New scheme gets nod

ECONOMIC growth, job creation and flexibility are key elements of the planning scheme adopted by Bundaberg Regional Council.

The planning scheme announcement dominated discussion at an ordinary meeting of council yesterday as the document, five years in the making, was finally given the seal of approval.

The new planning scheme replaces the four existing planning schemes for the four former councils of Bundaberg City, Burnett Shire, Isis Shire and Kolan Shire.

There was a palpable sense of relief within the council chambers from all councillors after planning and development spokesman Ross Sommerfeld finished listing off the items related to the matter.

Cr Sommerfeld said one of the many positive outcomes was the scheme's ability to allow more flexibility and less red tape in basic planning issues.

"After seven-and-a-half years of amalgamation this was the one big issue that was unresolved," a clearly excited Cr Sommerfeld said.

"It's a plan that reflects a vision for the whole region.''

Cr Sommerfeld said 314 submissions were made, of which 54 related to the flood hazard overlay positions.

"There were four areas we had to address and one of those was flood mapping and that is an ongoing work in progress," he said.

"We have fine-tuned the model to make sure the flood line actually refers to the 2013 flood event.

"What we have done now is use a photography overlay to make sure we have every property covered. As a result, about 600 properties were included in the flood area and about 3000 properties were excluded."

Urban Development Institute of Australia Bundaberg president Bill Moorhead said the plan brought Bundaberg into the 21st century.

"It's great news because the old scheme was antiquated and cumbersome,'' he said.

"One of the main things is the potential for people to get things approved quickly and simply."

Mr Moorhead said he hoped the flexibility of the scheme would allow for reviews of it into the future.

"The council says we are open for business and this scheme means we will be," he said.

Cr Sommerfeld said the scheme was expected to have a lifespan of 16 years with regular reviews to ensure its relevancy.

He said there had been many stumbling blocks to overcome, including three changes of State Government.

The scheme comes into effect on Monday.

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