‘LET PEOPLE VOTE’
Call to resolve town plan at election of 2016
WHITSUNDAY Regional Council has resolved to take its contentious draft town planning scheme back out to consultation – but only with selected community groups.
Individual meetings between Council and representatives from the Whitsunday Ratepayers Association, Whitsunday Regional Residents Association, Airlie Beach Chamber of Commerce, Save Our Foreshore, Fight for Airlie group and body corporate managers from Golden Orchid Drive have been organised for next Tuesday, November 10.
Each group will have half an hour to make its case to council, with up to three speakers permitted.
The Whitsunday Regional Residents Association was initially left off mayor Jennifer Whitney’s list of organisations to engage with, but was added after Crs Atkinson, Ramage, and Willcox said they were hap- py to include them at the council meeting last week.
Speaking on behalf of Fight for Airlie, which opposes proposed building height changes, Michelle Lynes said the meetings should not just be for stakeholder groups but for the broader community as well.
“And as a group we don’t feel it’s right to have it behind closed doors because, one, we don’t trust the council and two, this is Australia for God’s sake...” she said. Cr Jennifer Whitney said it was for councillors to decide whether there would be further consultation with the community after next week’s meeting.
“But we’re getting close to meeting our legislative requirements and moving ahead with this,” she said.
Cr Whitney said the community had been able to make submissions for an extended period of time, with the decision now made to discuss the top two or three issues raised with a cross-section of groups.
Nonetheless, Fight for Airlie member Roger Down said that in a democratic society, the only way to settle this was at an election.
“The only way something of this magnitude can be settled is by a public vote and we have that opportunity in March,” he said.
“Let the people vote.”