Circumvent rules for jobs: council

GYMPIE regional councillors walked a fine line between creating a handful of jobs for the Mary Valley this week and defying their own planning policies.

At times they marched right over that line, though some were not happy about it.

Following a debate that circled around the importance of enforcing costly council policies on two enterprises in an industrial estate on Gympie's outskirts, the council changed tack and asked its staff to find a way to circumvent planning policy so it could let industrial activity take place on rural land near Kybong.

The third application was from a civil contracting company that wants to fix mining equipment in a shed on a 41ha property at Traveston Crossing Rd.

The owners of the company (and the land) do the work in Blackwater but want to relocate their workshop to the Gympie region.

Up to six people could be employed there.

The application is unique in that it will not impact on any neighbours, is a "home industry", has no adjacent landholders and is constrained on all sides.

It is also a step in the right direction for the embattled, post-dam-debacle Mary Valley.

But the land is good-quality agricultural land, nowhere near other industrial activity or tagged for future industrial activity. And the proposal flies in the face of the town plan.

Council staff recommended in writing that the application be turned down but agreed verbally that it was an "important development" for the region.

Councillors Larry Friske and Ian Petersen argued the case for the business, saying that to refuse it would be to lose six jobs and potentially six property buyers in the Mary Valley.

Cr Mark McDonald opposed it on the grounds that home-based industries were forcing other enterprises out of business.

"We are hotchpotch all over the region," he said.

"We have to start drawing lines in the sand."

Earlier, the council had argued about road and headworks costs for applications to subdivide and establish a warehouse and factory on Langton Rd at Monkland.

It was pointed out that allowing the latter request for industrial activity on rural-zoned land meant that business avoided having to meet planning demands that came with activities in industrial zones.

The issue has been referred back to council staff for suggested approval and conditions (that would support approval) to be presented at the next meeting.

Gympie Times

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