Whit­sun­day Plan­ning Scheme gets fi­nal go-ahead

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Peter Car­ruthers, Dane Lilling­stone

LOVE it or loathe it, the Whit­sun­day Plan­ning Scheme re­ceived ap­proval from the State Gov­ern­ment last week.

Af­ter two rounds of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion in 2015 and 2016, the plan was fi­nally signed off at last week’s gen­eral meet­ing of the Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil.

But the de­ci­sion was not unan­i­mous.

Divi­sion 1 Coun­cil­lor Jan Clif­ford de­clared she still had a few small, lin­ger­ing is­sues with the plan, specif­i­cally re­gard­ing the build­ing heights at Broad­wa­ter Ave and cer­tain land zon­ing changes.

Cr Clif­ford was the only coun­cil­lor to vote against the plan’s adop­tion last week.

Mayor An­drew Will­cox said the draft plan­ning scheme would unify the re­gion and sup­port an ex­cit­ing fu­ture for the re­gion that would at­tract in­vest­ment and en­cour­age sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

“It will help de­liver live­able com­mu­ni­ties and hous­ing di­ver­sity, eco­nomic growth, the pro­tec­tion of en­vi­ron­ment and her­itage val­ues, re­duced haz­ards and in­creased safety and an ef­fi­cient trans­port and in­fra­struc­ture net­work,” Cr Will­cox said.

But dis­sent in the com­mu­nity about the build­ing heights in Air­lie Beach has been ex­pressed via protests about the plan.

The max­i­mum build­ing height per­mit­ted un­der the plan in the dis­trict cen­tre zone of Air­lie Beach, precinct D is 18m, while in precinct E it is 14m.

Cor­rie Gard­ner of Can­non­vale said al­though she could not out­line a spe­cific ob­jec­tion to the plan, she did ob­ject to the men­tal­ity be­hind the coun­cil’s vi­sion for Air­lie Beach.

“The coun­cil re­ceived thou­sands of protest let­ters to the plan, and they have changed it a cou­ple of times but now they can can ba­si­cally have build­ing heights at what­ever they de­cide to ap­prove,” Ms Gard­ner said.

“The com­mu­nity will be shocked to see what peo­ple can build now.”

Ms Gard­ner said she did not own prop­erty in Air­lie Beach and claimed no vested in­ter­est when ob­ject­ing the Whit­sun­day Plan­ning Scheme.

“I want to pro­tect the brand and what we have at Air­lie Beach. Coun­cil­lors come and go and if com­mu­nity mem­bers don’t stand up, our kids will turn around and say ‘why did you let this hap­pen?’,” she said.

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