Christmas lights ban aimed at protecting turtles
EXTERNAL Christmas lighting would be banned, street lighting dimmed, all stairwells enclosed and windows facing the beach shielded as part of onerous conditions attached to Sunshine Coast Council's approval of the proposed Sekisui House, Yaroomba, development.
The conditions seek to protect endangered turtles who nest on the beach annually, and their hatchlings, from disorientation by lighting and the physical impacts
Decision notices which would provide the extent of conditioning placed on the controversial intensify resort and residential development, have yet to be sent to the more than 11,000 submitters to the proposal including 9288 who objected.
The council would return to the Planning and Environment Court on September 18, to seek relief from Sustainable Planning Act requirements that it should have delivered them by August 20 but failed to do so because of the cost and logistics involved.
However Right To Information documents, obtained by Coolum and North Shore Coast Care, have revealed the degree of concern held by both a turtle expert engaged by the council and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science about the development's impact.
The Department of Environment and Science concluded that if constructed to the design standards contained in the Sekisui development application, the proposed lighting concept would "add substantially to an already excessive light spill from existing development in the vicinity of Yaroomba Beach”.
It rejected the lighting concept "due to inadequate research and proposed actions”.
"It presents misinformation regarding turtle biology and their response to lighting and it does not provide a positive constructive response to reducing the lighting impacts from a large development to a minimal level,” the department found.
"The authors have not adequately addressed the cumulative effect of large numbers of lights associated with a development in negatively impacting on ocean finding behaviour,” the department found.
"The authors have failed to produce the evidence to support the claims regarding the presumed
effectiveness of the lighting concept. The research and proposal is considered inadequate.”
Development project manager Evan Aldridge lasy week said it was committed to meeting its obligations "in accordance with the development approval conditions issued by Council”.
Those require a post-construction "as built” audit by the council of all stages of the project to ensure performance as specified by the approval.
An education program for guests and residents has also been recommended