IT’S BACK TO YOU
THE Whitsunday community has a further 30 business days to comment on the council's draft town planning scheme, thanks to a motion moved yesterday by Deputy Mayor Andrew Willcox.
Cr Willcox said the council had listened to the public.
"Well, I certainly have and that's why I'm going for this - because I'd like to hear from them a bit more."
What was eventually passed at yesterday's council meeting was for the council to approve "version four" of the draft planning scheme, subject to amendments to building heights in certain precincts.
At Precinct C, the blocks between Shute Harbour Rd and Waterson Way, building heights were amended from 28m to 21m or from about eight to six storeys, with precincts D and F, the Magnums side of Shute Harbour Rd and Port of Airlie respectively, amended from 21m to 18m or from six storeys to five - with 18m the height of the existing Boathouse Apartments.
Cr Willcox said he realised this was quite different to the draft plan already put before the community, hence his reason for wanting further consultation.
"I know it's very controversial down there in the community, so I'd like to give them the chance to have a look at whether they're comfortable enough with this proposal," he said.
The motion was eventually passed by five votes to two, with Mayor Jennifer Whitney and councillor John Collins voting against it.
Cr Collins was particularly against the amendments affecting the area beside Waterson Way.
"We can look at this two ways," he said.
"We can go down as progressive councillors who made a decision to help the place progress a bit, or we can go down as fellows who were too frightened to make a move because there was an election coming up."
Meanwhile, Cr Whitney said the consultation would be no different to what had already been received.
"The consultation … that most of us sat through and listened to the other evening is exactly what has been the content within the submissions that you have before you that you should've taken the time to read," she said.
"And the outcomes that the planning department have recommended have taken all of those into consideration, and I believe personally that the community will be quite happy with where the planning scheme has taken us, because the reason why we asked... to go forward in this way was to create employment opportunities and growth opportunities, and with what we currently have down in Airlie Beach, with four or five storeys does not deliver.
"And to go back and cut this down, it is putting the nail in the coffin for the people.
"We as a council need to take a courageous step forward by looking after the whole of the region."
Planning director Dan Staley said the consultation would proceed as it did previously and as required.