ONE of Australia's largest sand mines is being proposed for a massive parcel of rural cane land west of the Sunshine Motorway at Coolum.
The proposal is for part of a 500ha site designated as a Key Resource Area by the State Government in October, 2013.
Development giant Consolidated Properties has confirmed if successful it would seek the contract to supply sand for fill to the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion.
It said tree felling activities onsite now under way were part early works construction, ahead of plans to submit a sand mining application in the coming weeks.
"The proposed sand mine will generate much needed jobs on the Sunshine Coast," a spokesperson said.
"It will be one of Australia's largest sand mines and will be a significant boost to the local economy.
"We understand confusion was sparked as mining rigs and large scale machinery started assembling onsite from today."
Do you want to see a sand mine in Coolum?
This poll ended on 12 July 2017.
Yes, it will mean more jobs for the Coast
No, the environmental impact will be too great.
Let's just see if it even gets approved first
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
The developer made a submission to the latest SEQ Planning Scheme review seeking urban development of 100ha of the land holding, but the spokesperson said the company was no longer pursuing the proposal.
The spokesperson said Consolidated Properties understood there was no appetite for change to the planning provisions for the Coolum West land.
"That has recently become evident," she said. "It has left us with no alternative but to exercise our current rights under the KRA provisions."
That appears a clear indication the final SEQ Regional Plan will continue to protect flood plain cane land from urban development.
"The first stage of the sand mining application will cover the southern end to our KRA boundaries, where we have identified just over 10 million cubic metres of possible extraction where 5.7 million cubic metres is of high grade sand," the spokesperson said.
"After 15 years of holding the land and exploring a range of different planning outcomes we now need to see a commercial return for our investment and the KRA designation allows for this sand mining venture."
The spokesperson said Consolidated Properties was working with stakeholders and the community to listen to their concerns and work with them to deliver this much needed industry to the local economy.
Sunshine Coast Environment Council spokesperson Narelle McCarthy said she was aware of the site's Key Resource Area designation but had thought it was focused on an urban development proposal.
Ms McCarthy said SCEC did not support sand mining because the site was flood-prone, low-lying, contained acid sulphate soils and was in close proximity to Coolum Creek Conservation Park and the gateway to the central Sunshine Coast.
She said SCEC was also opposed to urban development on any cane land.
"We are yet to see the final SEQ Regional Plan," Ms McCarthy said.
"But in the draft there is no change from rural. We are pleased the draft rightly recognised the cane lands as rural.