Reser­voir road a lot of grief for landown­ers

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Gizelle Ghidella

A re­in­stated sec­tion of Crees Road to the Craiglie reser­voir has cre­ated a headache for landown­ers By­ron and Vicki Kurth.

An ap­pli­ca­tion by By­ron and Vicki to split their 30 hectare prop­erty into two separate lots ei­ther side of the road that now bi­sects their prop­erty was re­jected unan­i­mously by coun­cil this week.

The Kurths bought the land in 2004 and lease it to a cane grower af­ter 10 years of en­cour­age­ment to re­plant what had been pad­docks of long grass.

The prop­erty had the road gazetted through it since 1892, it was then tem­po­rar­ily closed in 1957 to be re­opened in Novem­ber 2012.

Un­til re­cently the area of Crees Road was un­der sug­ar­cane pro­duc­tion.

Pip­ing from the $13.5m wa­ter reser­voir will run un­der the soon to be sealed road.

By­ron Kurth, the owner of the land, said the road goes against the spirit of the town plan, which he sup­ports.

“By putting that road through it takes away the abil­ity for the farmer to farm the land, prevent­ing broad acre farm­ing, the very corner­stone of coun­cil pol­icy west of the Cap­tain Cook high­way,” Mr Kurth told the

“The road makes grow­ing cane on our prop­erty un­vi­able; in some parts cane har­vesters will not be able to cut the cane safely.

“For us per­son­ally, the fi­nan­cial im­pact is 20-25K per year, made up of lost in­come from the cane har­vest, as well as the loss of pri­mary pro­duc­tion sta­tus, which means we will have to pay land tax.

“We at least wanted to separate the land into two lots, so we can look at other smaller bou­tique farm­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and the buy in price is much less for a smaller lot,” he said.

The Kurths weren’t in­formed the road was taken out of clo­sure and Mr Kurth told the “there has been a se­vere lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion about the process”.

Dou­glas Shire Mayor Ju­lia Leu said coun­cil had no choice but to refuse the ap­pli­ca­tion.

“It does not com­ply with the cur­rent 2006 Dou­glas Shire Plan­ning Scheme, is in­con­sis­tent with the pro­posed 2017 Plan­ning Scheme, the Far North Queens­land Re­gional Plan 2009-2031, and the State Plan­ning Pol­icy 2016 and 2017,” Cr Leu said.

“Our Plan­ning Scheme since 2006 has main­tained the State’s po­si­tion re­quir­ing a min­i­mum of 40 hectare lots per new lot in the Ru­ral Plan­ning Area.

“The min­i­mum area of 40ha for land in the Ru­ral Zone is a fun­da­men­tal com­po­nent of our scheme. There are only very lim­ited in­stances where the min­i­mum area can be re­duced, and this ap­pli­ca­tion is not one of those in­stances.

“Coun­cil is en­ti­tled to con­struct the road to the new Port Dou­glas Wa­ter Reser­voir, as this is on a Coun­cil gazetted road. The road has been gazetted since the lot was orig­i­nally cre­ated in 1892,” she said.

Pic­ture: SUP­PLIED

The sec­tion of Crees Road, cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion, that will lead to the reser­voir

Trail de­signer Glen Ja­cobs at the Wangetti look­out

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