Council wants clarity on port development area
BUNDABERG'S significant turtle population has been outlined by the State Government as the main reason why such thorough development requirements apply to the region's coastline.
Planning and Development Minister Cameron Dick last month announced his intention to apply a Temporary Local Planning Instrument for any future developments that would override the council's planning scheme.
Mr Dick detailed the importance of turtle safety when he announced the Jewel development had been approved at six storeys. It had originally been planned at nine.
But the council's group manager of development, Michael Ellery, yesterday said he would like to see the standards from the Jewel development applied statewide.
Mr Ellery said the council's planning scheme contained provisions that sought to regulate lighting along the 1.5km stretch of coastline to mitigate light impacts, but feared turtles that washed up on neighbouring beaches would not be protected.
"Clearly the minister and his advisors thought those provisions weren't strong enough and are looking to bolster them further," Mr Ellery said.
"I think it highlights an issue that's across the whole state.
"Many planning schemes in our neighbouring councils and along the whole Queensland coast would be very similar to ours and in our submission back to the minister ...we've invited (the minister) to consider how similar provisions might be put in place for the whole of Queensland so all marine turtles are protected, not just ones that are nesting at Mon Repos.
"We think it would be a sensible thing to have a look at how these controls could be implemented across the state."
Mr Ellery said while the council welcomed the state's TLPI, it sought clarity about how it would affect future development at the port and surrounding State Development Area.
"At the moment the temporary planning instrument wouldn't apply to the State Development Area," Mr Ellery said.
"The development scheme that the State Government has put in place for the SDA doesn't contain very strong provisions around protecting sea turtles.
"Council feels that similar concerns would apply to the SDA and obviously the council is concerned that if restrictions are too tight, that the SDA and the port can't develop to their full potential."
Mr Ellery saidhe would like the minister to provide clarity on how the provisions would work.
Mr Dick yesterday responded to the council's turtle concerns saying Bundaberg was recognised internationally as a significant and unique area for turtle populations.
"It supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and has the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region," he said.
"This proposed development is close to the Mon Repos turtle sanctuary, which is a major economic asset for the Bundaberg region and for Queensland."
"Those turtles mean jobs. We want to protect turtles and we want to protect jobs."
The minister failed to comment on a Sunshine Coast development application that was last week approved in another significant turtle hotspot at Buddina. He will now consider Bundaberg council's submission before making a decision on the TLPI.