The proposed development dubbed the Bargara Jewel.
The proposed development dubbed the Bargara Jewel. Contributed

Golf clubhouse renovation hinging on Jewel decision

THE immediate future of Bargara Golf Club's clubhouse could hinge on the whether the Bargara Jewel high-rise approval is left undisturbed by the State Government.

Developers keen to invest in transforming the clubhouse are waiting on the outcome of the application.

A single line in the club president's report for December seemingly confirmed the controversial Jewel development would signal investment confidence in the region and pave the way for other projects.

"The joint-venture group has requested an extension of time pending the outcome of the Jewel project,” the report informed members.

On Friday, newly elected president Janine Smith remained tight-lipped, declining to comment further, but it is understood the club is considering all options for the clubhouse.

In October Ms Smith told the NewsMail improving the clubhouse would be among her top priorities.

"We have a lot of issues with our clubhouse that need a lot of work on,” she said.

"We have put together a development option paper and have had expressions of interest.

"We've signed a confidentiality agreement.

"We have a lot happening in the near future.”

There have been persistent suggestions that if Jewel was allowed at nine storeys it would set a precedent for further projects.

However, the NewsMail understands the clubhouse investment is looking at the Jewel application as a sign of confidence, with no suggestion its plan includes a nine-storey project.

The Jewel Bargara high-rise was deemed to be approved in October after no decision by Bundaberg Regional Council was made by within the time frame, and it passed by default.

The "highly unusual” approval process caught the attention of the State Government, which also raised concerns about whether the conditions then imposed by the council adequately addressed the region's turtle population.

"There has been overwhelming concern from the community in relation to this planned development - regarding both the impact it may have on local turtle populations, and the highly unusual approval route taken by Bundaberg Regional Council,” Planning Minister Cameron Dick said in November, when he announced he proposed to call in the project.

Whether the project is called in will be determined before the new year.

The minister's office previously said if it was called in, it would be assessed against the planning scheme and the current maximum five-storey or 20m guideline.

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