Advocacy group raise concerns over use of town name

Vanessa Bacon-Hall


Community advocacy group Development Watch which aims to hold council and government to account over town planning, environmental and development issues has raised concerns over developer Sekisui House (SH) using the name ‘Yaroomba Beach’ in promotional material seen at the recent ‘Flicks in the Park’ held in Tickle Park over the summer months.  

The Flicks in the Park are a free fortnightly event where family-friendly movies are shown on a blow-up screen in Tickle Park. The flicks are put on by local business chamber – Coolum Business and Tourism (CB&T) and supporter/sponsor ads are shown before the movies start with one sponsor being Sekisui House.

Sekisui House is behind a development earmarked for a beachside block of land at Yaroomba with the development application currently before the Supreme Court after being approved in the Planning and Environment Court in May 2020. Development Watch is currently appealing to the court on the grounds of the development going against community interests and the existing Sunshine Coast Council town plan.

The ‘Yaroomba Beach’ development by SH has approval to build a 220 room 5 star ‘The Westin Coolum Resort & Spa’, 132 serviced apartments, 541 apartments, 67 dwellings along with 4 ha of public open and green space, 382 public car parks and a Coastal Discovery Centre.

Development Watch President Lynette Saxton said that as a result of Sekisui’s use of the business name ‘Yaroomba Beach’ Development Watch has been forced to seek a ruling from the relevant Government Authority on the appropriateness of a development company operating under the banner of a local suburb.

“As a result of Sekisui’s extensive recent promotional advertising I have received numerous emails and comments from residents enquiring if the court case was still on foot, or if Yaroomba residents had accepted the proposed high rise, high-density development at Yaroomba and/or if Development Watch had settled the matter out of court,” Lynette stated.

Lynette further went on to say that DW was not criticising the free movies.

“I would like to thank Coolum Business & Tourism for putting on the Flicks in the Park – it is a great event. 

“I would, however, like to reinforce the fact that ‘Yaroomba Beach’ as currently described by Sekisui in its promotional advertising at that event and elsewhere, is not in any way associated with the community and the likes of Development Watch and Friends of Yaroomba, and we are disappointed that Sekisui choose to hide behind the name of a much loved and respected community.”

In response to the claims made by DW, CB&T President Mark Cameron said that he was surprised to hear of the concerns made by DW.

“SH have been supporting Flicks in the Park for the last six years – I am not sure why this is only an issue now?” Mr Cameron said.

The free movies were and are seen as a cost-effective way to activate the local area over the summer months and gives people a reason to visit Coolum.

“We are a not for profit and in order for us to put on free community events – we need to reach out to local businesses and SH was one of 15 other businesses that responded to the call for help and they received the exact same offer in terms of advertising.”

“We play an ad with the sponsor logo and do a Facebook post for support and we do this for all of our sponsors – they all get the same treatment and we send out emails to 1400 local businesses asking for support,” Mark said.

SH Project Director Evan Aldridge responded to the appropriateness of the name use confusion raised by DW by stating they were definitely legally allowed to use the name ‘Yaroomba Beach’ and were proud to sponsor the community movies and had been doing so for the past six years. 

“The annual program run over the September, Christmas and Easter holiday period is a great drawcard for holidaymakers and locals and Yaroomba Beach has also happily supplied free popcorn for each movie event,” Mr Aldridge said.

“The Yaroomba Beach project has proudly supported the Flicks in the Park event as well as being an ongoing financial sponsor of the Marcoola Surf Lifesaving Club and the annual fireworks at the Coolum Carnival held by Coolum State School,” Mr Aldridge said.

Both Sekisui House and Development Watch are waiting on the outcome of the Supreme Court Appeal – a ruling could be made at any time.

DW is also waiting on information as to whether the name ‘Yaroomba Beach’ is appropriate in this instance.

At the time of going to print the Advertiser was aware that the announcement on the appeal is set to be handed down on Wednesday February 9 at 9.30am. Due to our print schedule, which has our paper printed late Tuesday evening each week, we were not able to cover this story and the outcome. We will have a full wrap in the Advertiser next week.

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