Noosa Springs residents who oppose the building of a 106-bed luxury hotel resort close to their estate have challenged the validity of a survey conducted by the developer and presented to Council .
Golden Horse Properties, owners of the Noosa Springs Golf and Spa resort which wants to build the ‘boutique’ hotel, claims that its recent survey of owners indicates that the majority are in favour of the application.
In a newsletter sent to owners and members, the developer said the survey results showed that “… more than 70 percent had expressed either full support, or raised no objection, to the proposed development going ahead.”
A personal letter in support from Alan Starkey, whose family developed and then ran Noosa Springs Golf and Spa Resort until 2014, was also sent to Council in advance of its deliberations this month.
But John Cochrane, speaking on behalf of some affected residents, has questioned the scope, methodology and results of the survey, claiming the questionnaire was poorly designed, had a statistically unreliable sample size and produced unsubstantiated conclusions. He has also alleged that “dubious accounting” had skewed the outcomes.
“There was no objectivity or third-party involvement in the process,” he said. “It was, however, conducted by a company with a huge financial interest in the outcome of the material change of use application currently before Noosa Council. An application that this survey supports, and which Councillors have unanimously rejected.”
Golden Horse withdrew the application just ahead of the General Meeting of Council on July 17 when it was expected to be rejected. One councillor said that it “did not meet community expectations and values and conflicted with the Noosa plan”. Cr. Amelia Lorentson also said that the plan had the potential to expose ratepayers, Noosa Council and Unity water to financial and reputational risks.
Opponents say the proposed hotel is too close to the Noosa Sewage Treatment Plant, is overdeveloped on the site, outside the Urban Growth boundary in the Noosa Plan and provides an unacceptable impact on local residents.
Despite serious objections raised by Councillors previously, the developer has not modified the application.
This week the developers made a change to their application, effectively putting it hold and delaying any final vote until a future meeting.