As the first residents began to move into the brand new Peregian Breeze Estate just outside the Southern edge of Noosa Shire in late 2015 and early 2016, there was a lot of talk about a walking/cycle path soon to be built connecting them to the sand of Peregian Beach just 1.5 kilometres away.
This word of mouth was encouraged, anecdotally by some agents, and by talk of the developer’s contribution – albeit a paltry one – of $250,000 towards the walkway. It must be happening, right?
Eight years later, a walk to the beach still ends abruptly at an 80 kph connector, Emu Mountain Road, with kids attempting to walk or ride scooters precariously to the beach on the road verge with traffic whizzing past inches away.
The 399 homes in the 33-hectare Peregian Breeze Estate are still waiting for their beach connection and for those optimistic rumours to become reality.
Thanks largely to the efforts of the local Sunshine Coast Councillor Maria Suarez there is light at the end of this tunnel. Planners have now figured the safest option is not to cross that busy connector road, but instead to build the walkway on Noosa Council land on the Northern side of Emu Mountain Road.
The latest estimate for this pathway of less than one kilometre is $3-million, 12 times the developer ‘contribution’ promised nearly a decade earlier.
That’s what 690 metres of concrete pathway and another 175 metres of boardwalk costs in 2023 dollars, and it’s rising rapidly.
That money will come, hopefully, from the State Government and Sunshine Coast Council, and – here’s the tricky bit – then it will be up to Noosa Council to pay the ongoing costs of the walkway – even though it’s being built for residents of the Sunshine Coast Council.
It will still be another year – July 2024 – before locals know whether the project is given grant funding, and construction…well, sometime after that, perhaps.
For Noosa, the next challenge to negotiate on this Southern boundary of the shire will be a similarly sized triangle of land near Murdering Creek, owned by the giant developer Stockland. This is NOT zoned for residential development, and is expected to be opposed by a Noosa Council that stands by its Planning Scheme.
From a residents’ perspective, some councils are notoriously naive when it comes to negotiating developer contributions to infrastructure, particularly when developments are ‘land-banked’ for a decade or more in the future while ‘contributions’ shrink in real terms to become almost meaningless.
And for those buying in new estates, there’s a simple rule. Don’t believe rumours about future amenities and infrastructure unless they’re backed up by maps, plans and an iron-clad guarantee.