Defending Infrastructure Charges

April 16th, 2012

I have been waiting for the criticism from the development industry to ramp up in the lead up to this election and it seems I don’t have to wait any longer. Rod Cullen (FCC 16/412), states that I in particular, and some of my colleagues are entirley responsible for the economic downturn in Hervey Bay.
Readers may not realise that Mr Cullen is a consultant for the development industry. But to quickly reply to some of his claims.
FCRC did not suddenly raise charges for development. The charges were raised with advice and consultation from the development industry. The charges were under negotiation for years so the development industry was very aware that the charges would rise. However the charges were phased in and hefty discounts given to developers by Council as Council was fully aware of the adverse impact on development that the increases could bring. I supported the introduction of the State Government directed charges to ensure that our ratepayers were not left with the huge financial burden of funding infrastructure costs that, in my opinion, should be paid for by developers.
Recently Council has provided discounted charges to Stocklands, to St Stephens for the new hospital and for Torbay as it redevelops. Council is doing what it can to sesnsibly assist these welcome and necessary developments.
Yes Mr Sprake had expected his land to be rezoned. It wasn’t rezoned by the previous Woocoo Council and the new FCRC Council did take time to agree to the rezoning of this rural land. Personally I am not in favour of rural land being continually rezoned for more and more housing. Suitable land apropriately zoned is available for development and this land should be developed first.
Mr Huerta would have gained an approval if his development met the requirements of our Planning Scheme. Maybe his consultants and advisers at the time were at fault but an application for 4 blocks rather than 6 may have solved all his problems.
I also believe that this Council is processing development applications promptly and efficiently as our statistics reflect. I will not, as a rule, support development that does not comply with the current Planning Schemes. I also believe some criticism of Council for past development application processes is warranted but those times are gone. This Council is acting responsibly and pro actively. The reasons for our economic downturn are mostly beyond our control but this Council is doing what it can to stimulate needed development without placing a heavier burden on our residents and rate payers.

One Response to “Defending Infrastructure Charges”

  1. Colin Burton 16 Apr 2012 at 8:28 am

    I am sure that I am not the only ratepayer, and voter, in the Fraser Coast Council area who feels that the developer of land for profit by subdivision or commercial development should bear each and EVERY dollar of he infra- structure costs . Not only the costs of providing services to the subject land but also if appropriate to the expansion of up-line facilities to cope with the new extra demand put on them. It is a part of his input costs and reflects in the price of the end product. Taxpayers do not subsidise the input costs of manufacturers, retailers, so why should they subsidise developers ? It is different with a hospital, or a not for profit institution. Stocklands is ‘for profit’ and so are new and at this moment unnecessary housing subdivisions. They profit – we dont – so they should pay. The public purse is not bottomless, WE have to fill it !

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