Grasstree Court, Sunrise Beach is a name that goes into the history of Noosa Shire for all the wrong reasons.
The developer, Blue Care, obviously has no concern that it’s development will irreversibly destroy the scarce habitat of an endangered species, the Glossy Black Cockatoo.
The site is within Noosa Council’s Designated Bushfire Prone Area and is bordered by vegetated areas on three sides – north, west and south – including the Noosa National Park.
Blue Care, in 2011, were granted an approval by the pro-development Sunshine Coast Regional Council for an overdeveloped residential aged care (RAC) and retirement living facility. The fact that development only commenced in 2022, shows that it was not justifiable on the basis of need when it was approved.
The RAC is a 102 bed facility and the retirement component consists of 54 two-bedroom apartments and 51 independent living units. All of the residents will be elderly and many will have mobility and other health issues, especially those in the RAC facility.
The 2019, Peregian Beach bushfire started at Peregian Springs at 4:30pm but by 7:00pm required the evacuation of residents of Peregian Beach because of the speed and intensity of the wind driven fire.
The property damage which occurred at Peregian Beach was on the eastern side of David Low Way with the fire front on the western side, and was caused by ember and firebrand attack and fire driven wind. The entire area was also significantly affected by smoke.
The vegetation area in which the Peregian Beach fire spread is very similar to the areas surrounding the Blue Care site.
A similar bushfire at the Blue Care site may not allow early evacuation of the vulnerable residents the day ahead or even hours ahead of the danger.
It could see fire emergency vehicles accessing the site from Grasstree Court at the same time that residents with mobility and other health conditions are being evacuated by ambulance and taxis using the same narrow Grasstree Court.
Evacuating the 102 bed RAC facility will not be easy for staff or residents. Residents with private vehicles in the retirement living facility wanting to leave the site by Grasstree Court will create a further problem.
With the entire area subject to smoke and ember attack, it’s easy to imagine the resulting chaos at Grasstree Court and the intersection with Ben Lexcen Drive, where parents may also be evacuating pupils.
In this very plausible scenario, Blue Care would be responsible for threatening the habitat of another endangered species, this time human.