Update on recent developments in the Sippy Downs local area.
I have received a few enquiries via social media and subsequent emails to my office regarding recent clearing and development activity within the Sippy Downs area. Specifically I refer to two blocks of land, one being on the corner of Sippy Downs Drive and Stringybark Road and the other being next the Police Station on Sippy Downs Drive.
As many of you would already know, the Sippy Downs Town Centre has been in the planning stage since the early 2000’s as recognised in the previous Maroochy Planning Scheme. Since then, the goal of delivering a University Town has been reinforced by the introduction of the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014. Both of these Planning Schemes have been widely publicised and consulted on during their development phases before being adopted by council.
The vision over the last 18 years has been to see the creation of a University Town centred around the University of the Sunshine Coast which would ultimately provide for a mix of opportunities for people to live close by to services whilst also offering employment opportunities for locals.
Over the early years we have seen a very slow movement of development with mostly the implementation of a Police Station and major upgrades to old single lane roads around Sippy Downs Drive to the tune of $20+ million.
In recent years we have seen things move a lot faster with the construction of a Coles supermarket, residential buildings opposite Siena Catholic College and the positive reinforcement of job opportunities by way of securing the global headquarters of Youi Insurance right here in our own backyard.
Future and upcoming developments include a second fuel station location, an RSL, a tavern, additional residential and other retail/commercial uses.
From my point of view it is important for us to consolidate development and stop the rollout of major Greenfield estates by allowing densities and people to live within our existing communities close by services as described above. Giving students the opportunity to live, shop and work close to the University is important in reducing the amount of cars on the road network whilst also connecting them with improved public transport in our area.
Continuing to allow widespread and disconnected developments from our centres will only increase traffic and the need for infrastructure on a wider basis.
The delivery of the above plan and continued spend on infrastructure is a key objective for council and will continue to receive my support as it has over the years.
Before I close on the points above, it should be noted that there are several major projects on the go to aid in improving the place we live and to assist in dealing with population growth and congestion. Some of these projects being delivered or planned for are:
- The upgrade of the Stringybark Road pedestrian bridge. This year I secured and installed $80,000 in LED lights to improve safety for access after-hours. My next objective is to provide a new dedicated walkway to improve connectivity and safety. This project is currently being planned for and will cost in the vicinity of $2 million.
- The final stage of the Sippy Downs Drive 4 laning project will see council spend over a total of $20 million in road improvements to the area. This last leg of the project will take the 4 lanes from outside Siena Catholic College and deliver a full upgrade to University Way to cope with current and future traffic volumes.
- The current $1 billion Caloundra to Sunshine Motorway upgrade being delivered by the State and Federal Government to 6 lane the Bruce Highway, improve traffic flow and will connect Sippy Downs with off-road cycling facilities. Another huge but necessary project which couldn’t come soon enough. This project also fixes the dangerous Wilson’s Road give-way which is widely known as a major hazard.
- The Sippy Downs Parks Master Plan which will guide the delivery of over $8 million worth of improvements over several years. I know this sounds like it may take some time, but I’m already planning to spend $200,000 starting July 1 this year to start upgrading local parks with the things locals asked for during the consultation period. Over the years I would like to see council step up its funding and deliver further on this project just as it has on the Buderim Village Park which has received millions in funds to deliver a great park for that community. We need the same types of facilities here in Sippy Downs and the Master Plan will assist in achieving the infrastructure for our community.
- Scholars Drive parking and traffic. From July 1, I will be making a budget announcement in conjunction with our State MP, Brent Mickelberg, to up the fight for the State Government to step in to fix traffic and parking issues around their State School. For those of you who don’t know, the State Government plan to increase student numbers at Chancellor State School and our council has asked them how they intend to fix existing issues before increasing numbers. We are yet to receive a response, but we will continue to raise the issue and work towards a solution. Keep an eye on this as we will be making an announcement in the coming weeks to shift some positive focus on solutions.
As always, more things are happening behind the scenes than you know. I am always focussed on getting things done and I hope the above shows my commitment and that of council’s towards making a positive difference in our community.
