Paul Lucas.
Paul Lucas.

Megastore ruffles feathers

LOCAL Government Minister Paul Lucas has refused a request by a residents' group to call in the proposed Masters hardware megastore development in Kepnock.

The development is being considered by Bundaberg Regional Council, but a group of residents who live nearby say it is in the wrong place and will cause traffic problems as well as a loss of amenity for them.

Call-in powers mean the minister would take over the decision-making process from the council.

But in a letter to the residents' group's spokeswoman Mary Walsh, Mr Lucas said he had decided not to exercise his power this time.

Mrs Walsh said as a former city councillor, she could understand Mr Lucas's reluctance to take away the power from the local authority.

"This is controversial because it's in the wrong place," she said.

"If it were down the road, no one would object."

Mrs Walsh said the proposed siting of the store on the corner of Kepnock and Greatheads Rds meant the extra traffic would pose a threat to the safety of students at the nearby Kepnock High School.

She said because the developers of the store had been granted a six-month extension to provide more information to the council, the decision would be made by a new council and a new State Government.

Mrs Walsh said residents had now decided to involve state opposition members in their information campaign.

"Because there will be a new government in place when it is decided, in the interests of the school and the community we want to ensure the issues are more widely known," she said.

Council planning and development committee chairman Ross Sommerfeld said people needed to have faith in the system.

"We have expressed what areas we believe could be addressed," he said.

"Anything we can do to move forward in a positive way with the support of the residents we will do."

But Mr Lucas hit back at Mrs Walsh's bid to have the development called in.

"Councils and councillors go on long and loud about not wanting state interference in their planning processes, yet this individual wants me to take it over before it's even been considered," he said.

"On that logic there is no point in having a council at all."

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