CONFLICT over controversial plans for a major Norman Point marina development will continue in court, with an developer’s appeal against Gympie Regional Council approval conditions.
The proposal, by the Seymour Group, would give Tin Can Bay a 237-berth marina, dry storage for another 120 vessels, marine related boat shed about 300 new car parks and a new home for the Tin Can Bay Yacht Club.
Opponents have raised concerns about the environmental and marine traffic impacts of the plan on Snapper Creek, and the possible demise of one of the Bay’s most famous institutions, informal dolphin feeding at the Norman Point boat ramp.
Seymour Group CEO Tony Bellas has told The Gympie Times the appeal is over headworks and infrastructure contributions required as conditions of council approval, rather than environmental issues.
Council gave conditional approval for the proposal, after advice that its only jurisdiction was over a small land-based component of the project. This was described in a council planning report as “a short length of boardwalk and a small section of rock wall, both within (an area) zoned Special Facilities – Houseboat Hire and Caretaker’s Residence”.
Council’s Planning and Development Committee meeting of February 3 was told the issue placed council in “a very difficult position,” with the community unlikely to understand that council had no say over issues of concern to many residents.
“The impacts of the rock wall and boardwalk are immaterial compared to the impacts of the marina complex as a whole” on dolphins, Ramsar wetlands within the Great Sandy Marine Park, sea grass beds and public safety (from increased boat numbers).
Mr Bellas said the company objected to contributions which he said were out of proportion to the scale of the proposed development.
“It’s a marina only, with only a small commercial element. It’s not like one of those huge integrated developments,” he said.
Council Planning Committee chairman Ian Petersen told this week’s committee meeting council had imposed conditions to make the plan “cost neutral,” because it did not want the marina to be “a drain on ratepayers”. The proposal is still subject to assessment under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, he said.
Save Our Shores Tin Can Bay president Ian Donald said the appeal, to be heard in the Planning and Environment Court in Brisbane, had “substantiated major concerns about the development’s social and economic impact”.
He said the developer was “seeking to avoid paying the costs of infrastructure needed to service its operation”.