TODAY will mark day two of the Supreme Court Appeal lodged by Applicant Development Watch Inc against Sunshine Coast Regional Council and SH Coolum Pty Ltd in regards to the approved Yaroomba Beach development.
The controversial development application was first approved by Sunshine Coast Regional Council (SCRC) in a six to five vote in June 2018 and was subsequently approved on appeal in the Planning and Environment Court in May 2020, with Judge Kefford ruling that the five star hotel development and residential component was in the public interest – subject to conditions.
The development application is now being appealed in the Supreme Court of Queensland, with the Applicant – Development Watch Inc citing three erroneous areas in the judgement as cause to appeal.
The grounds for appeal are cited as being – dismissing community submissions and community expectations, going against the town plan in regards to building heights and misunderstanding the evidence about need for the proposed development.
Three judges will hear the appeal in the Supreme Court as opposed to just one in the Planning and Environment Court and Development Watch President Lynette Saxton is hopeful of a favourable outcome.
“Having three judges instead of just one is quite reassuring.
“I think we have a good chance, justice should prevail and the voice of the community should matter.”
After the previous appeal in the Planning and Environment Court, Development Watch Inc were advised by their legal team that they had grounds to further appeal.
“Our advice was that we had reasonable prospects of success,” Ms Saxton said.
“This is definitely a David and Goliath battle – we are the underdogs, with council having three barristers, Sekisui House having two and we have just two.”
Development Watch have also raised concerns as to why SCRC are the first respondent.
“We are very disappointed that SCRC are still fully involved in pushing with the court case when they could have taken a back seat, they didn’t have to participate and could have let Sekisui House defend the case and save rate payer’s money.”
It is expected that a ruling will take up to two months to be decided and a further appeal could be lodged in the High Court should the loser wish to proceed and obtain leave from the High Court.
Ms Saxton said that a High Court Appeal is something that could be looked at should they loose the current appeal.
“The community have said that they do want to do that- whether we would have a case, we don’t know.
“All we can do is wait and see how it will go.”
Sekisui House were asked to comment, however declined the opportunity extended to them.