Council to vote on land parcel this month
MAREEBA community leaders are set to lock horns over a small patch of land that has frustrated the developers of a $21 million shopping centre.
Local company Reedlodge has long-planned to build the precinct on Byrnes Street.
But before a development application can be lodged, Mareeba Shire Council must approve the sale of a 1128sq m parcel of State Governmentowned land.
Councillors are set to vote on the proposed acquisition on Wednesday, January 25.
The council is the trustee of the land, which has been flagged to accommodate aged housing.
The shopping centre proposal has polarised the community, with many locals viewing the project as a muchneeded job creator.
But some residents are concerned that a new multi-million shopping precinct will place further strain on existing businesses.
Mareeba Deputy Mayor Alan Pedersen, who has publicly supported the development, said it made sense for the council to relinquish its trusteeship of the small yet pivotal patch of land.
“The first step is for the council to step away from that land,” he said.
“We’re not going to use it – there is a power pole in the middle of it – and it is better suited to someone who is adjoining it.
“We can’t oppose this on competition grounds. Unless there is some good planning reason, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be approved.”
Pietro Girgenti, a lawyer acting for Reedlodge, said the development was “in the best interests of the shire”.
“It will be Mareeba’s own stimulus package,” he said.
He said Reedlodge hoped to have lodged a development application by mid-to-late 2017.
“The developers hope to turn soil a quickly as possible,” Mr Girgenti said.
Mareeba Chamber of Commerce president Joe Moro said the local business community held “mixed views” about the development.
“Ordinary consumers seem to be much more positive about it, but the business sector is divided,” he said.