Building powers ahead in Gympie.
Building powers ahead in Gympie. Craig Warhurst

Local govts want planning power

WHILE State Government planners say Gympie Region has enough urban land for the next 26 years, local knowledge says that does not stand up to examination of likely overflow from the increasingly jam-packed Sunshine Coast Region, just to our south.

Council Planning and Development Committee chairman Ian Petersen says many South-East Queensland councils share his concerns at federal and state moves which seem set to strip local government of its planning powers.

And he says Gympie is experiencing a significant drop in the development applications which are the supply line for urban residential and industrial land.

He points to reports that three out of five Wide Bay councils have incurred a drop in development applications in the first quarter of this year, with Gympie experiencing the biggest drop.

Bundaberg and Fraser Coast councils are also reporting some decreases, but with Gympie down by “more than 50 per cent.”

Cr Petersen also points to news reports on proposed “metropolitan commissions” to take control of city planning.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman is on record as saying there is “a real stench” to the proposal which he reportedly described as “unacceptable, elitist and undemocratic”.

Meanwhile, this week’s Gympie Regional Council Planning Committee meeting was told preparations for the region’s next town plan were well advanced, with detailed studies completed or near completion.

They included: Industrial Land Use, Rural Land, Residential and Rural Residential and Commercial land studies, the Storm Time Assessment Report, revision of vegetation, waterway and wetland mapping, a demographic profile of the region’s catchments, a community Infrastructure Needs Assessment, reports on the overlap of the planning scheme and building provisions, and on heritage provisions and possible improvements, along with a flood study and infrastructure plans.

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