Councillor accuses planning staff of ‘unlawful’ demands

A GYMPIE councillor has accused planning staff of attempting to place an "unlawful" intersection upgrade condition on a squash court planned at Browns Rd, Victory Heights.

Planning councillor Ian Petersen also suggested staff had engaged in "cherry picking" evidence to justify excessive parking requirements.

"I am quite sure the (upgrade) condition (for the Gympie Connection Rd-Browns Rd intersection) is unlawful," he said.

Council conditions had to pass a "reasonable and relevant" test and "by no stretch is it reasonable as it renders the proposal non-viable".

Without the facility, Gympie squash enthusiasts would have to travel to Pomona or abandon the sport.

Supported by infrastructure councillor Larry Friske, Cr Petersen successfully moved that the intersection upgrade be replaced by a much cheaper "No Right Turn" sign and that a compromise be reached on car parking.

"We are in the process of spending multi millions on a new swimming facility and yet here we have private enterprise prepared to invest in sporting infrastructure and we seem to be hell bent on stopping them," he said,

"It is hard to place our hand on our heart and proclaim that we are striving to make our region the natural choice to live work and play."

He said he was greatly concerned at the car parking recommendation, which claimed that other nearby councils had requirements in excess of the 25 spaces recommended.

"I am aware of other councils with lesser parking requirements," Cr Petersen said. "Are we indulging in cherry picking?"

Cr Friske told the meeting he agreed with "90% of what Cr Petersen is saying".

He successfully amended Cr Petersen's motion to reduce car parking from 25 to 14, so that additional but less elaborate car parks could be provided on adjacent land treated with dust-reduced gravel.

A new sign would prohibit right turns from Gympie Connection Rd into Browns Rd, with access also available from Old Wolvi Rd.

Gympie Times

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