Mayor repeals motion on proposal for Airlie building heights
THERE was a resolution on the table and five out of seven councillors had voted for it, but Whitsunday Mayor Jennifer Whitney felt it was going to be “the nail in the coffin for the people of Airlie Beach” and made one last attempt to ensure it wouldn’t go ahead.
At last week’s Council meeting in Proserpine, Deputy Mayor Andrew Willcox moved a motion that Council adopt version four of its contentious draft town planning scheme, amended to feature lower building heights along Shute Harbour Road, at Port of Airlie and in the area around Waterson Way, and open to further community consultation for 30 business days.
Within a matter of hours Cr Whitney had put in a repeal, “which is quite lawful and le- gal because that motion’s not enacted,” she said.
Council’s CEO Barry Omundson said the matter would now need to come back to Council in the new year.
“Essentially I’m not able to take any action (now) until that motion is debated again at the next Council meeting of January 27,” he said.
Mr Omundson explained that under the Local Government Act, “a decision of Council is able to be repealed or rescinded if it hasn’t been acted upon”. He said the mayor “came and saw me immediately” after last week’s meeting, so no action had been taken nor would be until the first Council meeting of January.
WHEN the draft town plan initially came to the table last week, Cr Whitney tried to move a motion – as recommended by Council officers – that Council adopt version three of the planning scheme for the purpose of approval by the planning minister. The motion lapsed for want of a se- conder allowing Cr Willcox to put forward his revised version, opposed only by Cr John Collins and the mayor.
Cr Collins said he was actually happy with the majority of the motion but the sticking point was Waterson Way, which he felt should stay at 28 metres “because of the low level land at the back”.
He suggested councillors needed to “help the place develop a bit” and said if further community consultation was to occur, “it’s no skin off our nose” to propose this height.
Cr Whitney also spoke against the motion, saying by going out for further consultation “all you’re doing is delaying” and noting that in her opinion, just four and five storeys wouldn’t deliver much- needed growth for Airlie Beach. This week, she explained why she felt it necessary to go as far as a repeal.
“There’s a few reasons why – I don’t think the community really understands what was in planning scheme version three – people think it was 12 storeys at Port of Airlie but it’s not,” she said.
“(And) I put it in because there are areas of that motion that do concern me – and one of them is going out to consultation over the Christmas and New Year period.” As for how she could now swing the vote in her favour, “it may be supported, it may not be supported,” she said. “(But I do know) there was a little bit of angst from some individuals about how they voted.”