Jewel opponents have one card left to play
THERE are supporters of the development and there are opponents of the height, but no community consultation has George Martin concerned.
"I'm not surprised that it's been approved, but really they didn't decide to approve it, they decided to do nothing,” Mr Martin said.
"It was deemed approved because of their inaction so I'm not privy with they mayor's statement but I'd suggest it's probably a large degree of turtle washing.”
Mr Martin was not surprised the application went ahead at nine storeys, given the developer had pushed his "nine or nothing” message the start.
"Obviously it doesn't sit very comfortable with us and it does set a precedent that will see many more nine-plus-storey buildings into the future,” he said.
"There was no community consultation whatsoever at any stage of the application, we only became aware of it at the end of July when it was the 11th hour and it was all but decided, so now, council, which failed to make a decision last Monday, left it to the CEO who failed to make a decision, so that it ended up deemed approved.
"And now we're seeing some sort of public relation exercise to suggest it's going to be all about protecting turtles and that will be a wonderful outcome, because there's much more than simply the turtles involved in this application.”
Mr Martin and other concerned residents were hoping the town plan would be applied to the development application.
"I think this will be a matter that will be resolved between the council and the developer which probably isn't a great situation for the community,” he said.
"I don't think the building complies, and I wouldn't want to try and condition it other than to keep it at 20m.”
The passionate community member said expansion was something that came with population growth, but he didn't think that was necessary yet.
"I don't think the demand is there at present,” he said.
"There are plenty of units for sale in the existing blocks at Bargara so flooding the market with more is not going to be in the interest for values for those units.”
Mr Martin said there was one card left to be played, and hoped the State Government and applicable ministers would provide the anti-highrise movement with a lifeline.
"We are desperately hoping the State Government will become involved because clearly the community hasn't been heard on this, there are some question marks about council's processes and how they arrived at this point, so we do hope that the State Government takes an interest at this stage,” he said.
Sea Turtle Alliance president Gary Brandon said they had tried to work collaboratively with the council but had not been able to co-operate on the Jewel application.
"We've been totally excluded... we haven't had any opportunity to have any input,” Mr Brandon said.
The STA president said they had worked with council on previous projects including the design of playgrounds and a street light project.
"We put in a $30,000 revamp of street lights that directly impacted on turtle beaches, that was with Ergon and council, so we are quite upset that this has gone through in such a way,” he said.
"If the council was serious about the fact they were looking after turtles they would have abided by the planning scheme which would have limited it to five storeys.
"STA would have been working on minimising light into the already critical glow that's impacting on the turtles.
"This has been nine storeys by stealth.”