Projects to rebuild Mary Valley
THE future looks bright for the Mary Valley with a three-pronged approach to its recovery through projects in the agriculture, tourism and environmental sectors.
The news was welcomed and applauded by an audience of more than 100 residents at a packed hall at Imbil last week when the Mary Valley community forum was held.
But most people wanted to hear what the State Government had to say about its plans for the Mary Valley land holdings – 13,000 hectares of rich agricultural land now owned by the state.
An update was given by Michele Bauer, who is the executive director of Land Acquisitions and Management Branch, Office of the Co-ordinator General.
She said the State Government land was spread across 494 properties and more than 400 agreements such as leases, licences and tenancies, and government endorsement was pending on a sales strategy which recommended the release of the properties into the real estate market in a controlled manner.
The department was committed to maintaining the character of the Valley through compliance with regional and local plans, Ms Bauer said, as well as providing certainty to lessees by honouring existing agreements, some of which would be in place until 2035.
The department also wanted to identify broader land use opportunities to achieve multiple policy objectives, for example by creating easements or amalgamating lots.
About 200 former landholders were leasing their properties back from the State Government, and five properties had been bought back in the recent scheme.
A total of 57 properties were under negotiation with the Department of Main Roads as part of the Bruce Hwy upgrade, and four properties were unable to be rented until they met leasing standards.
Ms Bauer said a stakeholder reference group comprising community representatives, as well as members of the Gympie and Sunshine Coast councils and DEEDI, would be created to provide advice to her department on the integrated management and sales strategy for the Mary Valley properties.