COUNTRY ROAD (FOR NOW): Gympie's Southside area is heading for major development and councillors want to ensure the growth is managed.
COUNTRY ROAD (FOR NOW): Gympie's Southside area is heading for major development and councillors want to ensure the growth is managed. Renee Albrecht

Gympie's new direction south

GYMPIE'S fastest-growing suburban area will have a new sense of direction from now on.

Gympie Regional Council adopted its "final” Southside Local Development Area Structure Plan on Wednesday.

But even a final structure plan is not entirely final, according to a staff report.

It will be used as a guide, the report said, pending integration into the existing Gympie region Planning Scheme.

Another round of public consultation will be required before that occurs.

"It's a big topic,” planning and development director Gina Vereker told councillors.

It followed earlier public consultation and was aimed at helping create "a livable, modern, well-designed community - a good place to live with open space, trees, walking links to shops, cycleways and a mix of densities and lot sizes.”

She acknowledged concerns expressed by a major corporate landholder about the impact on its land.

"This is a high-level planning document and does not provide certainty,” the director said.

"It provides a future outline of what development should happen.”

Negotiations with landholders were yet to be held and there was "a long way to go,” she said.

The development company, Sigma, had concerns about some development restrictions linked to open space and environmental considerations, but existing approvals would be honoured by the council, she said.

But if developers wanted different approvals, they would be bound to fit in with the guidelines.

She said any new restrictions in some areas would be "more than compensated by the increased levels of development” allowed in other areas.

"There is no way our intention is to reduce the amount of development he can have on his land.

"In terms of livability, the land should be worth more, particularly the lots looking over the open space areas.

"We hope to improve the market for properties.

"Existing approvals remain lawful and the developer can act on them, even when the planning scheme changes,” she said.

Gympie Times


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