A high-end resort and tidal lagoon pool for Burnett Heads have been granted preliminary approval, with building heights capped at six storeys.
The application represents the second stage of the recently approved Burnett Heads Gateway Marina.
The resort, including restaurant and conference facilities, aims to complement the initial stage of the development which includes a marina, yacht club, retail and office space and short and long-term accommodation.
If constructed, the resort would sit alongside the initial Gateway Marina stage, just 150 metres from the Burnett Heads CBD.
The preliminary approval for the resort complex relates to a series of residential buildings proposed to be distributed along the waterfront.
A range of accommodation options would be provided for, including eight two storey eco-villas fronting the proposed man-made lagoon and eight three storey waterfront villas.
Two six-storey apartment buildings each containing 70 units and another two six-storey apartment buildings each made up of 85 units, are also proposed to cater to multiple units or short-term accommodation.
Bundaberg Regional Council Development Group Manager Michael Ellery said the application originally sought approval for a 10-storey resort building, but this had been approved with a limit of six storeys.
“While no detailed designs have yet been submitted for assessment, Council felt that a 10-storey building in this area would not be consistent with other building height provisions currently in place along the coastline, including the Planning Minister’s Temporary Local Planning Instrument,” Mr Ellery said.
“In April 2019 the Minister issued a reassessment of the Esplanade Jewel proposed in Bargara, regulating its construction to six storeys and providing a clear outline for acceptable development on the coast.
“As such, this preliminary approval has been granted with the condition that any building heights for this development be limited to six storeys, but should a developer continue to pursue higher development then it will be subject to impact assessment.
“This has the added benefit of ensuring the community can be part of the assessment process and will be invited to provide feedback regarding the detailed designs.”
Mr Ellery said in all other respects the proposal was deemed to be in keeping with the intended character of Burnett Heads.
“The retail uses proposed within this application would complement, rather than conflict with, the existing CBD businesses which would still be relied upon for day-to-day shopping needs,” he said.
“The foreshore promenade revealed in stage one of this development is proposed to continue through this complex and a pedestrian network connecting the waterfront has been included in the plans.”
Divisional representative Cr Tanya McLoughlin said the resort and marina development had been openly discussed with the community for many years.
“While there is always a diversity of opinions, generally speaking, most residents have accepted the development at this site would occur at some point,” Cr McLoughlin said.
“What they want is a development that aligns with the community’s character while providing for its future.
“Developing the site into a resort complex that naturally flows on from the neighbouring marina village and connects to the new town centre fits with the character of the area.
“The resort can be a real drawcard to the marina and boost the nearby businesses in the town centre.”
Cr McLoughlin welcomed a requirement for community consultation should the developer pursue development of building heights greater than six storeys.
The applicant, Sydney-based BH Developments, said the resort complex would balance the initial stage which would be the “commercial heart” of the marina development.
“Organic in its shape, the built form pattern respects and follows the line of the existing landform edge,” the applicant wrote.
“In this way the structure of the village can be regarded as a seamless whole, maintaining a natural and meaningful relationship with its surroundings.
“An east-facing boardwalk, which overlooks the marina, provides access to retail, commercial, restaurant and short-term accommodation facilities within, promoting a vibrant and interesting waterfront edge.”
The Burnett Heads resort proposal has been identified as a desirable outcome by landowner Gladstone Ports Corporation, outlined in its masterplan.
“The two areas, facing north-east onto the river and ocean, represent a unique opportunity to develop a world-class and environmentally in-tune residential and commercial development, providing much-needed employment and investment opportunities for the Bundaberg region,” the GPC masterplan said.
“Key features (of the masterplan include) improved riverfront and marina access, new public and green space, and new shopping, business and residential opportunities, providing significant economic and lifestyle benefits for the region.”
Within the preliminary approval, 30 conditions have been assigned to lighting controls.
The applicant requested the preliminary approval remain current for 12 years, doubling the standard six-year timeframe.
Mr Ellery said this was considered appropriate to allow sufficient time for further applications to be sought and for the development outcomes to be realised.