A leading residential developer has started the process to get environmental approval to build on a giant parcel of land on the southern Sunshine Coast.
Stockland will seek consent for the site, dubbed Aura South, which is directly adjacent to its award-winning masterplanned community Aura.
It’s positioned within the Halls Creek Potential Future Growth Area.
The area has been recognised by the State Government as an option to accommodate future population growth and meet the region’s demand for long-term housing needs.
The site is a cleared former pine plantation landholding spanning 1231 hectares (3041 acres).
It would have direct access to the soon-to-be-opened Bells Creek Arterial Road and the Bruce Highway.
The site is situated between 1.6km to 6km east of the Bruce Highway and would not be visible to any highway traffic.
Submitting Aura South for independent environmental assessment by the Commonwealth is the first step in assessing the site’s environmental impacts and suitability for future development.
There will also be opportunities for community involvement.
The Commonwealth’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act provides the legal framework to assess the proposed impact the application may have on matters of national environmental significance.
Stockland senior environment and community development manager Mark Stephens says large parts of Aura South were cleared for forestry activities about 50 years ago and are now primarily used for grazing purposes.
Extensive environmental investigations have been undertaken on the site for more than 15 years, which has informed the application Stockland has submitted to the Federal Government.
“We have submitted a balanced and sustainable proposal which will ensure environmental protections are secured in advance of any future detailed planning,” Mr Stephens says.
“The EPBC is a rigorous and scientific-based assessment that includes several opportunities for the community to have their say.”
Mr Stephens says the land is highly suitable to be considered for development, given it is elevated, largely flood free and can leverage the significant investment undertaken by the government for roads and schools, as well as taking advantage of the existing amenities in the neighbouring suburb of Aura.
The site is located about 1.5km north of the ShapingSEQ Regional Inter-Urban Break – a 16km green buffer separating the urban areas of Caboolture and the Sunshine Coast.
“We recognise the Inter-Urban Break, which is identified in the 2017 SEQ Regional Plan, and the Aura South proposal does not impact upon this in any way,” Mr Stephens says.
If approved for future development, more 400 hectares of the land is planned to be rehabilitated, which will restore environmental values lost during the forestry era.