BUYER beware is the message from Gympie Regional Council to those unlucky enough to have purchased any of the small, cheap residential blocks in four "historic villages" west of Gympie.
The blocks were created back in 1912, most likely when the region's rail corridor was surveyed in, with the aim of creating future townships along the railway line.
Unfortunately, rail did not develop the way authorities envisioned it would, and the blocks at Manyung (near Goomeri), Cinnabar, Kimbombi and Tansey now sit empty in the middle of cattle paddocks.
One of the unlucky people who bought land there is Neil Carpenter. He purchased two blocks at Manyung directly from the owners for $5000 each in 2009.
Originally zoned rural, the blocks were all rezoned to limited development when the new Gympie region planning scheme was adopted last year.
The zoning makes it almost impossible to get approval to build a house, as the quarter acre blocks are too small to accommodate a septic or biocycle system to dispose of effluent.
It's a snag that has so far frightened off two prospective buyers of Mr Carpenter's blocks.
He is not happy and believes there is a conspiracy for the council to acquire and develop the land.
Deputy Gympie Mayor Tony Perrett empathises with Mr Carpenter's predicament but makes no apology for the council's stance.
He says it is true the council has already bought up many of the blocks from owners unable or unwilling to pay the rates.
But the aim is not to develop the land, but to avoid the financial nightmare of having to pay to provide services to the villages.
The dearth of infrastructure means that if homes are allowed to be built there, the residents will require the services that, under normal circumstances, would have been provided by the developer at development stage.
Gympie council would be left holding the baby, so to speak.
"It is problematic," Cr Perrett said. "It's a very, very difficult situation for the people who do own them."
Mr Carpenter says the blocks owe him about $10,000 each.
He spent $2000 clearing them and has paid his rates (about $1000 a year) every year. Included on his rates notice each year is $100 "infrastructure improvement" charge.
"It borders on scandalous," he said.
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