Plans for a new workers’ camp, put forward as a caravan park, are under scrutiny at council.
Plans for a new workers’ camp, put forward as a caravan park, are under scrutiny at council.

'Caravan park' finds a loophole

THE Central Highlands Regional Council has discovered it is virtually powerless to deny camp developers exploiting a loophole in the former Duaringa Shire planning scheme’s definition of a caravan park stating, “Any combination of the parking of caravans or relocatable homes, camping or pitching of tents, or the use of cabins with a maximum total area of 80sq m for each cabin, whether for the travelling public or long-term residents.”

Councillors struggled to find options other than to defer an application on Monday as they made clear their opposition to a new 426-unit project in Blackwater boasting a meagre 20 van sites.

“They’re planning a large cabin and van site… but for all intents and purposes it is workers’ accommodation,” was how development services manager Luke Lankowski summed up.

“It’s fair to say this is a major failing of that planning scheme document identifying workers’ accommodation accurately.

Mr Lankowski said the planning department had pushed for 60% to be van sites in discussions with Neri Investments, but was hamstrung.

“In later discussion with the developer he was not keen on reducing the density of workers’ accommodation for the caravan park,” he explained, agreeing the project would not be approved under the ULDA interim planning scheme.

Neri bought the vacant greenfield 3ha site in 2009.

Its development application was lodged two days before the ULDA took over responsibility for the future development and master planning of Blackwater.

Mr Lankowski indicated he had a small ace up his sleeve in the form of condition 37 – which stipulates the maximum permitted length of stay at the facility was 28 days.

“(The condition) is going to be hard to police,” Mr Lankowski admitted.

The council-wide planning scheme to be introduced next year will redefine the definitions of caravan park and workers’ accommodation and development standards.

Attempts to contact Neri’s Rocco Pennisi Monday afternoon proved unsuccessful.


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