Palmer takes council to court over 'smelly' plans

 

Billionaire former federal MP Clive Palmer is fighting a Queensland council in court after it rejected his lucrative plan to build 3000 homes including 12 high-rises because it says the houses were too close to sewage works.

Palmer last week filed a notice of appeal in the Planning and Environment Court in Brisbane in a bid to overturn the Gold Coast City Council's (GCCC) refusal of his development application to create a new housing estate next to the Merrimac sewage plant.

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The mining magnate stands to make millions if he can succeed in getting development approval for the 57ha site which is mostly flood-prone and currently has deer, cattle and horses grazing on it.

In his appeal documents filed in court Mr Palmer describes council's refusal of his development he has dubbed Greenheart Gardens "is erroneous, unreasonable and unlawful".

He plans to build the homes on the now abandoned site of the Avica Resort and Spa which used to host wedding receptions.

Mr Palmer purchased the site, which is bounded by Gooding Dr to the west and Boowaggan Rd to the north, for about $11.5m a decade ago but if he is able to convince the GCCC to approve a residential housing development on the site in low-rise, semirural Merrimac it would be worth about $75m, even before building begins.

When Mr Palmer first submitted a development application to council five years ago he was planning on building 5000 dwellings, but this has was last year revised down to 3000.

He was also initially asking to build multistorey apartment blocks up to 30 storeys high but now he is planning for 12 eight-storey buildings.

"The site is largely flood-plain land with several drainage channels passing through," according to the amended development application Mr Palmer submitted to council in February last year.

Businessman Clive Palmer is trying to develop land he owns between 153 Gooding Drive and Boowaggan Road, Merrimac to be called Green Heart Gardens, Gold Coast City Council has currently blocked the development Picture Place Design Group
Businessman Clive Palmer is trying to develop land he owns between 153 Gooding Drive and Boowaggan Road, Merrimac to be called Green Heart Gardens, Gold Coast City Council has currently blocked the development Picture Place Design Group

On September 8 the GCCC rejected the plans, arguing that the homes would be too close to the Merrimac sewage plant and could be affected by smells, the homes "could disrupt" the flood plain, and there was not enough public transport with too much reliance on cars.

The site is 2.8km from Robina station and 3.4km from Robina Town Centre and is described as "compact".

Mr Palmer argues that changes made last year to his plans had shifted the houses further away from the Merrimac sewage plant and he argues that the stage three raising of the Hinze Dam "ought to be considered in the flood impact assessment for the proposal".

Under Mr Palmer's plan there will be homes over 18.2ha of the 57ha site.

Council received 14 submissions from residents about the development.

No defence has been filed by council and no date has been set for hearing.

Originally published as Palmer takes council to court over plans it finds too on the nose


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