STALE­MATE

Mayor re­peals mo­tion on pro­posal for Air­lie build­ing heights

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Sharon Small­wood

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.”

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