Surf Ranch off the table for Coolum West site

Vanessa Bacon-Hall

A CONTROVERSIAL development which was intended for a parcel of land west of the Sunshine Motorway at Coolum, known as Coolum West, has been taken out of consideration with landowner Consolidated Properties Group (CPG) stating that community objection to the development was behind the withdrawal of the development proposal.  

CPG was intending to build a ‘Surf Ranch’ at the site which would be designed by famous surfer Kelly Slater – the Surf Ranch would also support residential development with many objectors touting that the development of the surf ranch was just a front for a large-scale residential development on an area prone to flooding.  

Don O’Rourke CEO and Chairman of CPG gave the Advertiser the following response when asked if the development was going ahead as a development application.  

“We would like to do a wave-based project on our Coolum site, but if the community doesn’t want it, we won’t stand in the way of a transfer to public ownership, if that is what the community demands.”  

Reports have surfaced recently that the development from CPG was officially withdrawn however a development application was never formally received with Division 9 Councillor Maria Suarez stating this.  

“It is my understanding there was no formal application made,” Cr Suarez said.  

“The land parcels for the proposed development are outside of the Urban Footprint for the Sunshine Coast region, which is why CPG has been lobbying the State Government for endorsement of the proposal for a surf ranch, hotel, and large residential development. 

“The State Government invited Council’s thoughts on the proposal and correspondence has consistently and repeatedly maintained that a tourism and resort offering would be welcome on the Sunshine Coast but not at the location west of Coolum.” 

Council has maintained repeatedly that its main concern is flooding.   

“With an increasing number of natural disasters occurring in Australia, it would be irresponsible for any level of Government to knowingly allow development to occur that would put people and property at risk. Building on a floodplain, let alone one of the deepest floodplains on the Sunshine Coast would be perilous,” Cr Suarez said.  

An intensive residential development also failed to get State Government support back in the mid 2000s. 

State Member for Ninderry Dan Purdie also acknowledged that the development would not be the right fit for the land.  

“I welcome the news that the proponent has withdrawn their application for the wave park at West Coolum. 

“I raised concerns regarding flooding, congestion, and over-development, which had also been flagged by the community when I first learnt of the proposal and took these to Parliament.    

“While the wave park ticked a lot of boxes, this was not the right location,” Mr Purdie said.  

As to where next for the site, the local community advocacy group Development Watch propose that the land be given back to the community.  

“This land is very constrained, and its value has probably diminished substantially given recent flooding events in Australia. 

“Whether the site could be acquired by Council, or the State is a matter for them.   

“Development Watch would not be opposed to Mr O’Rourke gifting the land to Council to add to the Blue Heart carbon capture project.”  

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