Time runs out for huge Laguna plan

Published 12:19pm 13 July 2023

Time runs out for huge Laguna plan
Words by Nick Crockford

Plans for the huge Laguna development, in the heart of North Lakes, are now off the table – with new visions released for the 1.7 hectare site.

Moreton Bay Regional Council’s development lease with the company behind the Laguna, opposite Westfield North Lakes, has expired.

Changing economic conditions created a range of unforeseen impacts and the consortium behind the Laguna development sought to revise their development application.

However, they were unable to make an application that met Council’s requirements in the development lease timeframes.

Mayor Peter Flannery said it was an unfortunate situation, but presented an opportunity to consider “new design and sustainability principles reflective of a post-covid world”.

Time runs out for huge Laguna plan
The vacant block on North Lakes Drive which was to be home to Laguna

“It’s nearly a decade since the initial development discussions around this prized piece of real estate at 20-40 North Lakes Drive and a lot has changed in that time,” he said.

“Right now we need to construct 1000-plus hotel rooms just to meet demand - that’s the equivalent of eight new hotels - due to surging tourism demand!

“In 2021 alone Moreton Bay welcomed more than 4.3 million visitors, that’s double Noosa’s visitation.

“So, this a one-of-a-kind opportunity that’s ripe for transformative development and now Council’s taken control of the site we will be responsible for ensuring it is kept secure and our crews keep it mowed and maintained.

“In November last year we gave the green light to a new eco-hotel and five-storey wellness retreat in North Lakes. So I see huge potential here for a complementary development.”

Time runs out for huge Laguna plan
The eco-style hotel and wellness retreat planned for a block on Anzac Ave, Mango Hill

Cr Jodie Shipway (Div 4) said: “I think this is an opportunity to reset and rethink what is the best purpose and use of this site.

“Obviously there’s a huge need for short-term accommodation, but beyond that I’m interested to see what a new project could deliver for the community in terms public design elements to meet local expectations and ambitions?

“I love the landscape architecture at the Howard Smith Wharves, the way cyclists, restaurants, picnickers, musicians, and events interact around the same space surrounded by gardens and open space.

“I’d love to see that kind of thinking in the heart of North Lakes and I hope this announcement sparks a new conversation about what is possible here!”

Council officers are working on the new EOI process with a report expected to come to council in August 2023.

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