State to query coun­cil charges

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Ryan Mathe­son ryan. mathe­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

TOWNSVILLE City Coun­cil’s in­fra­struc­ture charges will be in­ves­ti­gated by a State Gov­ern­ment task­force.

De­vel­op­ers and busi­ness own­ers are be­ing forced to look at other cities due to sky­rock­et­ing in­fra­struc­ture charges in Townsville.

The coun­cil re­cently at­tempted to charge a new busi­ness more than 50 times the level of other coun­cils as a con­tri­bu­tion to in­fra­struc­ture such as roads and wa­ter.

Main Roads Min­is­ter Craig Wal­lace said the State Gov­ern­ment was field­ing an in­creased num­bers of com­plaints from de­vel­op­ers.

‘ ‘ De­vel­op­ers don’t mind pay­ing a charge pro­vided it’s fair and just,’’ he said.

‘ ‘ The State Gov­ern­ment has given the ju­ris­dic­tion to levy in­fra­struc­ture to lo­cal coun­cils and works closely with de­vel­op­ers to re­duce those charges where it can.

‘ ‘ T h e g o v e r n me n t h a s launched a task­force into the com­plaints to make sure the level of charges are cor­rect across the state.’’

The lat­est com­plaint with the coun­cil’s plan­ning depart­ment comes from the own­ers of a com­mer­cial build­ing in Thuringowa Cen- tral. The own­ers are look­ing to lease the build­ing to a fran­chise op­er­a­tor of the new na­tional gym­na­sium group, Snap Fit­ness.

While the use is con­sis­tent with the zon­ing, plan­ning l aws r equire a ma­te­rial change of use ap­pli­ca­tion, trig­ger­ing a full as­sess­ment by the coun­cil’s plan­ning depart­ment.

The coun­cil re­cently re­vealed a bill worth more than $ 240,000 at the end of the four-and-a-half month ap­pli­ca­tion process.

One of the build­ing’s par­town­ers, Townsville valuer Geoff Eales, took the is­sue up with the coun­cil’s plan­ning depart­ment and was later handed a re­vised fig­ure of $ 141,625.

En­gi­neer Pat Brady was called in to pro­vide an ass e s s ment o f t he c o r r e c t charge.

Ac­cord­ing to his cal­cu­la­tions, the charge should be $ 30,496, mi­nus t he Main Roads con­tri­bu­tion.

Mr Wal­lace urged those in­volved to come for­ward.

‘‘ I in­vite Mr Eales and Mr Brady to con­tact me as soon as pos­si­ble and I will per­son­ally make sure any is­sues are in­ves­ti­gated,’’ he said.

‘ ‘ R e d u c e d c h a r g e s a r e avail­able to any pro­pos­als that may re­duce traf­fic on our roads and all cir­cum­stances will be looked at on a case-by-case ba­sis.’’

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