Seeney orders rezoning of Maroochy tourist park
DEPUTY premier Jeff Seeney has ordered Sunshine Coast Council to change the zoning of a Maroochydore tourist park against the local authority's wishes.
According to documents obtained using Right to Information laws, Mr Seeney, in a letter sent on March 24, gave no explanation for the change, which enabled Maroochy River Cabin Village and Caravan Park owners to redevelop its site at any time.
But Sunshine Coast Council deputy mayor Chris Thompson said it meant the 243 residents of the facility were placed at risk.
"We were surprised by the (change to) medium-density residential zoning," Cr Thompson said. "It's code assessable and doesn't protect the residents."
Fourteen days before Mr Seeney's letter to the council, Matt Evans, a senior policy advisor in his department, wrote to the park owner, SEQ Properties, partner David Johnston telling him there was no state interest in the matter and the government would not interfere with a proposed Sunshine Coast Regional Plan.
"This is consistent with the Queensland Government's commitment to empower local government to have more control on the future direction of their communities," Mr Adams wrote on behalf of Mr Seeney.
Mr Seeney yesterday defended his intervention telling the ABC he had no knowledge of the matter when the first letter was sent.
He said it had been raised with him by Buderim MP Steve Dickson, who lobbied for Mr Seeney to intervene.
Mr Seeney said there was a state interest in the provision of affordable housing and in protecting the rights of people from down-zoning decisions by councils.
In lobbying Mr Seeney Mr Dickson claimed "Community facilities - tourist park" designation did not support permanent residential accommodation of any type.
That position is at odds with that of Mr Johnston who in a letter to Mr Seeney, acknowledged that the proposed zoning allowed the continuation of the current use.
His concern was about what he described as a "longer-term policy conflict between supporting tourist activities and maintaining affordable housing choice in the region".
Cr Thompson said the intent of community facility-tourist park zoning that the council wanted to implement was to ensure that private parks remained for that purpose.
"The new scheme reflected the current use."
SEQ Properties CEO Angus Booker told the ABC the company went to Mr Seeney because they felt the council process was unconsidered and jeopardised both the homes of 240 permanent residents and the value of his business.
He said there was no plans to develop the site.