Caloundra South Submissions

7TH JUNE 2013

Stockland has now submitted it's Caloundra South Final Public Environment Report (PER)  View report here  Environment Minister Tony Burke's decision is due any day.

Submissions on the draft Public Environmental Report for Caloundra South are due on Friday the 28th of December.

 The PER process is the last statutory opportunity the community has to make their views about this proposed development heard. SCEC has reviewed the documents and prepared a detailed submission, a summary of the submission is repeated below. We encourage everyone to make a submission on this important topic (submissions should be emailed to [email protected]).

The Caloundra South project proposes to construct a new community of around 50,000 people in the area between Pelican Waters and the Bruce Highway and Caloundra Road and Bells Creek Road. The site is ex pine plantation and has lost most of its environmental values to previous land use but it is located in the catchment of the Pumicestone Passage, an internationally protected wetland. Development of the site will occur progressively over the next 30 years.

Water quality has always been the primary concern for the development. SCEC has commissioned an independent review of the water quality modelling presented in the PER. The review was conducted by Mr. Alan Hoban of Bligh Tanner. His report can be read here.

Summary of the SCEC submission:

Development of Caloundra South is difficult given the size and scope of the proposed development and the environmental constraints of the site, in particular its close proximity to the Ramsar listed Pumicestone Passage.

The feasible alternative section does not seriously analyse or consider scenario number 2 (undertaking a lower density development). This is a significant omission given the importance of water quality and the challenges in achieving an appropriate standard in water quality. Fewer people and more open spaces could lead to significantly less pollutant loads in storm water. This should have been quantified.

Another scenario should be included in the feasible alternative section that examines the impact of building of the ground multi story homes (rather than slab on ground single story ones). This could significantly reduce the amount of earthworks required and increase the amount of open space reducing storm water run off.

The PER proposes a 'no worsening' objective for water quality. Given that the Pumicestone Passage is not currently meeting the water quality objectives set out in the Qld Environmental Protection Policy (EPP Water) for the area this objective will not protect the ecological values of the Pumicestone Passage. The objective for water quality should be that water coming of the site meets the numerical values of the  EPP Water- a standard determined by science as being required to protect the natural environment in the Passage.

The independent review commission by SCEC has identified a number of issues with storm water treatment strategy. These issues need to be further investigated and resolved prior to finalisation of the PER.

Interaction between storm water treatment infrastructure and groundwater has not been addressed in the PER.  This issue needs to be further investigated and included in the final version of the PER.

The commitment to revegetation of the Environmental Protection Zone (EPZ) and the establishment of ecological connectivity corridors is warmly welcomed. The commitment to enhance regional ecosystems by reestablishment of appropriate habitat (expressed in the conservation and revegetation strategy) should be made more prominent in the PER.  Opportunities to support locally significant flora and fauna should be pursued.

All remnant vegetation in the corridors and EPZ should be retained and remnant vegetation across the site should be retained to the greatest extent possible. All mature trees should remain on site. Where it cannot be avoided that mature trees are cleared they should be left intact as much as possible and moved to the EPZ or corridors to ensure there habitat values are not lost completely.

A community educations strategy should be developed to inform future residents of the ecological values of the area, the environmental initiatives that are undertaken as part of the development and to promote sustainable enjoyment of the community and wider environment.

All environmental monitoring data associated with the development should be made available to the wider community online.

Approval of the development should establish a staged approval regime whereby the commencement of each subsequent stage is dependent on compliance all relevant  environmental conditions and legislation. Each next stage of the development should be informed by the lessons learned from previous stages about storm water treatment, energy & water efficiency, revegetation etcetera.