Controversy over vote

THE application for a helipad at a Bargara residential address has again been deferred for another three weeks, Masters has been approved for an extension on its construction start date and Segway tours in Bargara have been given the green light

These were just three of the decisions handed down across two heated Bundaberg Regional Council meetings yesterday.

What started on a light note with the unanimous approval of Innes Park man Matt Dempsey's application for personal mobility device (also known as Segways) tours for Bargara soon turned sour.

As the ordinary meeting came to a close and the 11 councillors broke off for morning tea, community members present were ushered into a room for the half-hour wait before the planning meeting.

With two representatives from Insite SJC who developed the Bargara helicopter application waiting among a small but passionate crowd of community members it wasn't long before questions came firing at the pair over how they could support client Peter Perry's proposal.

Geoff Campbell of Insite SJC told one person he was not capable of a rational argument and said he would remain silent until the planning meeting started.

Back inside the meeting room it soon became clear that no side would have a win as meeting chair, planning and development spokesman Ross Sommerfeld, said Mr Perry himself had, that morning, requested the council "stop the decision making period before the decision is made".

Cr Sommerfeld told the councillors the request was "not uncommon".

Bargara divisional representative Greg Barnes quickly rose from his chair.

Cr Barnes had submitted his second notice of motion to the meeting recommending the council reject the application.

The first notice of motion Cr Barnes submitted was trumped by Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman last month when he switched the meeting order and won a vote to defer the item to yesterday's meeting.

But if the majority of the councillors agreed to Mr Perry's request to have any decision on his application deferred, Cr Barnes' motion would again be trumped, this time by the applicant himself.

"This is extraordinary," Cr Barnes said, while speaking against the motion to again defer the decision.

"I've never seen anything like this in my life."

Deputy Mayor David Batt interrupted and called for a "point of order" stating it was not out of the ordinary for the council to consider an applicant's request to have an application put on hold.

And with a majority vote in support of Mr Perry's request to hold the decision, it was carried.

An angry resident was then escorted from the meeting room.

Later, Masters' second application to extend its 50% Bundaberg Open for Development discount period was then presented and attracted a unanimous council vote.

The hardware giant must now have "substantial commencement" of its FE Walker St store by August 31, an extension from its original date of March 31.



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