Economy on the rise

THE strength of the city’s economy was demonstrated again last week as Bundaberg Regional Council edged closer to approving another massive land development proposal.

Laguna Land Holdings applied in 2005 to develop 62.68ha of land in the Ashfield Road area off Elliott Heads Road, but was refused permission by the then Bundaberg City Council.

Among the reasons given were that the site was on the fringe of the city’s boundaries and too far away from water and sewerage services and other facilities.

There were issues with safe access to Elliott Heads Road, and the council said Laguna Land Holdings had failed to demonstrate a community need for the proposed development.

At the time of the application there was enough residential land in the city’s planning scheme.

Laguna Land Holdings appealed to the Planning and Environment Court against the decision, and since then the case has been continuing.

At a special council meeting last week Cr Ross Sommerfeld, portfolio holder for planning and development, said as the city’s growth had progressed eastward it was considered further negotiations could be held with Laguna Land Holdings.

He said the Main Roads Department was prepared to reconsider the issue of access to Elliott Heads Road.

Laguna Land Holdings had provided an amended needs analysis, and was prepared to provide sewerage facilities in line with the council’s requirements.

He said negotiations continued among Laguna, the council and the Main Roads Department since the application was refused.

Council planning and development director Andrew Fulton said once that issue had been sorted out the next question to consider was what the council wanted.

There was still the issue of need, since the development was not anticipated in the planning scheme.

Mr Fulton said the number of developments in the city was an indication of Bundaberg’s vigorous economy.

“We’ve weathered the financial crisis pretty well, and I suspect things will only improve,” he said.

‘Things are quieter than they were four or five years ago, but things in the city never hit rock bottom.”

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