Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Council Is Accused of 'Hit and Miss' Operation on Art

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Council Is Accused of 'Hit and Miss' Operation on Art

Article excerpt

MILLIONS of dollars in costs are being imposed on Fraser Coast developers to provide public art within their projects but they have no clear direction about what they need to install or create.

In a hit and miss operation, the council is only charging some developers to pay the contribution - calculated at one per cent of the construction cost of projects for public art.

The council insists the policy complies with the 1993 Local Government Act.

But the Chronicle asked the council last week to explain if it needed to draft a policy, advertise the policy and adopt the policy.

The council replied it does not "collect charges towards public art".

"The developers spend the funds on public art at their developments.

"The council believes the policy and conditions are reasonable and relevant."

But Doug McKay, partner in Urban Planet Town Planning, said: "We've been pointing out the inadequacy and potential illegality of these charges.

"We believe the practice may be unlawful but this hasn't yet been tested."

Recently Hervey Bay's Centro stage 2 investors were hit with a $1.1 million "condition" for public art and the just-completed Ramada Resort was obliged to install expensive public art, choosing its foyer to feature it.

"Our members have raised this issue on a number of occasions and we understand that council is imposing this charge at times but not at other times," Daniel Poacher, chairman of the Fraser Coast branch of the Urban Development Institute of Australia, said.

"It is quite a burden on the viability of some projects.

"This obviously is a concern for the UDIA and its members in a time when we all need to be stimulating growth on the Fraser Coast."

Mr Poacher said he believed the policy was not a planning scheme policy but more of a policy directive for collection of the charges. …

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