Extension granted

A FOUR-month extension of the decision-making stage for a proposed Bella Creek material change of use was granted at yesterday's planning and development committee meeting.

Committee chairman Ian Petersen said while the motorcycle park had "an enormous amount of opposition ... council has no option but to allow the extension."

Council director of planning and development Mike Hartley said he'd "never seen an extension denied".

"If we went against staff advice, the applicant could appeal to the Local Government Minister or the applicant could appeal to the planning and environment court and I would suggest the P and E court would take a very dim view of us," he said.

"They would likely form the view that council had acted without availing themselves of all the information and would no doubt question council's motivation.

"Either way the matter would be taken out of council's hands."

Mayor Ron Dyne agreed it would be "foolish" to refuse the extension despite the number of phone calls he'd fielded from people whose "lives are on hold".

Speaking to The Gympie Times after the meeting, Cr Petersen said an application belonged to the applicant and it was up to council to take all sides into consideration and be impartial.

"If council declines the extension and the matter is taken out of council's hands then council will not have the opportunity to do a fair and equitable assessment. Whatever we do, someone will be unhappy."

Gympie Times

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