BUILDING BOOM: The projects changing the face of Bundy
With a surge in residential and commercial developments keeping the local construction industry alive, growth in the Bundaberg region is more than building castles in the sky.
As various developments across the region start to be realised, the NewsMail reached out to a local town planner for his views on how the region is set to grow.
InsiteSJC principal town planner Shane Booth said recent incentives were driving significant growth in the housing sector.
Mr Booth said there was a "boom in building" with an uptake of sales and subsequent residential development of several large subdivisions and land holdings.
"This has actually led to a shortage amongst some trades and currently the majority of businesses within the construction and development industry are at almost full operational capacity," Mr Booth said.
"So far, the development industry at the local level has been unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic aside from a small downturn in March resulting from the economic uncertainty initially created by the pandemic.
"However, currently there is confidence in the market and reasonable growth and diversity of housing products."
He said there are several large coastal developments and subdivisions that were being developed, including the Headlands Estate, Investec and the Elliott Heads Estate.
Mr Booth said a drive around Bargara to Innes Park would indicate greenfield sites were being rapidly developed, particularly north of the new Hughes Road extension.
"In general, the coastal townships are experiencing moderate to high levels of growth particularly in Bargara and Innes Park," he said.
"Burnett Heads is also set to see growth with the redevelopment of the Marina area, this development should offer a point of difference for Burnett Heads with a mix of retail, multi-rise and residential development.
"There are also large infill areas being developed such as the 200-lot subdivision at Kalkie that aligns with Council's forward planning as represented through the Kalkie-Ashfield Growth Area."
He said there was also a number of sites being developed for residential purposes in the Branyan Growth Area.
The diversity of the housing market is also evident by the growth in the active retirement community sector, with the RV Lifestyle Oceanside and the Spring Lakes Resort projects.
Mr Booth said the downstream affect of the growth in the housing sector was continued growth in the community sector with several healthcare services being developed.
These includes the medical centre on Johanna Boulevard, Dr Jai's eye clinic, and the further development of the Friendlies Hospital and the IWC.
"A strong community sector reflects growth in the population and general confidence in the region as Bundaberg positions itself as a region that can offer all of the services found in the larger cities of the southeast," he said.
"A broad range of community services also leads to further growth in the population as the region remains a popular alternative to the southeast.
"There is also confidence in the short-term accommodation market with recent approvals including the Airport Hotel, the redevelopment of the Meekak site and other multi-rise development such as the 9-storey Quay Residences."
Within the short-term accommodation market there has also been continued growth in the backpacker and student accommodation sector.
Mr Booth said continued growth in this sector was important in supporting the region's tourism industry and agricultural sector.
The redevelopment of the SSS Tower and City Arcade on Bourbong St is also set to contribute to revitalisation of the CBD.
He said the rural sector was also growing with Rural Industry developments like Greensill's "large-scale facility".
Mr Booth said a number of existing facilities were also increasing the size of their operations including macadamia, strawberry and sweet potato packing facilities.
There are also planned large scale developments with the relocation of the Bundaberg Brewed Drinks facility, the plans for a new hospital, the redevelopment of the Recreational Precinct and the Aquatic Centre.
"These projects would provide a boost to employment and provide significant economic stimulus," he said.
"In general Bundaberg is fairing quite well compared with other regions and the development and construction industry is stable with growth in housing and accommodation projected to continue into the next term."