Charges 50 times higher in Townsville
TOWNSVILLE City Council has been caught out trying to charge a new business more than 50 times the level of other councils as a contribution towards infrastructure such as roads and water.
A franchise operator with national gymnasium group Snap Fitness was staggered to receive a bill for $ 240,912 after waiting four and a half months for planning approval to operate in a commercial building on Herveys Range Rd.
According to a letter sent to councillors this week from Townsville valuer Geoff Eales, a part-owner of the building which Snap Fitness wants to lease, the infrastructure charge was negotiated down in meetings with council officers to $ 141,625.
The letter, obtained by the Bulletin, shows the charge is still at least 30 times that applied by other councils, and warns the council is scaring away business and jobs.
According to the letter, engineer Pat Brady, who is the Townsville branch president of the Urban Development Institute of Australia, has suggested the council’s charge should be $ 30,496, excluding a Main Roads contribution.
‘‘ My concern is that the council is effectively stopping any gym establishing in Townsville due to the revised infrastructure charge of $ 141,625,’’ the letter says.
‘‘ We also note that for tenancy changes within this zoning, there are infrastructure costs being quoted to prospective tenants at the same level as this example which has caused proposed small business owners not to proceed with their applications to council.’’
The letter quotes other infrastructure charges being applied by other councils in Queensland for Snap Fitness gyms to operate in similar build-