President of the Burnett Heads progress association Terry Kelly and his wife Karen, and the beautiful view from their dining room window.
President of the Burnett Heads progress association Terry Kelly and his wife Karen, and the beautiful view from their dining room window. Scottie Simmonds

Coast growth to focus on Bargara

ELLIOTT Heads, Moore Park and Coral Cove could be the big losers in a major state government plan designed to drive development in the region over the next 20 years.

Instead, Bundaberg and Bargara have been identified as the major centres for growth.

The Draft Wide Bay Burnett Regional Plan has been released for comment, with submissions due in by Christmas Eve.

Bundaberg Regional Council is due to meet today to discuss the plan, but planning and development committee chairman Ross Sommerfeld has warned the plan is too rigid and does not give the council the flexibility to design regional growth the way it wants.

Cr Sommerfeld said the plan also ignored blocks of land that were ripe for development.

“Let’s not hold back the people who want to do things,” he said.

Cr Sommerfeld said Coral Cove, for instance, had been given no extra room for growth, even though there were hundreds of blocks ready for approval.

“We should be able to have them come on stream,” he said.

He said as the council prepared to spend millions on infrastructure, such as a coastal water treatment plant, he was concerned about how it could recoup the money without strong growth in the area.

“We’re going to have to borrow this money, which means we need to get development happening sooner rather than later,” he said.

“Under this plan developers haven’t been given the scope where they can feel secure about doing developments.”

Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch said she was “reasonably pleased” with the plan.

“We have been given a commitment that we can review it in five years,” she said.

“All we can do at this point is work with landholders who are going to develop land in the near future and go back to the state government and argue their case.

“The whole intention of the plan is to make sure we don’t have ad hoc development in places that we can’t service.”

Cr Pyefinch said the plan estimated the region’s population would grow by 58,000 people by 2031, which meant about 25,000 homes would have to be built.

“From the point of view of the construction and residential housing sectors that’s extremely positive,” she said.

Long-time Elliott Heads resident Bill Murray, who has seen the plan, said he was disappointed there was no major growth for the area.

“We need development to pay for rates and infrastructure,” he said.

“You can’t have development elsewhere and expect Elliott Heads residents to pay for it with their rates.”

Burnett Heads Progress Association president Terry Kelly said he was happy with the pace of development in the area.

“Not a great deal is going to happen until the place is sewered,” he said.

“I think you’ll see a lot of activity then.

“There’s plenty of room here, and things are starting to go ahead.”

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