Coun­cil to vote on land par­cel this month

Tablelands Advertiser - - NEWS - Hayden Smith

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.

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