Reservoir road a lot of grief for landowners
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.
The section of Crees Road, currently under construction, that will lead to the reservoir
Trail designer Glen Jacobs at the Wangetti lookout