Japanese developer has second crack at Sunshine Coast resort

An artist’s impression of the proposed Westin Hotel by Sekisui House, at Yaroomba on the Sunshine Coast.
An artist’s impression of the proposed Westin Hotel by Sekisui House, at Yaroomba on the Sunshine Coast.

A Queensland council has been overwhelmed by the response to a proposal for a $900 million five-star hotel and apartment development opposite the mothballed Palmer Coolum Resort.

More than 4700 submissions have been lodged with Sunshine Coast Regional Council in response to an application by Japanese developer Sekisui House for Yaroomba.

It is the second time Sekisui House has tried to develop the beachfront site on a disused golf course formerly part of the ­luxury Hyatt Regency Coolum resort.

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In 2015, the original proposal was rejected because of community opposition coupled with the fact it represented a major ­diversion from the council’s town plan in height and density.

The latest proposal would also require amendments to the town plan to allow for three seven-storey buildings, including a 220-room Westin Hotel and 1000 residential and short-stay apartments on the 19ha site.

Under the Sunshine Coast town plan, buildings in the area can be no more than two storeys.

Project director Evan Aldridge says at least 3000 submissions supported the project.

“It is clear the Sunshine Coast community understands the significant benefits this project will bring to the region, and have given Yaroomba Beach an enormous vote of confidence,” Aldridge says.

Local councillor Jason O’Pray says in his six years in local government he cannot recall a bigger response to a development application.

“The community has spoken very loudly,” O’Pray says.

“It’s very clear the Sunshine Coast desperately needs a new five-star hotel, but I can’t support a development of a height and density that is outside of the town plan.”

Lynette Saxton from community group Development Watch said she expected the majority of the submissions would object to the proposal: “Developers just have to realise there aren’t special rules for them and rules for everybody else.”