Sam Benstead and Rod Tracey look over the back fence to what will be a major 142 multi-residential development.
Sam Benstead and Rod Tracey look over the back fence to what will be a major 142 multi-residential development. Craig Warhurst

High-density plan approved

IT’S a first for Gympie and probably not the last – a high-density development that will add a new, and some say unwanted, dimension to the region’s urban footprint.

An application to establish a 142-unit multi-residential development in Gympie was approved “reluctantly” by Gympie Regional councillors at Tuesday’s Planning and Development Committee meeting. The decision has left residents of the peaceful suburban estate that the “highly intense” development will border, “devastated”.

The initial application, submitted by Custodian Project Services on the 4.42 hectare bush block on Heights Drive, off Old Maryborough Road, was a shock to the residents of Lyden Court who petitioned to stop it altogether, or at least reduce the number of units to a more reasonable 70 to 75.

Sam and Eileen Benstead were among a handful of residents who attended the council meeting on Tuesday.

They are not sure who they can turn to now for help with the issue, and ultimately feel let down by Gympie Regional councillors.

“Those of us who know it’s been approved are devastated,” said Mr Benstead.

The residents all say they purchased their homes specifically for the quiet outlook, expecting perhaps another estate of 39 house blocks to go in, but never in their wildest dreams thinking they would be stuck beside such a massive high-density subdivision.

Sam Benstead understands that planning strategies need to respond to population growth and changing demographics but he sees the approval as “a weak performance” by council.

“They handed it to the developer on a platter,” he said.

Sue Forrest said they were hoping at least for a reduction in the number of units and that the small reduction from the original 171 townhouses to 142 is not enough.

“If it had been reduced to around 70 that would have made a big difference,” she said.

Planning and Development Committee chairman Cr Ian Petersen told The Gympie Times yesterday that he had enormous sympathy for the residents involved but the council had no grounds to refuse the application.

“The area is zoned multi-residential and the application ticked all the boxes under the planning scheme,” Cr Petersen said.

“If we refused it we would have been asked a lot of questions by the State Government because they do have this target to increasing density.”

“I don’t think anyone in the council were delighted to approve it,” he said.

Do you think it should have been approved? Leave a comment ...

Gympie Times


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