Planning Minister Cameron Dick has approved the Jewel Esplanade development at Bargara with revised conditions and a height limit of six storeys after calling in the project late last year.
In his report, the Minister said discussions occurred with the applicant which resulted in design changes:
- Two discrete apartment buildings, one of which fronts Esplanade and one which is set back 50 metres from the Esplanade;
- A maximum building height of six storeys, with a maximum height of part of the building fronting Esplanade being five storeys;
- Two and three-storey townhouses fronting Burkitt and See Streets;
- Fifty-five units and 10 townhouses, with a change in the unit and townhouse mix, a reduction in the residential density and a reduction in residential gross floor area of 304 square metres;
- Changed vehicle access points from both Burkitt and See Streets in response to the changed built form.
Councillor welcomes Minister's approval
Bundaberg Regional Council planning portfolio spokesman Cr Ross Sommerfeld has welcomed the Minister’s approval.
Cr Sommerfeld said Mr Dick has made the right call.
“This decision vindicates my view that the development should not have been restricted to five storeys as many people argued,” Cr Sommerfeld said.
“The majority of councillors did not support the officers’ original recommendation to impose a 20-metre height limit.
“That’s what triggered the deemed approval process, which is fully in accord with legislation.”
Cr Sommerfeld said the approved design has the same number of units as originally proposed, but the commercial space has been removed.
“A lot of people will be disappointed there won’t be a rooftop bar,” he said.
“From my perspective, commercial accommodation in the building would have added to Bargara’s vibrancy, and I'm interested to see the Department's economic modelling.”
Cr Sommerfeld said the Minister’s approval unfortunately didn’t include the community benefit conditions imposed by Council.
Council’s original approval required the developer to deliver a community benefit through foreshore works including the creation of new car parking, pathways, landscaping, shelters, seating and landscaping of the roundabout at the intersection of the Esplanade and Burkitt Street.
Cr Sommerfeld said the Minister’s decision would have ramifications for future development.
The Minister notified Council this afternoon he is proposing a Temporary Local Planning Instrument for the Bargara coast, aimed at regulating building height and artificial light emissions with future development.
Cr Sommerfeld said Council would consider the Minister’s proposal.