New housing estates across the Coast are damaging, not benefiting, the lifestyle, writes Nadja Fleet.
New housing estates across the Coast are damaging, not benefiting, the lifestyle, writes Nadja Fleet.

‘I call bull’: New estates damage, not benefit, Coast

Using a cookie-cutter housing approach as a response to the rapidly increasing population on the Coast is not benefiting but damaging the very reason why people would want to live here.

When I bought a house on the Coast a few months ago, it wasn't the charm of a simple, old Queenslander that sold me.

Its biggest asset was actually right outside the backyard boundaries.

The block backs onto bushland - a green screen that separates neighbouring properties and serves as a pleasant reminder that, even though we're smack-bang in the middle of suburbia, we still live in the subtropics.

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Twisted logic still a hallmark of this council

My previous hometown of Adelaide was often praised for its beauty thanks to its grid-like city centre surrounded by mostly manicured parklands.

But since living on the Coast I have realised it's not structure and nicely planned grids that make a place liveable.

It's the winding streets and imperfections that offer individuality and surprises at each corner.

It's the cul-de-sacs that end somewhere where neighbours meet during warm afternoons to have a beer and watch their children play.

And it's the random pockets of green in between that put us at ease and allow us to escape any hustle and bustle.

These pockets are proof that someone many years ago when areas such as my quiet court where opened up for residential zoning had real smarts and true vision.

The plan wasn't about maximising profits at the time by cramming as many properties into one spot as possible.

It was about securing a lifestyle that would be priceless for many years to come.

This planning style is in stark contrast to what reporter Tegan Annett showcased in her story,

Coast's worst estates or way of the future.

The story points the finger at new housing estates where roofs almost touch and roads are too small to park on.

The culprits are mainly in Palmwoods, Forest Glen and Baringa.

Some may argue it's the way to go if we want to create affordable housing as we expect the Coast population to grow by an additional 140,000 by 2041.

But I call bull on that.

There are plenty of smarter examples that allow for affordable living.

Some of those are, as Sunshine Coast Environment Council liaison Narelle McCarthy points out, right under our nose - in the Sunshine Coast Council Design Strategy.

But instead of following its own strategies, our council is accepting developments that could damage, not benefit, the region's character and lifestyle.

This column is not about being against developments but it is about being for smart solutions.

These new housing estates may mean the council can pocket some extra rates now.

But, there's little doubt, we will pay the price in a few years to come.


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