RENEGED: Bundaberg councillors voted unanimously to not refund 50% of the fee.
RENEGED: Bundaberg councillors voted unanimously to not refund 50% of the fee. Paul Donaldson BUN010716BUDG1

Claims council reneged on offer to refund thousands

A NOT-FOR-PROFIT organisation has accused Bundaberg Regional Council of not honouring its word to have a $6000 development fee slashed by half.

Bundaberg Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Housing and Advancement Society had a successful development application to convert an existing shed into a small office space at 33 Hunter St.

An application fee of $6070 was paid.

In a letter addressed to Bundaberg Regional Council in September last year, the society's Phillip Watson said at the time of a pre-lodgement meeting in 2014, a council representative told him that because the society was registered as a charity organisation, that 50% of the application fee - $3035 - would be refunded to the organisation.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the society said it was "disappointed that council did not honour its word” regarding the application fee reduction.

In a report tabled to the council at its ordinary meeting on Tuesday, the council refuted claims a council officer had agreed to a refund and councillors voted unanimously to not refund 50% of the fee.

A council spokesman said "council officer time” used in advancing the application absorbed the application fee.

"Council, in line with its policy to offer 50% discount on infrastructure charges to not-for-profit organisations, did provide a discount of $2423 to the society,” the spokesman said.

Mr Watson also wrote that "unreasonable parking arrangements” were imposed on the society as part of the application.

"The planning officer was insistent the parking office use be located within the confines of the tenant's front yard,” Mr Watson said.

"Indeed, the society will be called upon to bitumen the road on Hunter St whereas the council's approval is insisting on access and egress from Buss St.

"So while we cannot utilise the Hunter St for parking arrangements we must pay for to have Hunter St paved.

"Is that really fair?”

The council spokesman said the society had requested what amounts to a change to its current development approval in relation to the required parking arrangements.

"Council has advised the society of the appropriate method of applying for this change and has forwarded the society the relative application form,” he said.



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