YET ANOTHER APPLICATION HAS BEEN LODGED WITH MBRC FOR A MATERIAL CHANGE OF USE OF THE SANDSTONE POINT HOTEL SITE. HOW MANY MORE ARE GOING TO COME? WILL THEY EVER STOP? WILL COUNCIL CONTINUE TO APPROVE THEM REGARDLESS?

Following the 2020 Council elections, a contributor to the June/July editions of The Bribie Islander made the following comments on the challenges facing the new Council:

Development Application Approval: Rightly or wrongly, MBRC has developed the reputation of approving just about any Development Application (DA) that comes before it regardless of how non-compliant it might be with the MBRC Planning Scheme. Voters commented during the election that communities have lost control of the direction of their communities and there needs to be greater adherence to the Planning Scheme. At the first meeting of Council, Mayor Flannery indicated this is one of his priority areas.

Here on Bribie Island, the review of the DA for an apartment complex at South Esplanade was the first major test of whether any change had occurred.  Those hoping for some change would have been greatly disappointed by MBRC’s approval of this non-conforming DA.  While the house on that site was not Heritage Listed, it was quite historic with strong links to one of Bribie’s pioneering families.  In addition, the approved apartment complex is quite out of character for that area.  By its decision on the South Esplanade application, MBRC has made it clear that in its decision making process, MBRC pays little attention to preservation of built environment.  And it pays even less attention to strict compliance with MBRC’s Planning Scheme.

MBI is waiting on some background documents regarding the South Esplanade decision and when those documents become available, MBI will have more to say on the subject.

But the big subject this week though is the application by Sandstone Point Hotel (SPH) to MBRC for yet another change in material usage for its site.  This time it is for use of part of the area as a helicopter landing site.  Approval by MBRC of this change could see +700 take-offs and landings each year.  In keeping with SPH’s practise with such change applications, SPH has undertaken no consultation with the local public who will be inconvenienced by this noise and intrusion.  SPH is not required by law to do that.  So it doesn’t do it.  A copy of the DA can be found at https://bit.ly/367K1II

At the same time as this SPH request is being presented to MBRC, a similar helicopter service on the Gold Coast is being asked to “show cause” why it should not be shut down because of noise complaints raised by residents over an extended period.  Details of the Gold Coast Experience can be found at https://bit.ly/36f9q3c.  It will be interesting to see if MBRC will pay any attention to the actions of the Gold Coast City Council on the issue of helicopter usage.

The Sandstone Point Hotel sits adjacent to the Pumicestone Passage and Moreton Bay.  These areas are supposed to be protected by a long list of protective legislation.  With all that protective legislation, these areas should be among the most protected areas in Australia.  Some of that long list of legislation can be found at https://bit.ly/3Azza8h  MBI is indebted to Bribie Island Environmental Protection Association (BIEPA) for this list.  The DA proponents would appear to have ignored the provisions of that legislation and the need for compliance.  It will be interesting to see if the appropriate Government Departments like the Department of Environment (State and Federal) and the Department of Civil Aviation decide to intervene.

This DA is yet another non-compliant DA to come before MBRC for review.  The proposed helipad area is currently zoned rural which does not allow usage for helicopter traffic.  So what will MBRC do?  Will MBRC insist on compliance with the MBRC Planning Scheme?  Will it throw the DA application out because it does not comply and tell the applicant not to come back?  Or will MBRC follow its normal path of approving just about anything that comes before it?  Or will it demand some minor changes and then claim some major concessions have been achieved?

And what will SPH do if this DA is rejected?  Will it run to the courts with a legal challenge?  Or will it run to the press with some claim that MBRC is “anti-business” or is “anti-tourism”.  Or will it accept MBRC’s decision?

Regardless of what happens on this DA application, one thing is certain.  There will be no consultation and/or discussion with the local residents before the next DA is lodged.  Whatever that might be for.

So what do readers think of this application?  Good for the area?  Too noisy?  Inappropriate?  Readers views are always welcome

Editor, MyBribieIsland

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