Anti-Adani lawyers weigh in on Bargara high-rise
A LEGAL group lobbying against the Adani mine will address opponents of the proposed Bargara high-rise just days before a vote is held to determine if it will go ahead.
With a decision on the controversial nine-storey Jewel Bargara Esplanade application set to be made at Bundaberg Regional Council's meeting in Gin Gin on Monday, September 24, officers from the Environmental Defenders Office will speak in Bargara the preceding Monday.
The EDO's law reform spokeswoman, Reven Pointon, yesterday said the community had been locked out from having a say on the proposal and there were limited legal options available if it was approved because it had been classified as code accessible.
The six-to-nine storey mixed-use project is slated for the large corner parcel of land along the Esplanade, Burkitt and See Sts.
The NewsMail understands the project's principal developer, Sheng Wei, will be in Bundaberg today.
Project opponent George Martin said the EDO's forum was "fortuitous timing”.
He said the proposal exceeded planning scheme height regulations, threatened turtles and council officers had recommended against approving previous versions of the application.
The key element of height hadn't been altered.
"We suspect the project will be approved,” Mr Martin told the NewsMail.
He said the project hadn't been canvassed with the EDO at this stage, though he was "looking forward to their insights” and "what redress is available” if the green light was given.
"The project would have not received the community fallout if the public had been consulted and it had been restricted to five storeys,” he said.
Mr Martin said he was concerned more developments of a similar nature would follow if this one was approved.
Ms Pointon said the purpose of the Bargara meeting, part of a regional tour, was to get locals more active in key decisions shaping the environmental future.
She said she understood the community had been locked out on the Jewel application and it was "regretful” that it would have such a "significant impact on the area”.
"Unfortunately there are very few formal rights to get involved in this process,” Ms Pointon said. We want people to understand how laws work.”
She said development applications were increasingly classified as "code accessible”, meaning the community didn't have the ability to speak out or appeal a decision.
Ms Pointon urged people to write their concerns directly to the council.
She called for people to more active when planning schemes were drawn to ensure they had a greater voice in the future.