Rural zones eyed for development

TO cater for the estimated 16,000 Bowen Basin population influx, the Isaac Regional Council said it would "rethink" its planning scheme to allow development in rural zones.

IRC Mayor Cedric Marshall said the council must act now if it is to manage the population growth and rapid rate of expansion.

"We must make sure our decisions guarantee the most intergenerational social and economic benefit for our communities and reflect their changing needs," Cr Marshall said.

"We have a diverse population in our communities, and we need to be versatile in our planning and cater for the needs across the board."

At the last council meeting, the IRC passed a resolution permitting it to consider large accommodation village applications within the rural zone. The move has been labelled a "proactive step" towards managing future growth, and is a change from the previous Belyando Scheme.

Landholders will be consulted throughout the process, and Cr Marshall said detailed negotiations would have to take place to assess the feasibility of the policy change.

He said recent Adaptive Communities consultations solidified the community's concern of a balance between residents and non-resident workers.

"For the balance of residents and non-residents to be upheld, we must rethink possible zonings for accommodation centres within the region," Cr Marshall said.

The Urban Land Development Authority is currently working to develop the council land west across Grosvenor Creek in Moranbah.

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