'We have proof community supports Sekisui'
THE developers behind a controversial beachfront project at Yaroomba claim they have proof the community supports their proposal.
Sekisui House says surveys of more than 1000 people found "majority support" for the project.
That result is in stark contrast to a poll conducted by opponents of the plan, who late last year claimed independent polling had found overwhelming opposition.
The proposed development includes five 10-storey buildings, 1470 apartments and 3000sq m of retail space.
A ReachTEL poll commissioned last year by opponents of the project found only 15.4% of respondents supported the development of a building to 12 storeys at Yaroomba, with 46.5% opposed.
A further 18.9% were opposed, with another 19.2% declaring they did not know.
But Sekisui House senior development manager Evan Aldridge said 64% of people surveyed by the company were initially either supportive or neutral.
"In spite of all the noise being made by anti-development groups on the Coast, just one third (33%) were opposed to the development," Mr Aldridge said.
"After residents were told about the potential benefits of the development, levels of support grew, with 74% of residents either supportive (50%) or neutral (24%).
"Opposition dropped to 26%."
Mr Aldridge said the figures came from a phone survey of 400 residents "representative of the Coast's age profile".
The remainder of its statistics were based on feedback from 648 people attending the company's community consultation sessions.
The initial feedback gathered at the community consultation sessions found 49% were either positive (18%) or neutral (31%), while 51% were opposed.
However, the Market Research Telephone Survey of 400 people conducted in November showed increasing support for the proposal.
"Supporters indicated tourism and residential development that would provide future jobs and economic benefits to the community would be highly valued," Mr Aldridge said.
He said a research firm had said the sample size of 400 people in the phone survey was "statistically accepted in a community the size of the Sunshine Coast".
The claims angered Ian Christesen, president of community group OSCAR which commissioned the original ReachTEL poll.
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He said it "defied belief" that community views could change so quickly and challenged Mr Aldridge to back his company's methodology.
"Four hundred people in a phone poll does not give a statistically valid result," he said.
"Plus, what was the question they asked?
"We polled 1100 people and have always been upfront about what questions were asked in our polling.
"The same can't be said for Sekisui and I think the community deserves to know."