CONTROVERSY: Opponents of the Jewel development at Bargara say the application should have been made impact assessable, not code assessible, so the community could have its say.
CONTROVERSY: Opponents of the Jewel development at Bargara say the application should have been made impact assessable, not code assessible, so the community could have its say. Contributed

DECISION TIME: Future of high-rise to be decided today

THE future of the Bargara Jewel development is set to be announced today.

The decision, which was expected to be decided at last Monday's council meeting, was passed over to Bundaberg Regional Council CEO Steve Johnston after councillors failed to make a decision.

Mr Johnston was expected to decide the fate of the proposed nine-storey development before midnight Friday, however no announcement was made.

A council spokesman said Mr Johnston would take the long-weekend to review files and make a final call today.

But a source close to the developer said a "deemed approval” of the application for nine storeys would come into effect as of the start of business today.

While most residents are eagerly awaiting today's decision, some are questioning the merits of the application altogether.

The controversial application was submitted as a "code assessable” project, which meant it was subject to a "tick and flick” assessment against specific benchmarks required for acceptable development.

At nine storeys, opponents say the development should never have been considered a code assessable development.

Under section 6.2.3.3 of the Bundaberg Regional Council Planning Scheme 2015, table 6.2.3.3.1 lists the benchmark criteria for assessable developments.

Performance outcomes for the building height and build form section states:

"Development has a medium-rise built form that is compatible with the existing and intended scale and character of the surrounding area.”

Acceptable outcomes for the building height and build form section states:

"Residential development and mixed use buildings have a maximum building height of (a) 3 storeys and 11m in Bargara; and (b) 5 storeys and 20m in Bundaberg.

Note - in Bargara, the assessment manager may favourably consider residential development and mixed use buildings to have a maximum building height of up to five storeys and 20m for exemplary development that displays architectural design excellence in terms of sustainable, sub-tropical and coastal design elements; and has demonstrable community benefit.”

Bundaberg Regional Council's website states that "where a proposal does not comply with the acceptable outcomes or performance outcomes of an applicable code, development can still comply with the code if it complies with the purpose and overall outcomes of the code.”

Alternatively, the development application could have been submitted as "impact assessable”, which would have required a community consultation process.

Impact assessable developments are assessed against all elements of the planning scheme relevant to the proposed development.

This may include the relevant zone code, local plan code, use code and any relevant overlay codes and other development codes.

The proposed high-rise, which includes units, townhouses, shops and a rooftop bar, was first lodged in February.

It is slated for a large block bordered by the Esplanade, Burkitt St and See St.



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