Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Questions over $100K Discount; 'Unique' Agnes Water Resort Gets Green Light

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Questions over $100K Discount; 'Unique' Agnes Water Resort Gets Green Light

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Harris

GLADSTONE Regional Council has approved a $101,000 infrastructure discount on a "unique" nature-based tourism resort at Agnes Water despite being advised against it.

The proponent, Zone Planning Group, had its original development application approved in 2017 but the application has since undergone numerous amendments.

One amendment related to Gladstone Regional Council's Infrastructure Charges Economic Development Incentive Scheme Policy.

The policy was adopted in July last year and allows a 50 per cent discount on development applications which "deliver economic development and growth outcomes that align with council's Economic Development Strategy and Planning Scheme".

The policy allows a maximum concession value of up to $500,000 and comes with set criteria. The proponent failed to meet two of the three criteria.

However, despite not meeting the prerequisites of the policy, the council agreed on the discount due to the development being a "unique application".

The two criteria the proponent failed to meet related to the timing of the application, and that it needed to be within a Priority Infrastructure Area.

The proposed 74-site eco-resort would feature bungalow-style accommodation built across three stages on land at 2546 Round Hill Rd.

The biggest issue facing councillors involved the location - 1.8km from the nearest boundary of the PIA.

Cr Kahn Goodluck raised concerns about giving a ratepayer subsidy to a development outside of the priority area, although acting mayor Chris Trevor argued that "it's for eco-tourism, not a shopping centre".

"My argument ... is that it's an eco-tourism enterprise and from my view, after reading the documentation, is that it will have a minimal impact on our infrastructure because it's being built in the bush," Cr Trevor said during Tuesday's meeting. …

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