The Burnett Heads Gateway Marina is set to transform the town's foreshore into a tourism, shopping and accommodation hub.
Bundaberg Region Council today approved a Material Change of Use for Mixed Use Development, lodged by Sydney-based BH Developments.
The project encompasses six buildings and a marina berth development that will change the face of the coastal community.
A master-planned harbour village, the development is proposed to be constructed in stages. It will include a residential precinct with low-rise apartments, waterfront villas and a hotel resort.
The initial stage will see 28 short-term accommodation units, shops and offices built in addition to one of the five story residential and short-term accommodation buildings, incorporating 36 units.
Stage two would see a further two of the five story accommodation buildings developed, providing an additional 48 units.
The third stage would deliver offices, a yacht club, shops, restaurants and a bar with a total ground floor area of 1202 sq metres.
Stage four, and the final stage of the development relevant to this application, would add more retail, office and restaurant and bar space totalling 1484 sq metres.
Future stages of this project have been identified but are not included in this development application.
The applicant has also already obtained approval for the “wet works” associated with the Gateway Marina with dredging underway to deliver a 318 berth state of the art marina with a 24-hour fuel dock.
The Burnett Heads Gateway Marina would be located just 400 metres from the Burnett Heads CBD on a Gladstone Ports Corporation owned site which incorporates the former Blue Water Club and the current Volunteer Marine Rescue office.
Designs show a public pathway to be constructed along the water’s edge which takes full advantage of the marina views and extends right into the CBD.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said the scale of the development was a game changer for the port area and was testament to the potential of the vastly under-utilised asset.
“The Gateway Marina development is a very significant project, not just for the Burnett Heads community but for the entire region,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“This has the potential to attract more businesses and professional services to the area and create a lifestyle that is going to make Burnett Heads one of the most sought-after destinations for residents and tourists alike.
“The Burnett Heads Gateway Marina will be a massive drawcard for our region and will encourage further investment and growth.”
Throughout the applications process the applicant said Burnett Heads was the ideal location for the Gateway Marina development.
“As a landmark development, the Marina Village will provide a lifestyle choice, business investment choice and recreation/leisure choice that is not currently available in the region,” the applicant said.
“In conjunction with the associated marina development, it will be a magnet for the national and international cruising fraternity.
“It will inject tourists and their business into Burnett Heads specifically and Bundaberg generally with consumable and investment dollars.”
The applicant said the goal was to create a community focal point for Burnett Heads.
“The Burnett Harbour Marina Village will provide leisure shopping with a predominance of marina-related commercial and community activity eg chandlery, boat brokerage, yacht club, pavilion dining.
“The Burnett Harbour Marina Village will draw people to Burnett Heads by water and by road which will benefit local businesses through the injection of external funds.”
Council’s Development Group Manager Michael Ellery said the complex application was submitted in 2018 and had undergone community consultation and assessment by various government agencies.
“This is a regionally significant development that seeks to take full advantage of a unique and stunning location with the potential to make Burnett Heads a destination of choice for tourists,” Mr Ellery said.
“The applicant seeks to create a landmark development for the Bundaberg Region incorporating a master planned harbour village precinct with retail, office, club, cafe, recreation and short and long-term accommodation in a marina setting.
“To do so, the applicant will construct architecturally designed buildings that range in height from single level to five levels.
“The development would provide a base for marine based tourism experiences already popular in this area, such as the Lady Musgrave Experience.
“Modern accommodation will encourage more tourists and residents to stay in this area, providing a boost for the local economy.
“It is considered that these uses help to achieve desirable strategic outcomes for the area which has vast untapped potential.”
Mr Ellery said the Burnett Heads Gateway Marina would create spaces for the community to enjoy.
“Public access and open space was a particular consideration in this assessment process.
“A portion of land on the western side of this site has been dedicated to Council as parkland for use by the broader community.
“The inclusion of a foreshore promenade guarantees that public access can be maintained between Burnett Heads, the development area and the port.
“The ground floor of the buidings within the development will also largely belong in the public realm and will be home to uses like retail, cafes, bars and offices.
“This pathway will connect to existing pathways that extend into the CBD with the existing shopping centre within easy walking distance of new residents and visitors.
“The proposal includes upgrades to Harbour Esplanade and the provision of a bus bay. This will improve connectivity between the greater port area and the Burnett Heads township.”
He said when assessing a development of this scale there were many things to be considered.
“We have taken into consideration potential impacts on the area including to existing businesses and how this development can support the existing character of the community,” Mr Ellery said.
“Council has conditioned the retail section of this development to ensure no “high order” commercial use can be incorporated.
“Essentially what this means is that any retail use in this area will support the tourism and lifestyle aspect of the marina development but will not directly compete with the existing businesses in the town centre which will still be relied upon for day to day and weekly shopping needs.”
Environmental impacts were another significant factor within the development assessment.
“The Burnett Heads Gateway Marina is located close to three turtle nesting sites and, as such, 30 conditions have been placed on this development for lighting alone.
“The application itself outlines strict light reduction measures including a requirement for indoor lighting to be blocked through use of blinds, curtains or shutters and outdoor lighting to be switched off after 9 pm during turtle nesting season.
“The applicant also engaged Pendoley Environmental to prepare a Marine Turtle Management Plan.
“The submitted turtle management plan recommended that during the detailed design of the development, qualified turtle biologists collaborate with professionally qualified lighting engineers and designers.
“This combined with the northern outlook of the development is considered adequate to ensure it does not negatively impact the behaviour of nesting turtles.”
Mr Ellery said that whilst the heights of the accommodation buildings were something new for Burnett Heads, they were in keeping with the local area plan which had received support from the community and also with maximum building heights elsewhere along the Woongarra coast.
Burnett Heads Gateway Marina at a glance:
Offices, yacht club, shops, restaurants and bar with a total GFA of 1202m2.
Proposed uses for the ground floor include convenience store, chandlery, fashion, gifts/souvenirs. A yacht club is envisioned for the first floor with office space on the second floor.
Short term accommodation (28 units), shops and offices (GFA of commercial uses 648m2)
Proposed uses include broker, real estate, café/bakery and administration on the ground floor and serviced rooms on the first and second floors.
Shops, Restaurants, offices and bars with a GFA of 1484m2.
The ground floor could incorporate a takeaway, retail and restaurant with outdoor dining pavilion. The first floor will house offices and a gymnasium with spa.
Buildings A and B will be connected by a large atrium that defines the public entrance to the village centre and the marina.
Multiple dwelling units and Short term accommodation (36 units)
Residents car parking is provided within basements under each residential building.
Multiple dwelling units and short-term accommodation (24 units)
Multiple dwelling units (24 units).
Apartment living (buildings D, E and F)
Three apartment buildings will be distributed along the waterfront to the east of the commercial centre. These are four and five level residential buildings available for both permanent occupation and short-term accommodation. The buildings are angled in plan shape and offset from each other to create an interesting and sinuous built edge. All apartment buildings have underground car parking.
A foreshore promenade footpath extends for the full harbour frontage of the development site. Public pathways connect Harbour Esplanade to the promenade.
Because of its location, a condition of approval for the Gateway Marina development requires that construction of the stage located where the existing VMR building is will not be undertaken until the new VMR premises is operational.