Petition against Bargara high-rise presented as D-day looms
IN A LAST-ditch effort to have their voices heard, a group of opponents to Bargara's proposed nine-storey development have presented Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey with a petition against the development.
More than 1700 people put their name to the petition, with a final decision on the project due on Monday.
Speaking on behalf of the group, George Martin said they appreciated Cr Dempsey took the time to speak to them and hear there concerns on his second day back in Bundaberg after leading council's visit to sister city Nanning in China.
"We presented the petition and impressed on the Mayor the importance of the councillors' decision, as highlighted by the signatories,” he said.
"Bargara is at a tipping point ... the coastal town's laid-back lifestyle is threatened by this development.
"If approved, the floodgates will open for more foreshore buildings of nine, or even more, storeys.
"Rumours of further proposals are already circulating.”
Mr Martin said the 1743 signatures, as well as 73 submissions against the development received by council, opposed to 10 for, showed community sentiment.
Petitioners urged the mayor and councillors to reject the proposal in its current form, citing concerns over light impacts on nesting and hatchling turtles and the lack of public comment opportunity or government scrutiny of the proposal.
How the application came to be code assessable was also questioned.
"The proposed building is three times the height of other Bargara buildings, and almost double the height of occasionally allowed fire-storey exemplary developments,” Mr Martin said.
The group also put to the mayor the region's important role in protecting its turtle population and it's importance to the economy.
"According to the Commonwealth Government's Recovery Plan for Marine Turtles 2017 - 2027, light pollution has been identified as the biggest threat to the nesting endangered loggerhead turtles and their hatchlings,” Mr Martin said.
"Our increasing coastal glow has been apparent for many years, and now appears to be reaching critical levels. If this development is approved in its current form it will inevitably add to the existing light pollution.
"Reduced sea-turtle numbers are a vital concern to Bargara coast tourism operators.
"Thirty-thousand annual Mon Repos visitors significantly contribute to making tourism the region's second most lucrative sector, second only to agriculture.
"The turtles are providing enduring employment in the Bundaberg region, employment that is at threat if their numbers continue to drop.”
But those delivering the petition were emphatic they were not opposed to development.
Instead they want the council to ensure that all future coastal development underpinned a legacy for the area that provides lasting jobs for young people and protects the coastal lifestyle that is the "real jewel in Bargara's crown”.
A decision on the high-rise will be made at council's ordinary meeting on Monday at 10am, at the RSL Community Hall, Mildern St, Gin Gin.