Fees force busi­nesses to go else­where

Townsville Bulletin - - Voice Of The North -

SOAR­ING in­fra­struc­ture charges are stalling growth in Townsville, say busi­ness lead­ers, and the coun­cil needs to change its method­ol­ogy soon, or face the prospect of in­vestors con­tin­u­ing to go else­where. Prom­i­nent busi­ness­peo­ple have told this news­pa­per that the mas­sive in­fra­struc­ture charges are killing de­vel­op­ment and stop­ping busi­ness ex­pan­sion. To­day’s ex­am­ple of a na­tional gym­na­sium group, Snap Fit­ness, and its battle against high in­fra­struc­ture charges show­cases the dra­co­nian fees be­ing ap­plied by coun­cil. There is also an is­sue around the lengthy de­lay be­ing ap­plied to these ap­pli­ca­tions. Five months for a de­ci­sion is un­ac­cept­able. Com­pare the lo­cal coun­cil’s orig­i­nal quote of $ 240,000 for in­fra­struc­ture charges – later re­vised to $ 141,000 – with other coun­cils in Queens­land and you can un­der­stand the frus­tra­tion. The in­fra­struc­ture charges for the same gym­na­sium op­er­a­tor in Toowoomba were nil, Kin­garoy $ 2157, Mackay nil and at Mo­ray­field, Bris­bane it was $ 500. No­body has any qualms with coun­cil im­pos­ing le­git­i­mate and fair in­fra­struc­ture costs on de­vel­op­ers where road­works and sew­er­age head­works are re­quired. How­ever this is ridicu­lous. Townsville En­ter­prise, the body charged with en­cour­ag­ing and pro­mot­ing the city to prospec­tive in­vestors, needs to knock some sense into coun­cil on this is­sue, be­fore it’s too late. THE Cow­boys be­gan their quest for 2011 sea­son glory in style with yes­ter­day’s of­fi­cial launch, at­tended by 700 peo­ple. For many North Queens­land fans this is the year of reck­on­ing for the club. It has a red-hot un­der 20s squad which will no doubt lay the foun­da­tion for some qual­ity sea­sons fur­ther down the track. But there’s noth­ing that breeds suc­cess like suc­cess and the chal­lenge for Cow­boys bosses is to turn a los­ing cul­ture into a win­ning cul­ture. The de­ci­sion by coach Neil Henry to ap­point co­cap­tains is an in­spired one. Matt Scott, the most im­proved rugby league player in the game over the past 12 months, will take pres­sure off star play­maker Johnathan Thurston as they share the cap­taincy role. Both play­ers are world-class and will lead by ex­am­ple. With co-cap­tains, it means JT can get on with the job of con­cen­trat­ing on his own game, rather than con­stantly hav­ing to worry about ref­er­ee­ing de­ci­sions and de­fen­sive lapses. The Cow­boys have re­cruited well and the se­nior player group has a lot to prove in 2011. With de­fen­sive coach Peter Ryan be­ing one of the best in the busi­ness, ex­pect a lot more re­solve and de­ter­mi­na­tion, es­pe­cially among the for­wards. Beat­ing the Bron­cos next Fri­day night on their home patch would be the per­fect start to 2011.

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