Fees force businesses to go elsewhere
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.