‘SLEEPING GIANT’: What marina vote means for Burnett Heads
The proposal for a "landmark development" at Burnett Heads has wind in its sails.
During the Bundaberg Regional Council's ordinary meeting today, Stage 1 of The Gateway marina development application was given approval.
Bundaberg Regional Council's development group manager Michael Ellery said the council's decision to approve Stage 1 of the marina development included a commercial village hub and three multistorey accommodation buildings which are set to cater for short-term accommodation and permanent residential apartments.
BH Developments QLD Pty Ltd is the applicant for the Material Change of Use for Mixed Use Development (Burnett Harbour Marina Village) at 67 Harbour Esplanade.
The first stage of the proposed Gateway Marina includes offices, a yacht club, shops, restaurants and a bar proposed for one of the buildings.
Short term accommodation (28 units), shops and offices are outlined for a second building.
While shops, restaurants, offices and bars are set to fill a third building.
Three additional buildings are pegged for various types of accommodation.
As outlined in the council's agenda, the proposal states building heights vary between 1-2 storeys, 3 storeys, and 4-5 storeys.
"This is a huge development, it comes off the back of an earlier approval that council gave some time ago for the marina berths, and the work has started on dredging the harbour area to facilitate the construction of those," he said.
"This will provide the landside components that will turn Burnett Heads into a great tourist destination."
Mr Ellery said the approval for hundreds of berths at the marina, would also cater for mega yachts.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said this approval was the continuation of the positivity occurring across the whole region.
"Our economic growth is above the state and federal average whereas in previous years, going back over four years ago, we were in the negative," he said.
Hoping to continue that momentum, Cr Dempsey wished those working on the project success.
"If you looked at how Burnett Heads was only a matter of four to five years ago, compared to what it is now and how it's going to be in the future, it's certainly is a very lovely place to live," he said.
Cr Dempsey said "Burnett Heads has been a sleeping giant for many years" and there had been a lot of planning and consultation throughout the years for this development.
Mr Ellery said Burnett Heads had been emerging over time as a hotspot for development opportunities, with council investing in the Rubyanna Wastewater Treatment Plan and the streetscape upgrades in the township's centre.
"I think Burnett Heads' time has come," he said.
As there were submitters on this project, there is an appeal period on the approval.
Should the development proceed past the appeal period, Mr Ellery said the project had a few more steps to undertake; including approval for civil engineering works and their building works.
While the initial green light from council is a step towards realising the Gateway Marina, it comes with myriad conditions.
"First and foremost we want to make sure the developer delivers the quality project that's been promised," he said.
"So making sure the buildings, landscaping, the finishes on both their private assets but [also] the public realm improvements are high quality …
Mr Ellery said there was a comprehensive marine management plan done by an expert ecologist who submitted a report to council with 30 conditions attached to the development.
He said the council would require compliance with all of those from designing and installing lights that were turtle friendly, making sure lights are turned off at certain times during nesting season.
In what has been deemed as a first for the local council, Mr Ellery said they required the developer to do a pre-development and post-development audit to ensure there was no increase in light glow from the project.
Should the plan for the Gateway Marina become a reality, it would mean a jobs for the region and long-term benefits for the local tourism sector.
He said it would make sense for the varying types of construction jobs to be sourced locally.
Mr Ellery said having this type of accommodation on a boat harbour facility with easy access to natural attractions like Lady Musgrave Island was something currently missing.
He said it would also create a destination for locals in the Bundaberg region.
Detailing the extensive community consultation throughout this project, Cr Dempsey thanked the Burnett Heads residents for their input.