Minister for State Development & Tourism: PLEASE DON'T OPEN THE FLOODGATES AT COOLUM WEST!
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THIS IS URGENT!
Developers can claim they have solutions to mitigating floodwaters when it comes to developing flood plains BUT when an extreme event occurs, whether it be on the site itself or downstream of a river, the developers are nowhere to be found.
A developer is currently lobbying the State Government to have the rural zoned floodplains at Coolum West deemed a Priority Development Area under the South East Queensland Regional Plan. If this occurs it would not only push through an inappropriate development that is not permitted under current planning instruments, but it would also sideline the community and have dire environmental impacts.
The proposal for Coolum West has been represented as a surf ranch and wave pool BUT it is an intense residential and commercial development with a “surf ranch and wave pool”, that would not even be available to the casual surfer, as a sweetener.
IT'S A FLOODPLAIN!
IMPACTS ON ECOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT MAROOCHY RIVER AND CATCHMENT
Apart from potential impacts on the important and sensitive hydrology of the site, the developer has indicated that water for the wave pool will be extracted from the Maroochy River. There are many questions and issues around such a proposal:
How will such extraction impact on the ecology of the river, both macro and micro biodiversity? At what rate would water be extracted?
If there is an intent to replenish the water in the wave pool, with what frequency and what impacts on the river ecology and balance?
What would be the implications for mineral mobilisation with acid sulphate and humic soils?
The Maroochy River is a declared Fish Habitat area – what impacts might a potential change in the salt/freshwater and pH balance have?
The recreational fishing values of the river are currently in decline, and this will only add to the impact on the highly lucrative tourism industry and valued past-time of locals.
The Maroochy floodplain has significant vegetation communities which are Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems. These include the largest stand of Casuarina glauca in Australia which has recently been listed as nationally endangered - Coastal Swamp Oak (Casuarina glauca) Forest of South-East Queensland and New South Wales; Subtropical and Temperate Coastal Saltmarsh community which is EPBC listed as critically endangered; and a threatened population of endangered water mouse (Xeromys myoides). A full ecological study over time of the impact of any of the proposed changes to the floodplain should be undertaken before any consideration of development or any similar activity on any part of the Maroochy floodplain.
The State Government's Chief Scientist says -
Floods have large social consequences for communities and individuals As most people are well aware, the immediate impacts of flooding include loss of human life, damage to property … some economic activities may come to a standstill, people are forced to leave their homes and normal life is disrupted. … Loss of livelihoods, reduction in purchasing power and loss of land value in the floodplains can leave communities economically vulnerable.
Floods can also traumatise victims and their families for long periods of time. The loss of loved ones has deep impacts, especially on children. Displacement from one's home, loss of property and disruption to business and social affairs can cause continuing stress. For some people the psychological impacts can be long lasting.
In Australia, floods are the most expensive type of natural disaster with direct costs estimated over the period 1967-2005 averaging at $377 million per year (calculated in 2008 Australian dollars). Until recently, the most costly year for floods in Australia was 1974, when floods affecting New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland resulted in a total cost of $2.9 billion. The Queensland Government estimates costs for the 2011 floods will exceed this figure for Queensland alone; with the damage to local government infrastructure estimated at $2 billion, and the total damage to public infrastructure across the state at between $5 and $6 billion  [emphasis added]
And the Townsville floods alone were estimated to cost $1billion 
SO WHY WOULD GOVERNMENT KNOWINGLY RISK OUR LIVES, OUR LIVELIHOOD AND OUR ENVIRONMENT?
From limited and skewed 'consultation', the developer claims the community is in favour of this.
If you are not in favour and you do not want the flood plains at Coolum West turned into an intense residential and commercial development then please sign our Petition today and also make a comment so that we can pass the community’s feedback onto the State Government.
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