103 Sippy Downs Drive – Corner of Sippy Downs Drive and Stringybark Road (next to Coles)
The site at 103 Sippy Downs Drive has an existing approval for a subdivision to establish 5 management lots (5 new lots from 1 existing lot) and the roads required by the Sippy Downs Local Plan code (new roads into the development to improve traffic).
The site is located within the Town Centre Core sub precinct of the Sippy Downs Local Plan area. This lot must facilitate the outcomes sought by the Sippy Downs Town Centre Master Plan which includes components of the road network for the town centre. This includes part of Central Drive and its intersection with Stringybark Road as well as the frontage works to Mawson Street which is the current entry road to Coles. The requirement to deliver the roads has been imposed through conditions on the subdivision approval which obligates the developer to deliver these at their cost.
In terms of land uses for this site, there are a number of uses that are consistent with the intent of the Sippy Downs Local Plan Code for this zone. This includes retail shops, offices, food and drink outlets, health care services, educational establishments, hotel, bar and supermarket. This precinct supports a number of other uses where developed in accordance with the Sippy Downs Local Plan Code, which identifies the design criteria and built form outcomes required for all development throughout the town centre. It is important to note that any development is required to be mixed use and include a residential component in order to integrate people into the town centre so the area doesn’t become a ghost town after business hours.
The works occurring on the site at the moment including vegetation removal and earthworks are in accordance with an Operational Works approval.
The developer has been required to comply with strict environmental controls to minimise disturbance in the local area and ensure that any erosion does not impact on waterways. A fauna spotter catcher was employed by the contractor and the developer has been required to provide vegetation offsets for the clearing. This ultimately means that any tree removed is generally replaced by several others at a specified location determined by council. Typically the aim is to revegetate wildlife corridors and vacant sites across the region in lieu of such clearing that is occurring at Sippy Downs. Council will ensure that the development conditions are complied with during the construction time.
The plans can be found by clicking on this link: REC17/0054
227-237 Sippy Downs Drive – Next to the Police Station
The site beside the Sippy Downs Police Station, 227-237 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs has an approval for a Caltex Service Station, McDonalds and a KFC. This approval was granted in 2016 and was widely advertised and engaged on by locals at the time. Obviously having the site recently cleared has sparked conversation and enquiry on the matter. It is important to note that whilst council controls the type of land use (fuel station and food outlets) we don’t have any control about who or what goes into these spaces. Whether or not we see a shell service station, BP, McDonalds or KFC is entirely up to the developer.
The plans can be found by clicking on this link: MCU16/0111
Council is actively working with partners in known problem areas such as in proximity to the University of Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, and has:
- Completed the installation of wildlife signage works on Sippy Downs Drive in 2016.
- Removed roadside vegetation in problem areas to improve visibility of kangaroos in 2017
- Delivered education programs at USC
- Progressing the installation of more prominent kangaroo signage in proximity to USC
- Is investigating the suitability and effectiveness of acoustic wildlife deterrent fencing
- Financially contributed to USC student led research into kangaroos on the Sunshine Coast as recently as 2015 and 2016, with further research planned for 2018/19.
- Council adopted the Environment and Liveability Strategy in September 2017, recognising that liveability and the region’s natural assets are key priorities for Council and the community.
- Council continues to expand and (importantly) connect priority habitat areas through the Environment Levy land acquisition program. I am pleased to advise that Council’s Environment Levy Program has to date funded 80 land acquisitions securing 3,434ha of land for environmental purposes.
- Council is also working with over 1,000 Land for Wildlife landholders who are collectively protecting over 7,500 hectares of habitat. The Sunshine Coast Land for Wildlife program has been recognised as one of the most successful in the country and is due to the collaborative effort between Council and landholders involved.
- In recognition of the valuable service provided by wildlife carers across the Sunshine Coast, Council currently provides $90,000 through the Environment Levy Partnerships Program in support of five wildlife care groups including Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors.
I trust that the above assists in bringing you up to date on the most recent developments occurring in Sippy Downs.
If you wish to discuss any of the above matters please email me directly at work via Christian.Dickson@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au. Unfortunately your comments can sometimes be missed on social media due to the large amount of daily interactions and a quick email to my office will ensure you receive a reply.
Cr Christian Dickson
Division 6 Councillor
Sunshine Coast Council