When it comes to the environment, community and media attention seems to have focused mainly on the effects of turtle nesting at the Sekisui Yaroomba beach site.
However, there are many sustainability issues that emanate from the urbanised environment and these can be difficult to grasp because they have varied spatial and temporal parameters.
Spatially for example, since over 80% of the worlds population now live in urbanised areas, we are suddenly realising that most land development essentially destroys natural ecosystems. The Sekisui site was already used as golf course and rubbish tip from the former resort, but there are still delicate micro environments surrounding the site which must be preserved. This includes the frontal dunes and the parabolic dune and it would be easy to and it would be easy to protect and promote these as an eco- tourism feature. This has been a highly successful strategy at other resorts like Kingfisher Bay.
We are also just waking up to the fact that the urbanised environments become, then over time they also become inherently unhealthy and unsafe for humans. Roads are some of the most dangerous spaces in our societies, cities suck up a disproportionate amount of resources, they alter water tables and local climate conditions, and waste streams are not sustainable, to name a few. However, all of this is quantifiable and many of these problems can be resolved with good design.
So to develop any new urbanised site today, as large as the Sekisui precinct, and create a tourism feature as well, requires not just business as usual development.
For the precinct to operate effectively into the future, both economically and sustainably, it will need to be an exemplar of environmental efficiency. That’s a big ask, but it’s technically achievable and, if the will is there, it could be quite an exciting challenge.
Adrian Just is a registered architect at Yaroomba. He is |Sunshine Coast chairman for the Australian Institute of Architects and is a member of Sunshine Coast Council Cultural Heritage Reference Group. His firm has designed 25 townhouses for Sekisui House.