COUNCILLOR CALL OUT
In light of the Supreme Court decision regarding Sekisui I call on you, as the representatives of the people of Division 8 and 9 and the Sunshine Coast, to call a vote of no confidence in mayor Mark Jamieson and the remaining councillors who voted for the Sekisui development application. Furthermore, you need to expedite an independent inquiry into how Sunshine Coast Council’s planning and the legal departments got this all so wrong.
The Local Government Act 2009 sets out the principles by which councillors should conduct themselves. These principals include: ensuring transparent and effective processes; decision making in the public interest; sustainable development; democratic representation; social inclusion and meaningful community engagement.
There is no doubt in the court’s decision – councillors failed to uphold these principles explicit in The Act.
Critically, the Supreme Court determined that “… there was in this case a credible source of evidence as to the expectations of the local community, and a substantial one at that.” This is the same substantial evidence that was deliberately mocked and excluded by the mayor and councillors who chose not to do their job.
The financial cost to residents for the Sekisui farrago is in the millions of dollars. Ratepayers have funded the legal fees the council incurred supporting the private developer. The hundreds, if not thousands, of hours worked inside council offices on Sekisui’s behalf is a cost that is indefensible. And, what has been the cost of a decade of uncertainty about the town plan? So much money wasted because the SCC chose not to do its job.
The community itself spent more than $500,000 in legal and other costs. The cost to the community in time and effort is immeasurable. The stress of a ten-year fight to protect everything we have built and believed in has taken a heavy toll. Yes, all of this because councillors chose not to do their job.
Let me remind you that when mayor Jamieson declared our community groups “illegitimate”, not one councillor spoke up for the community or for the principles set down in the act.
How can residents and ratepayers have any confidence in any of you? More importantly, how can we have any confidence in this council to negotiate in good faith in regard to the new town plan? The hard truth is we can’t.
A decade of dysfunction is not a small thing. Sunshine Coast Council sold the Sekisui myth for years without qualm or accountability. The court has unequivocally busted that myth. Council’s army of spin-doctors cannot put Humpty Dumpty back to together again. We need to start over with people who have respect for community, local democracy and the place we live. It is that simple.
It’s time for you to stand up for the rule of law and for the community. With all due respect, councillors, it’s time for you to do your job. A vote of no confidence would be a good start.
Well, this past week we have seen our PM hugging a koala; washing a woman’s hair, and on 60 Minutes he let his wife do all the talking!
Fair dinkum, the bloke is a regular human dynamo and the qualities displayed in these media performances have reinforced my opinion of his ability to lead us along the road less travelled.
Congratulations to the Sunshine Coast community for rallying to oppose the Sekisui Yaroomba development proposal. The development did not follow the guidelines of the Town Plan and the Supreme Court judgement noted that it did not adequately consider the community’s expectations regarding building heights. That is building heights set out in the Town Plan.
As Kathryn Hyman, Save Yaroomba spokesperson said, the judgement was a win for democracy and, “It’s a win for the community, it’s a win for our planning scheme and it is a win for future and subsequent communities who are seeing developments that are not sensible or in line with the town plan.”
Cr. Maria Suarez flagged the beginning of another chance to re-affirm the community’s expectations of what our region should look like as set out in a new Town Plan to take us forward to 2041. We can sign up to contribute by visiting the council’s website.
So have your say, get involved and hopefully, developers and council will get the message. If proposals don’t match the expectations of communities and what is laid out in the planning scheme, it is not on.
What is the price of freedom? The price of freedom is sometimes death. Normally, this price is paid by the young, the fit – the dedicated men and women of the armed forces, because generally ‘freedom’ is fought for in war. Unless conscripted, which has not occurred in 50 years, these brave people have made a decision to risk death for the country’s freedom. We honour and celebrate their sacrifice.
But in the covid-19 pandemic the price of freedom is being paid by the elderly, the infirm and the vulnerable. These people didn’t make a decision to die for others’ freedom. They‘ve had it thrust upon them. They are reported merely as a statistic.
I’ve read a lot recently about protesters in rallies and marches demanding their ‘freedom’. Freedom to be unvaccinated, freedom to reject precautions such as masks, freedom to party, or attend major events.
I just hope those demanding their freedom understand who is paying the price.
Supply and demand
In an affluent nation like Australia, it is incomprehensible to see supermarket shelves bare and our favourite supplies of groceries, both limited or unavailable. We are in a shopping nightmare, brought on by rising prices and staff shortages.
Many are struggling, or unemployed, due to Covid’s destructive hold dictating economic forces. Business and manufacturing have been brought to their knees. Products impacted by forces outside their control, are in short supply. So, the cliché “supply and demand” is the motivation for exploiting market forces.
Supermarkets can call the tune. Some supermarkets have begun to raise prices of basic food products and groceries, overnight, without apology. Unreasonable rises of 25 and 40% and more, are now impacting household budgets. It’s a case of affording either rent, fuel or milk? All basic necessities are at a historical high. Basic foods and groceries at affordable prices which we have previously taken for granted, are now out of the reach of certain demographics.
Our governments have failed to comprehend the destructive economic impact of the global COVID pandemic on we the people! The cost of living is out of control. In an election year, but do they even care?
Celebrity rumours? After currying favours by appearing in “Elected at First Sight”, Good Guv’mint’s performance for the past eight years in “Get me Out of Here- I’m a Politician” is about to be axed by the critics. True or false?
You would think that a company would be proud to use its name for promotional purposes. Not so it would seem for Sekisui. Dating back to 2017, Sekisui House decided to use “Yaroomba Beach” in their advertisements even stating that Yaroomba Beach had lodged a development application with council for a high-rise, high-population density development at Yaroomba Beach. Not correct! In fact, it is on council and public records that the application was made by Sekisui House, not Yaroomba Beach!
So why would S.H. use a name behind a postcode and not an ABN? It would seem that the reason is two fold:
Firstly, the S.H. brand name has been tarnished from their many misleading statements over the years – refer to the multitude of letters published by this newspaper discrediting their statements.
Secondly, the use of “Yaroomba Beach” implies that the community of Y.B. is supporting the development proposal – nothing could be further from the truth as evidenced by appeal actions taken by the community all the way to the Supreme Court, with success!
Sekisui House should immediately desist in using Yaroomba Beach as a guise behind their company name and get on with a development that complies with the town plan as they could have done years ago.
Yaroomba Beach no longer exists. It is now Mt Coolum Beach (read the signs).
Where has Yaroomba Beach gone and why? GO FIGURE!
Comments expressed in the letters to the editor are not the opinions or thoughts of the Advertiser and are solely the opinion of the stated letter writer.