Mayor slams de­vel­oper’s ‘in­ap­pro­pri­ate’ lob­by­ing

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - RICHARD KOSER

CAIRNS Re­gional Coun­cil mayor Val Schier has slammed as “in­ap­pro­pri­ate lob­by­ing” ap­proaches made on be­half of New­cas­tle de­vel­oper Jeff McCloy to coun­cil­lors ahead of last week’s or­di­nary coun­cil meet­ing.

The 11 coun­cil­lors nar­rowly gave pre­lim­i­nary ap­proval to a ma­jor sub-di­vi­sion by Mr McCloy at Wonga Beach, while ap­prov­ing the build­ing of a house, lo­cal util­ity, dis­play home and sales of­fice.

The block has the po­ten­tial to be split into about 140 blocks if a “com­mu­nity ef­flu­ent dis­posal sys­tem or sim­i­lar al­ter­na­tive means is to be in­stalled in as­so­ci­a­tion with any devel­op­ment pro­posal”.

The coun­cil’s en­dorse­ment of the pro­posal went against its own plan­ning scheme and state poli­cies re­gard­ing sen­si­tive wet­land ar­eas for the 39ha sub­di­vi­sion.

It also con­tra­dicts coun­cil and state poli­cies gov­ern­ing the use of ru­ral land and the devel­op­ment of Wonga Beach.

In the days be­fore the ap­pli­ca­tion was voted on by coun­cil, New­cas­tle-based de­vel­oper Jeff McCloy’s daugh­ter Louise met with sev­eral coun­cil­lors.

Dur­ing those meet­ings, Ms McCloy brought up a pre­vi­ous dis­pute her fa­ther had with for­mer Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil mayor Mike Ber­wick.

Mayor Val Schier said she did not meet with any­one as­so­ci­ated with the pro­posed devel­op­ment prior to vot­ing on it.

“An ap­proach was made to meet with me. I did not take up that of­fer,” she said.

“I felt the lob­by­ing not an ap­pro­pri­ate way for the ap­pli­cant to present their case.

“While I am per­son­ally concerned about the de­ci­sion made by coun­cil, what we need to do now is en­sure the con­di­tions are strin­gently ap­plied.”

Di­vi­sion 5 councillor Alan Blake ex­plained his rea­sons for vot­ing in sup­port of the devel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion.

“It was a pre­lim­i­nary ap­proval, which al­lows both de­vel­oper and coun­cil to fur­ther in­ves­ti­gate the sit­u­a­tion be­fore com­ing back for fi­nal ap­proval,” he said.

“We placed a range of con­di­tions on the devel­op­ment. That’s the way we do busi­ness.”

’In­ap­pro­pri­ate’: Mayor Val Shier speaks out

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