Beach battle: Homes win in two year fight with council
A BITTER fight over building rights along the Isaac coast has reached a settlement, with landowners finding a compromise in a new council planning scheme.
Carmila Beach resident Mark Stanger was one of more than 100 residents in Carmila and Clairview who found themselves on the wrong side of a development blueprint in 2018.
A State Government plan to future-proof coastal towns from climate change and erosion risks was incorporated into Isaac Regional Council's planning scheme, pushing the beachside residents into "high risk low development" zones.
Mr Stanger said the original plans barred residents from rebuilding or renovating.
He said even a simple shed was blocked under the proposed rules.
"If your house burned down, it was gone," he said.
But after two years of negotiations and meetings with the council, Mr Stanger said community formed a plan that was a "vast improvement" on the original scheme.
"If anything goes wrong we can still rebuild to the size of our current home," he said.
And improvements like a verandah or a shed could still be approved after engineering checks, he said.
Mayor Anne Baker said two years of community consultation had demystified the new scheme.
"We encourage residents to engage in conversation with council on how to balance the need for safe and resilient communities, while providing quiet enjoyment of land by property owners," she said.
"Red tape and limitations have been lifted through the combination of the three previous schemes into one set of common development policies across the region.
"Council needs a 21st Century planning system to deal with the challenges facing our communities."
Despite living just 50m from the shore, Mr Stanger was still sceptical he would be flooded, even in a one in 100-year extreme weather event.
"But in saying that we might get a monstrous king tide on top of a cyclone and then we'll be in trouble," he said.
"But then all of Mackay would be in trouble."
Mr Stanger said other councils had yet to implement the new coastal planning schemes, so the fight would move to beachfront homes in Mackay, Townsville and Cairns before long.
"Half of Mackay will be in the high risk area," he warned.
Mirani MP Stephen Andrew said it was unfair Isaac coastal residents were the first to go through the flood mapping reforms.
"It's rattling the cages in rural areas because there's less push back," he said.
"If it's going to do it (flood) in Clairview, what's going to happen to the 30,000 residents in Mackay?"