Charges 50 times higher in Townsville

Townsville Bulletin - - News -

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-

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