News

Long time landowner left in limbo by flood rules

WHAT NOW? John Maher ponders an uncertain future at his McMahon Rd block yesterday.
WHAT NOW? John Maher ponders an uncertain future at his McMahon Rd block yesterday. Patrick Woods

JOHN Maher does not know what to do.

Since 2008 he has been paying rates on a residential block he bought in 2008 and on which he would have then been entitled to build a house.

He could not afford to then, but can now.

Now, about $15,000 in rates later, he finds his picturesque building lock in McMahon Rd has been rezoned for more industrial uses and a new higher flood immunity standard has been imposed.

So he needs council permission to build a house, even though his is the last vacant block in a street full of houses.

Mr Maher wants to build a house which, according to the estimates, might be flooded every 50 years, a level described as Q50.

Council staff said "no," Planning Committee chairman Ian Petersen negotiated that to a "maybe" and then it was approved in a vote, five to four. Happy ending, you might think.

But Mr Maher did not have time to submit plans before coat councillor Mark McDonald moved a repeal motion and won.

Cr McDonald argued that the council had a moral and legal obligation to stick to the higher Q100 line, for the benefit of future buyers.

Cr Petersen disagreed and pointed out that the post-flood reconstruction of Bundaberg would not be possible if the same standard applied.

Mr Maher is also supported by the man who wrote the Gympie region town plan, Michael Hartley.

The former council planning director, now a private Gympie planning consultant, said council staff had misunderstood the rules.

They said state planning policy compelled them to apply the Q100 standard of flood immunity. They persisted with this belief despite legal advice from Gantt Legal, which Mr Hartley said backed Mr Maher's rights.

Staff say any house must have stumps so high his house would tower over the neighbourhood.

Mr Hartley said the council was wrong in law.

State planning policy did not "mandate a Q100 immunity for a new dwelling in an established residential area affected by flooding," Mr Hartley said.

Gympie Times

Topics:  gympie regional council



177 jobs filled in region, but is it a political ploy?

Gympie MP Tony Perrett.

Perrett dismisses 'manipulative' job subsidy boost

Positive signs show Gympie region economy on rise

GROWTH: Population and building growth has begun to bring positive economic signs for the region.

Gympie economy struggles out of recession

Rickard 'Dickie' Wilkins walks off set over hair comments

Comparing Richard Wilkins to a dinosaur? That ain't right.

“Maybe it’s Dickey’s hair!” Jeffreys announced.

Local Partners

Chelsea Handler blames the Kardashians for Donald Trump win

Chelsea Handler pictured in a scene from her talk show in Los Angeles.

TALK show host blames rise of reality TV family for election result.

Law & Order’s Trump inspired episode is still in limbo

The cast of Law & Order: SVU season 18, from left, Kelli Giddish, Raul Esparza, Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T and Peter Scanavino. Supplied by Channel 10.

SHOW'S mastermind unsure if or when twice-delayed episode will air.

50 Shades of Bli Bli: Adult theme park plans revealed

THE MIND BOGGLES: Potential buyers of Sunshine Castle at Bli Bli have considered a range of different themes, including an 'adult entertainment venue'.

Sunshine Castle looks to new, prosperous future.

Dating between the sheets on national TV?

Singles meet for the first time in their underwear in the SBS TV series Undressed.

NO shortage of singles willing to get Undressed with a stranger.

What's on the big screen this week

Dev Patel in a scene from the movie Lion.

ACCLAIMED Australian film Lion finally makes its domestic debut.

Ruby Rose's gruelling training regimen to get xXx ready

From left, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Rory McCann, and Vin Diesel in a scene from the movie xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.

AUSSIE stars opposite Vin Diesel in xXx: Return of Xander Cage.

Ipswich block of dirt sells for $582 a square metre

JUST SOLD: A property on the Brookwater golf course sold for a record-breaking $612,000.

Property smashed 2007 record by close to $100,000

Sunday auction for historical home

Former Catholic school sure to attract spirited bidding

Looking back, looking ahead in Noosa

NEVER-ENDING GLORY: Looking towards Laguna Bay and Hastings St from Noosa National Park.

Natural appeal of Noosa continues to attract buyers

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!