Wednesday 9 September 2009

Pyne: Mayor 'out of step with community expectations'

"I'm furious that Cairns Regional Council will consider changing the CairnsPlan to allow huge shopping developments to be pushed through with little public consultation," Councillor Robert Pyne said this morning,
Today's Planning and Environment committee meeting will consider changing the way in which development approvals get through Council.

"Changing the rules to assess developments on a code, rather than on the impacts it has on the neighbourhood, simply does not allow the public to be engaged in the process," Rob Pyne says.

“People need to understand that Councils in Queensland operate under the Integrated Planning Act or IPA. The backdrop to all of this is the fact the big property developers in Queensland are one of the biggest Corporate Donors to the State ALP," Rob Pyne says. "They give more to the ALP than they do to the LNP," he says.

“With this in mind I was not surprised the lobbyist employed to sell the new Smithfield Town Centre Code Assessable was former Townsville Mayor, Tony Mooney. I am not questioning Tony’s integrity, but the best you can say is that it is not a good look. These decisions should be by residents, not lobbyists."

The recommendation by Council's Strategic Planning Officer Gerard Rosse, says that the level of assessment for shopping facilities greater than 10,000m² be changed to 'Code Assessable.'

At the Council meeting on the 12 August, it was resolved to present a report on a "possible amendment to the CairnsPlan in relation to the level of assessment for Shopping Centres."

"The amendment is to ensure that the commercial / economic impacts are addressed as part of the assessment criteria," the minute read.

Today's recommendations says...

  • Since the inception of the Integrated Planning Act 1997 proposals for Impact Assessable commercial development throughout Queensland have often been met by commercially motived appeals that undermine sound town planning outcomes through the provisions of the Submitters Appeal process under the IPA.

    Since the adoption of CairnsPlan in 2005 there have been a number of commercial developments that have triggered Impact Assessment that have been subject to the submitters appeal process under the IPA. Of these developments there have been several that were considered to have sound planning outcomes whereby Council approvals were appealed by other commercial operators. Two of these commercial
    developments are still undergoing legal proceedings with outcomes still unknown.

    A report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) into the competitiveness of retail prices for standard groceries published in July 2008 raised concerns that planning and zoning laws act as a barrier to the establishment of new
    supermarkets. Independent supermarkets were particularly concerned with
    impediments to new developments given the difficulties they have in obtaining access to
    existing sites.

    The ACCC also received specific and credible evidence of supermarkets using the planning appeal processes to deter the establishment of new operators in circumstances where the existing supermarket had no legitimate planning concerns.

Planning Officer Gerard Rosse writes in his recommendation that...

  • The ACCC recommended all appropriate levels of government consider ways in which zoning and planning laws, and decisions in respect of individual planning applications where additional retail space for the purpose of operating a supermarket is contemplated, should have specific regard to the likely impact of the proposal on competition between supermarkets in the area.

    Particular regard should be had to whether the proposal will facilitate the entry of a supermarket operator not currently trading in the area.

However, Councillors Pyne and Leu want to protect the right for communities to activities participate in development that impacts and affects their area.

"This effectively blocks people from appealing planning applications," Councillor Julia Leu told CairnsBlog last month. "When significant changes are proposed, they should reflect the aspirations of the community."

Pyne is very critical of Mayor Schier, in supporting this change.

"This is a big issue and another example that the myth Val [Schier] does not vote with the majority on Council is just that, a myth," he said. "As is the argument she is somehow less pro-development than KB [Kevin Byrne] was,"

Rob Pyne says that Val Schier almost never opposes a recommendation from the planning department.

"Regardless of community expectations. she never opposes a development recommendation. I truly wish more residents sat in the public gallery to see the level of hypocrisy on display," Councillor Pyne says.

"One thing about Kevin – he never pretended to be something he wasn’t."

Pyne says that the Mayor is 'out of step with community expectations'.

Today's recommendation to amend the CairnsPlan that will make shopping facilities Code Assessable, instead on Impact Assessable, have the support of Gavin Allwood a senior planning manager at Brazier Motti, who specialise in surveying and town planning project.

