By Cathy Moore.
Proposed high rise developments on the Yaroomba coastline threaten breeding of the endangered loggerhead turtle and deputy mayor Chris Thompson says their protection is “essential”.
The billion-dollar Sekisui House development includes a series of 10-storey hotels that will sit along 20ha of land bordering the ocean.
Cr Thompson said that the Council was sourcing information on turtle nesting sites and trends in local species.
“What we’re determined to do is protect that turtle vegetation irrespective of what developments happen where,” he said.
Coolum and North Shore Coast Care vice president Edwin Hannet said their biggest concern was for the area directly in front of the proposed area, which was a known breeding site for loggerhead turtles.
“If this development is approved we will get light spillage on the foreshore and it is a known fact that turtles don’t breed where light spills,” Mr Hannet said.
“Construction wouldn’t have an impact.”
Mr Hannet said turtles often return to their nesting sites and if the development were to continue there would be a concern for their homecoming to an industrial area.
“The higher density of people will also have an impact on the already fragile dunes,” he said.
Sea Turtle Conservancy said in an information sheet about loggerheads that one of the greatest threats was the loss of nesting habits due to coastal development.
Another is human disturbances, housing developments and predation of nests.
Mr Hannet says the Council would have to be “encouraged” to put in additional fencing and that development would put extra strain on volunteers.
Ongoing public rejection to the development of the high rise Sekisui House has postponed Council approval.
For two years a majority of Yaroomba locals have protested, signed petitions and strongly rejected all plans for the Sekisui development.
Locals have expressed a preference for building plans that meet with the town design but this has not been approved or rejected.
Mr Hannet says that a four-storey building that meets with the town scheme would reduce foot traffic, light spillage and “certainly” make a difference to wildlife quality.
Cr Thompson says the Council are aware that the community is desperate for a final answer and are acting “under statutory time frames”.
“I’m quite confident that we will arrive at the right decision,” he said.
A Special Council Meeting will be held this Monday at Caloundra Chambers to discuss the final result for the Sekisui House.