Town plans suspended

THE Central Highlands council has suspended all town planning delegated decisions involving development on flood-affected land in Emerald and surrounds.

The move will stand until clear policy is formulated, and could lead to short delays with processing conceded Mayor Peter Maguire.

Delegations will now go to a full meeting of council for consideration.

Development Services manager Luke Lankowski put the resolution to last Monday’s meeting.

“(That) council resolve to suspend delegations for the decision of applications, material change of use and reconfiguration of lot on land known to be in flood-affected areas until such time a policy is adopted with respect to minimum accepted floor heights,” he said.

Mr Lankowski said new developments would have to conform to an “acceptable” floor level above the flood events of 2008 and 2010/11.

“Whether that be 600mm, 300mm or one metre above, that is yet to be determined,” he said.

“The issue we face here is we don’t have flood heights for the whole area.

“If we get a development application for Mayfair Ridge we know that wasn’t flood-affected, but if we have a block of land in Baker or Kidd St, we know that has to go straight to council.

“Once a policy is accepted by council, a delegation could be put back in place.”

The last approved delegated decision made by the planning department was to create six lots from 304.74 hectares of a rural conservation lot on the Nogoa River floodplain. “The site certainly was affected by the 2010-11 flood event,” Mr Lankowski said.

“… it does raise legitimate concerns about how we’re processing applications in flood-affected areas.

“Until council sets policy and clear parameters on what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.”

CHRC chief executive officer Bryan Ottone said mapping and flood studies commissioned by council would identify where the waters went in 2010/11.

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