$200,000-plus bill may squash court dream
GYMPIE Regional Council has approved the construction of new, state-of-the-art squash courts at Victory Heights, but the developer will have to spend at least $200,000 upgrading a dangerous intersection nearby.
Six indoor squash courts will be built with a canteen and office at 41 Browns Rd, operating seven days a week from 7am- 10pm.
Safety issues at the Gympie Connection Rd and Browns Rd intersection were not enough to prompt Main Roads to ask for any action there, but council staff, Mayor Mick Curran and some councillors were not happy about that.
The intersection needs at least $200,000 spent on it to make it safe enough for the increased traffic, the council heard.
"We have got a right as professionals to have a concern about intersection safety," chief engineer Bob Fredman said.
"The issue is whose jurisdiction is it? Main Roads has made a statement that surprised us but nonetheless... let it be on their head."
The push to impose that corner upgrade on the squash court developer was strongly opposed by Cr Ian Petersen, who said there were "crook intersections all over bloody Gympie".
Cr Petersen also argued against a staff recommendation that the developer be made to build more car parks and provide a noise impact report.
"Main Roads have approved that intersection and we go out and find problems with it," he said.
"Main Roads has killed so much development in this region with their onerous conditions and here they are saying this intersection is fine."
The developer is expected to appeal the decision.
Cr Petersen said squash was not a great spectator sport and that council staff were asking for too much car parking and an unnecessary noise report.
"We live quite close to the Cartwright Rd courts - they are not noisy at all," he said.
He also dismissed a staff comment that the courts were not in the appropriate "zone" and therefore conflicted with the planning scheme.
"That's a moot point," he said.
"The only sport and recreation zones in the Gympie Regional (plan) are on public land. There are none on private land."
He said the Gympie squash club had to travel to Pomona to play squash and "this is just ludicrous".
The development application was publicly advertised from January 14, 2015, through to February 4, 2015. There were 95 submissions received - 90 in favour and five against.