THE Hervey Bay skyline could soon start to change after last night’s marathon council meeting.
Councillors voted to give preliminary approval to the development of a 16-storey building in Pialba.
Haven’t seen the animated fly through of the proposed development? Watch it here.
Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour and Division 6 Councillor David Lewis were the only two councillors who opposed the motion.
The outcome of 10.3.6 on the agenda opens the door (even if slightly so) for a high-rise building to go up in Charles Street.
The proposed development would include accommodation units above a shopping centre and food and drink outlets.
The motion to reduce the currency period from 10 years to four and allow up to 16 storeys was moved by Division 3’s Paul Truscott.
It was successful nine votes for, two against.
Councillors who voted in favour of the development said they needed to start looking at today to build for tomorrow.
Division 5 Councillor Jade Wellings and Division 4’s Daniel Sanderson spoke about changing sentiment within Hervey Bay and that there were people who would support and want to live in such accommodation.
Cr Wellings said retirees who were not yet ready to move into aged care, students without vehicles who wanted to walk to campus or have a drink at the tavern on the way home and nurses who worked 12-hour shifts and didn’t have the time to look after a garden, for example, might choose to live in apartments.
She said it was important that Hervey Bay was able to attract professionals and provide opportunities that would make the youth want to stay in town.
Deputy Mayor Darren Everard said the region was working on a number of projects that took the evolving nature of Hervey Bay into account and there was no point looking in the rearview mirror when moving forward.
He said Hervey Bay was not the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast.
“It is Hervey Bay. Always has been, always will be. It is our job to ensure that the development we encourage is fit for purpose,” said Cr Everard.
Cr Lewis said he was not opposed to the application, he just wanted to make it a better one.
He said the application was not compatible with the current planning scheme.
“The risk is that if this is built and nothing else is, we are going to end up with a 16-storey building and not much around it on a comparable scale. [The area] will look like a mouth with only one tooth.”
Cr Seymour was more critical of the decision.
“This is not compatible with the planning scheme for its use.”
The mayor said the site was not in the Knowledge Community and Cultural Precinct which would allow for the construction of a building of such magnitude but was only listed in the report as being “in the vicinity” of the precinct.
He said buildings of up to 16 storeys went against what the people who engaged in a previous public consultation on the proposal said they wanted.
Cr Seymour said the proposed development’s location had a height restriction of 26 metres.
“To go so far beyond it is not in the will of the people. I don’t think it is a good outcome.”
Cr Wellings responded by saying the planning scheme was developed around 10-years-ago and by reviewing it, Council would be able to give people what they want now.
“Ten-years-ago I was in real estate and I remember watching Council and thinking what are they doing to progress us.”