In the late 1980’s, Hervey Bay City Council gave approval to develop the final stage of Turtle Cove consisting of a resort, comprising a championship 18 hole golf course and 108 units. This 114 hectares parcel of coastal land (including the clay pan, a Queensland Government acknowledged ‘critical high tide/king tide roost for migratory shore birds’) is adjacent to the Great Sandy Straits Marine Park, which is nominated as Ramsar wetland. The land in question is believed to have been purchased by Anscape Pty Ltd in 2003. Turtle Cove was zoned by Council initially as Park Residential (low density coastal residential with a mandatory minimum allotment size of 2000m2). Most, if not all property in the Turtle Cove estate was marketed, sold and purchased with the proposed development clearly articulated. A notice and drawing of the proposed development is still displayed on the billboard at the end of Haveena Road. (Please note that any size golf course development has not been and will not be approved by the Commonwealth Government due to its proximity to the Ramsar Wetland.)
In mid-2013 the developer proposed to change the development concept to a 9 hole golf course and a ‘closed community Retirement Village’ with 450 independent living units (ILU’s), and commercial and recreational precincts. This proposal was strongly opposed by the River Heads community on environmental and social impact grounds, with 320 (over 80%) of the then 380 Turtle Cove households signing a petition that was submitted to both Local and State Government authorities. Due to the high environmental values of the site and adjoining surrounds a referral, required under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act), was made by Anscape Pty Ltd to the Commonwealth Government. The Queensland State Government reply which is included under its own Website Tab, provides a very clear understanding and insight of the environmental values we have right on our doorstep. In December 2013, this EPBC Referral No. 2013/7038 became a controlled action (covering Wetland of International Importance, Threatened Species, and Migratory Birds) to be assessed by a Public Environment Report submitted by Anscape Pty Ltd.
On 7 December 2017 Anscape Pty Ltd advertised the release of the draft Public Environmental Report including a significant variation to the 2013 proposal, giving the public the required 20 business days to lodge submissions and objections. It was readvertised a week later due to some anomalies in the previous advertisement. An extension of the public consultation period to 25 January 2018 was obtained from the Commonwealth Government. You can find (and download) the full draft Public Environment Report at https://turtle-cove.com/page/
In summary, the new Anscape Pty Ltd proposal now excludes the golf course, but includes:
- 500 ILU’s of unspecified style, standard or construction on Leasehold sites, and incorporating a business model for Commonwealth funded rental assistance.
- Medical precinct with an aged care facility for 120 residents.
- Village town square with additional commercial and recreational precincts.
- Hotel or tavern with accommodation facilities for guests and visitors.
- Aboveground standalone sewage treatment plant and retention pond adjacent to and upwind of existing residential areas (>60 residences already lie within an arc of 45O and 500m downwind from this proposed site).
- 10 megawatt solar power ‘farm’ (where a 9 hole golf course was originally proposed).
- Extensive areas for parking, including extensive ‘hard standing’, for the long term storage of boats, caravans and motorhomes.
Many residents believe that, apart from serious environmental impact and risk, the proposed development poses a significant impact on and risk to the local community. The amenity of the local area, including existing infrastructure such as roads and traffic control, will be altered and may affect property values. If you are unaware of this proposed development it may be because you are not on the River Heads Progress Association (RHPA) mailing list.
A Sub-Committee of the RHPA has been formed and has coordinated a formal community response, see Full report and summary under the Community Response Tab. Both the report and summary have been sent to all Fraser Coast Regional Council Councillors and our State and Commonwealth Government members of parliament late January 2018.
On 23rd January 2018, Fraser Coast Regional Council sent Anscape Pty Ltd an information request seeking information on Land Use, Social Impact, Commercial Centre hierarchy, Traffic Impact, Water Supply, Staging , Effluent Treatment, Design Elements and Biting Midge Report. Letter is available under the Fraser Coast Regional Council Application tab.
The River Heads Action Group lodged a petition with the Commonwealth Government in March 2018 seeking the acquisition of the property by the Crown and this was tabled to the House of Representatives 21 May 2018. Minister of Environment and Energy has 90 days to respond to the petition.
Community meeting held 5 June 2018 to outline required process to make a submission to the FCRC development application and a briefing outlining how the development will affect the community.
FCRC Community Response period closed 18 June 2018. RHAG made two part submission which is included under Community Response.
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