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Noosa residents not happy over controls to fight coastal erosion

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Plans by Noosa Shire Council to impose possible development controls on some of the nation’s priciest real estate to ease the impact of expected costal erosion due to climate change have caused local uproar and prompted some high-profile residents to publicly attack the proposals.

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The council on Tuesday decided to delay the finalisation of its Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan to allow for more community consultation after residents complained about the impact of proposed new building restrictions on property values and insurance premiums.

Residents of Sunshine Beach and Peregian, home to some of the most expensive coastal properties in Australia, say the measures in the plan would put some properties in an “exclusion zone” which would severely restrict future development.

The council insists the plan has been developed on “sound evidence and critical input from the community, technical experts and other key stakeholders”.

It has proposed new coastal building lines for about 66 beachfront lots along Sunshine Beach and Sunrise Beach “based on their level of exposure”.

“Limiting new development in high-risk areas of Eastern Beaches (for those parts of properties affected by future coastal erosion) is considered a feasible and preferable adaptation response for ensuring development in these areas is suitable and ‘risk appropriate’ into the medium and longer term,” a fact sheet produced by the council states.

“More investigation and consultation with the community is needed to determine appropriate mechanisms through the planning scheme for delivering this.”

On Sunshine Beach resident vehemently opposed to the plan is high profile fund manager Geoff Wilson, who spearheaded the successful campaign against the Labor Party’s controversial ranking credits policy at the last election.

Wilson told The Australian Financial Review that the council’s plan was “disappointing and illogical”. He was one of more than 200 people who lodged submissions on the draft plan.

Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart and CEO Brett de Chastel on Tuesday announced the deadline for the finalisation of the coastal hazards adaptation plan would be extended to November.

“We were given until late May, but the November date now allows us to continue to further consult the community to explore workable solutions,” Stewart said.

She said it was important to clarify that the pan would “act as a guide to council’s response to costal erosion risks in the shire”.

“The CHAP will not specify how individual properties can and can’t be developed.”

“We must use this extension to carefully review and give consideration to all the issues raised by stakeholders.”

De Chastel said any required amendments to council’s planning scheme as a result of the coastal hazard adaption plan would need separate consultation and ministerial approval.

The previous Noosa Shire Council attracted national headlines in 2019 after it declared a “climate emergency”, with then mayor Tony Wellington saying more than 2000 homes and businesses were at risk from rising seal levels of costal erosion.

Noosa is one of about 32 Queensland councils that are developing coastal hazards adaptation plans as part of a state government program called QCoast2100.

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