Tuesday 8 December 2009

Councillor Leu says no to two applications for same Palm Cove development

"I will moving alternative recommendations for both items to refuse these applications," Cairns Regional Division 10 Councillor, Julia Leu told CairnsBlog today, in reference to Palm Cove headland applications going before Council on Wednesday.

"The reasons are the same as the previous application which are on the same lots of land - these two new applications are more intensive," Councillor Leu says. "I am hoping to get the support of my fellow Councillors as occurred on 25th November."

At tomorrow’s Cairns Regional Council meeting, there are two applications for development at the Palm Cove headland. That's two applications for the same lots of land.

How can that be you ask? Well, the developer is having an each-way bet, or is that a three-way bet?

Well, in total, there have been actually three development applications put forward involving this headland in as many weeks by the same developer.

The first application was refused by Council on the 25th November. That was for a Preliminary Approval for 27 house lots. Despite Council Officers recommending the approval, Councillors on the day, wisely refused the application on the following grounds:

  1. The proposed development is contrary to the purpose of the Hillslopes Code, particularly the following purposes:
  2. The ecological values, landscape character and visual quality of the hillslopes are protected from development so as to retain the scenic backdrop to the City;
  3. Development on hillslopes is appropriate, having regard to the topographic constraints and environmental characteristics of the land;
  4. The proposal is contrary to the desired development outcomes and performance criteria of the Vegetation Conservation and Waterway Significance Code.
  5. The proposal is located on a visually prominent headland and the proposed development will result in adverse visual amenity impacts upon the scenic values and visual backdrop of the site.
The first application up before Council tomorrow is for multi unit housing - 140 units. That's 104 units in 12 buildings and 18 units in another building. 13 buildings total with 5 in-ground swimming pools. These buildings are proposed to be 3-4 storeys, including a basement level.

The second application is for "Holiday Accommodation" units, with day spa and restaurant in one large single storey building, 125 units, spread across 30 buildings that are about 2-3 storeys in height, including basement.

The reasons for refusal of the current two applications are essentially the same as the first housing development application. Interestingly, the 13 buildings of the second application, are spread over the same land/lots as the houses would have been if approved.

The second application for holiday accommodation for 125 tourist accommodation sites sits over the same land/lots of the multi unit housing application, as the first application at tomorrow’s meeting. Hence, there appears to be a lack of real concept, and a series of sham applications to try and get something approved before the new State Government Coastal Protection policies come into force next year.

There's little doubt that these three proposed developments would be exempt from the proposed 3 Development Assessment Code, under the new Draft Queensland Coastal Plan 2009 which has very specific outcomes in relation to:

  • Development being located outside erosion prone area
  • Development in a storm tide inundation area
  • Development in low/high hazard urban area maintains safety of people and can sustain flooding during a defined storm tide event
  • Avoiding significant adverse effects on ecological values
  • Avoiding adverse effects on areas of high ecological significance
  • Not located within 100m of coastal wetlands or setback a sufficient distance from coastal wetland to maintain integrity, habitat, functioning of ecosystem, retention of wetland and riparian vegetation etc
  • Avoidance of unacceptable levels of change to the scenic preference rating of the area
  • Public access issues

President of the Combined Beaches Community Association, Fiona Tulip says if these development applications were approved after this new legislation is enacted, the applicant would have trouble meeting the development requirements under State policy.

"This of course, should not be the very reason why these applications are approved now," Fiona Tulip says. "All three applications have at least six serious conflicts with planning overlay codes."

The Association cites Hillslope Code, Vegetation Conservation and Waterway Significance Code,
Flood Management Code, Visual Amenity Code, Traffic Code, Potential or Actual Acid Sulfate Soil Material Code – the Department Natural Resources and Water recommended that the applications be refused on this basis.

Council refused the original application on the 24th November for 27 housing lots by the majority of Councillors, except Councillors Bonneau, Cochrane and Blake.

“Whilst I would love to see that parcel of land remain as is, the application would be the best outcome for the area,” Councillor Sno Bonneau said at the time.

"With so many planning conflicts and the issue of Councils approving seaside developments in the face of environmental conditions, surely any reasonable person would conclude that these applications are most inappropriate for this iconic area," Fiona Tulip says.

"The reality is that under new pending legislation, they would simply not be allowed."


concerned said...

Palm Cove is lucky to have such a conscientious councillor. Saw there was a development application to further the Bluewater development - 1 lot into 89 lots on the verge of Earl Hill and the beachfront at Half Moon Bay. Bet that will go through no problems.....

Jan from Kewarra said...

To concerned.....

In the last 5 years, there would be less than a handful of DAs that Councillor Bonneau has NOT supported on the northern beaches. In fact, I can only remember one, and that was because the adjoinging neighbours of this most controversial development were friends of his and there was a huge amount of community pressure applied.

Speaking of Councillor Bonneau, I hear residents of Kewarra are not happy with his pro-development stance over the proposal for aged care facilities by developer Sean Howard. Word is the residents had a meeting, and did not invite Sno.

Surprise, surprise, surprise....(not).

Fiona Tulip said...


The two applications for units and holiday accommodation for Palm Cove were both refused today at the Council meeting.

concerned said...

Good to hear, Fiona. Do you know what happened with the Trinity Park application?

Smell a rat said...

It was also noted that in yesterday's debate about these two applications, Cllr Gregory, was very outspoken and in favour of at least one of these going ahead.

What is it with this man? He represents a division in the southern boondocks and hillbilly country of Cairns, and yet he is voting for intensive and most offensive unit development at the northern most iconic tourist suburb
of Cairns. This is not the first time either, that he has been very outspoken in favour of controversial developments for northern beaches.

Did he try and sway other councillors because of his inappropriate relationship with Conics? Did you have their logo badged-hat on your bald head yesterday Paul? You may as well have!!!

Or are you a graduate of the Sno Bonneau school of pro-development at all adverse costs, and a believer in the "to hell with residents philosophy"?

Please advise your stance?

Cr Paul Gregory said...

Smell a Rat, if you were at Wednesday's meeting where this issue was debated, you would have heard Mr Tabulo, GM City Development begin defending the attack on his own officer's report by saying "Cr Gregory is right....". The defence was based on "if we don't knock this back then our position in court to defend the decision from the last meeting on this issue will be weakened." Extraordinary.... defending a refusal in court on a code assessment planning decision! Could this be a waste of ratepayers money? Smell a Rat, give me a call on 40443071 and we can meet to discuss over a coffee... yes, you can buy a coffee in southern boondock and hillbilly country; it may not be iconic but it still does the same job.

I Am The Stig said...

Cr Gregory
The excuse of the position in court being weakened is one that Kevin Byrne used on a number of occasions. If you are going to base your decisions on the threat of legal action then you are best raising the white flag now because this is what Developers will do. Look at Leigh Ratcliffe and how he operates. I believe there is a current Court Case pending decision involving Mr Ratcliffe.

Matt Heirink said...

It is good to see Cr. Gregory making a contribution to this blog. His point is however, both valid and quite alarming. He is saying that in the case of a code assessable development (and this often also applies to impact assessable too), then any opposing vote by Councillors can't be defended in court. So why bother having Councillors at all if the courts don't take their decisions seriously!

Gregory is in effect saying that planning and development of this city is controlled by an intimidating Planning Department, cashed-up developers and their smart-arse consultants, and the lawyers. Elected Councillors are being told to get with the program, or risk legal action, with ratepayers footing the bill. Its disgraceful and its undemocratic.