such a leap outside of where we’ve been as far as planning protections.”
Noosa on Weyba development director Steve MacRae has labelled claims by Mr Summers as “either fundamentally incorrect or irrelevant”.
Mr MacRae said Mr Summers acknowledged that the concept plan was solely a “vision”.
“The vision was required by the State Government for discussion purposes only as part of the Biodiversity Development Offset Area assessment,” Mr MacRae said.
“The vision plan circulated two years ago has now been superseded. The town planner’s comments do not correlate with the currently proposed master plan. The master plan is not as far-reaching, in terms of overall land development, as the vision.”
The current master plan also addresses all environmental controls that apply to the site.
Mr MacRae said a council officer’s report did not include any of the benefits of the BDOA application identified by the proponent and eventually by the State Government.
“As the State Government declared in its approval of the BDOA application, there are numerous environmental benefits created by this recent legislation including, for this site, a 139ha expansion of the Noosa National Park adjacent to Lake Weyba.”
Mr MacRae said the master plan would include the highest-quality environmental protection measures for Lake Weyba and the adjoining wetlands, including Queensland Coastal Plan protocols.
“It is important to note that no structures – marinas, jetties, pontoons – will be included.”