Saturday 8 August 2009

CEC's Lavis property plan before Council

Cairns CEC construction chief, Roy Lavis wants to sub-divide his massive lot of land above Earlville, a plan that has enraged locals. The vote will go before Wednesday's planning and environment meeting agenda of the Cairns Regional Council.
According to Councillor Kirsten Lesina, there are two applications. "One deals with the 1 lot into 2 subdivision, and one that deals with the easement for the driveway," she says.
"Both are recommended for approval subject to conditions. The approval for the one lot into two is conditioned in such a way that another subdivision will not be possible," Lesina says.
"Two large tracts of the land would be transferred to Council as public reserve, and environmental covenants would be placed over a substantial amount of the two house lots. It will also be impossible under the State Government's 2031 plan to subdivide the property again as it is under 60ha and outside the urban footprint," Councillor Lesina says.
Councillor Lesina says the application is recommended for approval, subject to fairly stringent conditions.
"This will mean that almost 70% of the whole parcel of land will either be transferred to Council as reserve or have environmental covenants placed upon it," Lesina says. "The site is also outside the urban footprint of the FNQ 2031 Regional Plan meaning that in future, it cannot be subdivided if it is less than 60ha. The whole parcel is only 30ha."
However, John Martin of the Mansfield Street community action group is still concerned about the proposal for the hillside subdivision.
"It is disappointing to read the report and we are still concerned that after all is said and done, there will be a loop-hole we were not aware that will negate all the hard work," John Martin says.
"The Council department responsible for looking at the Lavis application has released a report, and it's not all good news. It has recommended approving the application but with conditions," Martin says.
He says that the conditions sound okay until taken in the context of the past history of the people concerned.
"At this point the Councillors are not bound to approve it, but it makes it harder for them to not approve it. Personally, my concern is that following rules and conditions is not a strong personality trait of people in the development business, as we have seen already. How these conditions can be enforced is also a concern."
"There is only one sure way, don't approve the application. If the council could ensure that all the conditions were going to be met I could personally see that it might be acceptable. I don't wish to be a 'protest regardless' person," John Martin says. "But, I still do have concerns. My major concern is that so far Mr Lavis has never allowed himself to be limited by rules. That has been the cornerstone of our protest. He also works on the principle that there is no rule that cannot be applied to be changed. After all isn't that what he is doing now?"
Price, who's community group represents nearly 100 local residents, questions the comments that the block is not amenable to further development.
"Since this issue has arisen, several blocks of similar geographical type have been developed and built on to the south of the Lavis block, proving that where the intent is there any of the hill side is amenable to further development as long as someone gets the urge," John Martin said.
"I have not been able to find specifically what sections of the block are to be transferred to public ownership."
The action group have also asked how Council plan to monitor the conditions.
"For how long and how frequently? Who is responsible for ensuring the monitoring? If the property is already less than 60 hectares, then how can it be divided further if it is subject to FNQ 2031? And if it can be divided now, how does FNQ 2031 then apply only later?" John Martin asks.
The Council report, and also the second issue of the road built without approval, are available on the Mansfield Street website.

1 comment:

nocturnal congress said...

The old "king of the castle" mentality will see the nouveau riche of Cairns destroy the hillslopes around Cairns. We will probably see them all go in our lifetime.