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Church says no immediate plans to develop Alex Head site

Plans show the layout for 318 new units to be built by the Uniting Church at Alexandra Headland.
Plans show the layout for 318 new units to be built by the Uniting Church at Alexandra Headland. Contributed

UPDATE: The Uniting Church says its application to build 318 units at Alexandra Headland came about as a way to protect the value of its near 10-hectare property.

It has responded to a story which detailed its successful application to Sunshine Coast Council to develop a bushy block at the end of Mari St.

The application, which was approved last week, said the church would knock down its Alexandra Headland Conference Centre as well as about 1.7 hectares of significant vegetation to build the units as well as associated roads and firebreaks.

Uniting Church Queensland Synod moderator Reverend David Baker issued a one-line statement on Friday afternoon.

"The Uniting Church has no plans to act on the development application approval at this time," Rev Baker said.

An article published in the church's online magazine, Journey, in November last year gave further insight into the reasons behind the development application.

An aerial view shows the Alexandra Headland site where development approval has been granted to build 318 new units
An aerial view shows the Alexandra Headland site where development approval has been granted to build 318 new units Contributed

It said rezoning of the area by the council from medium density to community purposes had been the catalyst for significant questions to be raised about the future use of the Alexandra Headland Conference Centre site.

The article quoted the Synod's Finance and Property Services director Peter Cranna.

"The impact of rezoning to the value of the property-in the region of a $5 to 7 million loss-was significant enough for the Finance, Investment and Property board to consider its options to protect the value of the property," Mr Cranna said.

"We engaged with town planners and discovered there was a mechanism to lodge a development application under the old town plan.

"As long as it met the old town plan's rules and constraints it would be approved as a code assessable application, which means that community consultation was not a requirement."

The article said the development application was estimated to have brought a positive $10-15 million difference in the value of the site.

It said options other than development were also possible.

"Selling it will be considered, but that is least preferred at this stage," Mr Cranna said.

"Unless there is a really good reason to sell, I don't think that would be the option adopted.

"There's no question that if we do sell the site we'll never get something like it back again, close to the beach and with all the benefits that brings.

Plans show areas (in red) where trees and vegetation will be cleared from the Uniting Church's Alexandra Headland property should it proceed with its approved application to build 318 new units.
Plans show areas (in red) where trees and vegetation will be cleared from the Uniting Church's Alexandra Headland property should it proceed with its approved application to build 318 new units. Contributed


"It's covering the costs of holding the land, it's contributing to the Mission and Service Fund and it's making a profit to maintain its current infrastructure on the land it's on.

"That is sufficient to say it should continue as is, without a whole lot of pressure being put on it until we can determine a better purpose."

EARLIER: A MASSIVE unit development will replace a Coast conference centre after gaining Sunshine Coast Council approval.

The Uniting Church of Australia will build 318 two-bedroom units on a bushy 9.9 hectare block in Alexandra Headland.

Meetings between its developers and the council started more than two years ago, with approval for the project confirmed late last week.

The land at the end of Mari St currently holds the Alexandra Headland Conference Centre, which will be demolished.

About 1.7 hectares of "significant vegetation" is set to be cleared for unit blocks, new roads and fire breaks to be built.

"Revegetation is proposed to offset the removal of significant/remnant vegetation and once established will equate to approximately 71.1% retention of the total area of 4.49ha of... significant vegetation and regulated remnant vegetation," an ecological report read.

Some of the church's block will be donated to the council for environmental park purposes.

The Uniting Church has been contacted for comment.

 

The Alexandra Headland Conference Centre.
The Alexandra Headland Conference Centre. Stuart Cumming

Topics:  alexandra headland clearing development sunshine coast sunshine coast council trees uniting church units



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