"Not [amending] doing so, distinctly disadvantages the Smithfield Centre, as future development at the Centre would remain subject to public notification," Attwood says. "As a result, competitors in the Smithfield Town Centre and the wider community will have the capacity to make submissions to Council and appeal Council's decisions."

Gavin Allwood cites an appeal filed by Trinity Park Investments Pty Ltd and Capital Globe that the former Mayor is involved with. The appeal is against Council's recent approval of an extension to the Clifton Village Shopping Centre.

"This demonstrates a willingness of these parties to appeal against competing developments within the catchment," Allwood says.

Pyne is correct in saying that the proposed change will affect all further shopping centre development applications, not just the Smithfield situation.

Closing the ability for the public to be involved how their community is built and developed, is something that should be enshrined as a right for all, and not just for the privileged few who want to push ahead without public scrutiny.


Ross Parisi said...

Well done Robert for being the community's watchdog along the Marlin Coast.

Our local Council representatives in Division 9, Sno Bonneau and in Division 8, Margaret Cochrane have gone missing in action. Another example of the Council representatives for this area being the Developer's friends on the Council as opposed to representing the Communities.

The Town Planning Scheme is an avenue where local residents/ratepayers have an opportunity for a say in how development proceeds in their area. If the right of objection is curtailed or removed, then the residents/ratepayers influence is diminished.

Furthermore, the proposed Smithfield Town Centre will have an impact on all Shopping facilities including the Smithfield Centre and Clifton Beach Village.

Having regard to the above it is essential that the 'Code Assessable' amendment as proposed by the developers of the Smithfield Town Centre and recommended by the Council's Town Planning Department be rejected and the 'Impact Assessable' be retained as the criteria for determination.

We need our local Council representatives to stand up and be counted!

still looking said...

We have a council champion in edmonton ,but we don,t know who she is , wish the bloke in the hardware shop got or rob moved down here in instead of our ghost.

Clifton Ratbags Rule said...

It isn't council's business under the planning process to artificially limit retail space. The fact is that this only fosters higher prices for the consumer and less service. Smithfield is a case in point - this centre is so poorly designed people routinely park on the Cook Highway verge. And this has yet to be impacted by the approved (but I predict never to be built) movie theaters. Compare this with the new Bunnings - they picked a large enough site to park all their customers and more.

Clifton Village is another too-big centre on too small a block. Bad access is compounded with a situation where trucks won't deliver to the loading zone (they've been told it isn't to be used), so the entire front of the centre is blocked by trucks and illegally parked cars making it impossible to exit with trolleys. This is stupid design, and people who build such junk, in a free market, are punished when others do the right thing.

"Impact" on existing retailers is always going to be an objection. No one wants competition, everyone wants a free ride. This smacks of central planning, a trait of communist systems. We don't need governments "central planning" business and commerce.

Jude Johnston said...

The Clifton Village Shopping Centre is a prime example why Code assessible should not be allowed. The fact that competition business and Supermarkets play frivolous and vexations games within the framework of the IPA, should not override the individuals rights to seek remedies through the Planning & Environment Court. While the Clifton Village Shopping Centre is currently going through the Planning & Environment Court, comment is limited, however once this has been concluded, watch this space ........

Unknown said...

Robert Pyne is as devious as allan blake. don't stand between him and his ambition to be mayor. it is time cairnsblog started treating this political animal like any other politcian, rather than repeating everything he says as if it is gospel truth and in the interest of anyone other than robert pyne. it isn't.

Smithfield Sam said...


You're absolutely right about Pyne. He's acting the typical pollie - mayor says black, he says white. Just like his old man.

Iqbal Zara said...

I agree with the Clifton Ratbag. Why should Smithfield Shopping get a free ride. Bring on competition and let people decide if they where they want to shop. Monopolies like the shopping centres bring higher prices and less services.

KitchenSlut said...

Planning restrictions have long been discussed as barriers to entry for retailers in Australia.

However I doubt any oligopolistic power for regional shopping centre owners is greater than Woolies and Coles exert? The reality is and will remain that if you don't have them as anchor tenants your property metrics are worth less and will remain so?