Vital facts 'left out of report'
A CRITICAL Stockland report on its intended environmental management of the massive Caloundra South development has avoided addressing the biggest potential pollution risk associated with the project, according to the region's peak environmental group.
Sunshine Coast Environment Council, which represents 44 member groups and more than 300 individual members, argues that the developer has failed in its public environment report to the Federal Government to consider the construction-phase impact of the project that would eventually be home to 21,000 dwellings and 50,000 residents.
Submissions to the Stockland report closed yesterday afternoon.
The public environment report and submissions will be considered under the federal government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, the instrument that ultimately determined the fate of the Traveston Crossing Dam.
SCEC management committee member Trevor Lloyd, the architect of the South East Queensland Healthy Waterways report, said a thorough study of the site's capacity should have been done first rather than trying to "back-justify" a 50,000-population target that doubled the original figure.
In a peer review of the report's findings conducted for SCEC, Bligh Tanner consulting engineers found that water quality outcomes were highly dependent on the development being able to send all wastewater northwards for treatment and discharge to the ocean by an augmented or duplicated ocean outfall at Kawana.
"It is possible there will be significant community opposition to a new ocean outfall," the consultants said.
Construction will require anywhere from three million to nine million cubic metres of fill in an area that has a complex set of environmental constraints close to a Ramsar wetland.
The submission argued that the water quality impacts of construction-related activities had not been given due consideration.
"Preliminary estimates suggest the net total suspended solids and total phosphorus loads leaving the dev
elopment could be about 10 times higher than estimated by Stockland during the 30-year construction period, even if high-efficiency sediment basins were adopted," SCEC said.
Bligh Tanner consultants also were critical that water-quality outcomes proposed to be achieved by the development's stormwater management system, were benchmarked against the current degraded state of Pumicestone Passage.
The consultants found that the approach risked killing off any hope of significant future improvement to the water quality of the slow-flushing waterway through better control of all contributing factors within the catchment.
"Based on the findings of this review, it appears very difficult to achieve a no-worsening outcome by developing the Caloundra South site using traditional approaches to urban development, because the increase in stormwater run-off and associated pollutant loads is greater than can be mitigated using currently available technology," SCEC president Annie Nolan said.
In a formal response to Stockland's environment report SCEC said the first issue was still Caloundra South's unsuitability as a site to try and fit in as many people as proposed.
"Development of the site could result in positive impacts on the environment by restoring some of these natural values through revegetation of conservation and
riparian areas and improving the quality of water coming off the site," the SCEC submission said.
"Planning for the development has been taking place over a long period.
"However this process has largely been driven by social and economic considerations rather than environmental ones.
"Target population and dwelling figures, for example, have been determined without due consideration of the environmental constraints of the site and the carrying capacity of the site and adjacent waterways and wetlands."
SCEC has consulted directly with Stockland during the past two-and-a-half years, a collaborative approach that has seen the developer identify and resolve several environmental issues.
"Notwithstanding this, there are still a number of matters about which SCEC is deeply concerned," the submission said.
"In making this submission, SCEC is hopeful that those matters will be able to be discussed and resolved in the spirit of co-operation that has characterised discussions to date."