Development on the Sunshine Coast continued to show strong growth during the March 2015 Quarter, with $252 million in building approvals recorded.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said Sunshine Coast Council’s latest quarterly Development Indicator Report reflected the growing trend across the first three quarters of this financial year, with council giving the green light to $868 million in building approvals compared to $708 million for the same period last year.
“These figures highlight the degree to which confidence has rebounded on the back of our Regional Economic Development Strategy—which is all about new investment to create prosperity for our residents,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Steady and sustainable growth in development activity in the region is continuing, reversing the downturn during the global financial crisis between 2008 and 2012."
“Our focus, borne out in today’s report, is on providing new employment opportunities arising from the hospital development, the new Maroochydore CBD and the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion."
“The strong employment needs of these projects alone are helping to stimulate construction activity to provide more housing and commercial premises to support our economic growth."
The strong numbers come despite the Sunshine Coast council's rejection last week of planning scheme amendments to accommodate a major high-rise development at Yaroomba, near Coolum, proposed by Japanese developer Sekisui House.
Mr Jamieson said that as confidence grew, there had been sustained interest and development across a range of industries throughout the Sunshine Coast.
Strategic Planning Portfolio Councillor Christian Dickson said the report confirmed the growing optimism of the development industry, evidenced by the 43% increase in development applications compared to applications lodged in the same quarter in 2014.
“Strong and consistent growth across a range of measures confirms this is real growth and not just speculation,” Cr Dickson said.
“Going forward, confidence in the economy will continue to flourish but we still have a way to go.”
During the quarter, residential developments were approved in Little Mountain, Twin Waters, Buderim, Maroochydore and Forest Glen as well as commercial developments including a tourist attraction and resort complex at Glenview.
Higher order master plans for Kawana Health Precinct have been finalised and the broader Kawana area saw a number of developments progress, including a new display village on Birtinya Island, duplication of Lake Kawana Bridge and the start of construction of the Best Western Hotel opposite the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital.
More than 1800 lots have been made available since July 1, 2014. The January to March 2015 figure of 553 lots released is a significant 93% higher than the January to March 2014 figure of 286 lots.
Through the reconfiguration process, 517 lots were approved during the quarter, almost three times the number of those approved in the October to December 2014 quarter (176).
One hundred pre-lodgement meetings were held during the January to March 2015 quarter, representing the highest number of meetings delivered over any three month period.
Pre-lodgement meetings give customers an opportunity to ask questions and clarify requirements prior to lodging a development application and aim to improve the development application process.
The Development Indicator Reports are an important tool for measuring and comparing development activity on the Sunshine Coast.
HIA Branch Manager Stuart Collins said building and development activity had continued its resurgence in early 2015 on the back of a strong increase in detached housing and renovations.