Workers camp or not, it's no go

THE Central Highlands Regional Council has refused a development permit for a $10m short-term accommodation building and caravan park in Emerald - just don't call it a camp.

Councillors voted down the 116 single-bed units and 14 van sites proposed by Universal Accommodation Centres Pty Ltd on land next to the Caltex service station on Codenwarra Rd on Monday.

"Concern was raised regarding the description of the proposed development as a short-term accommodation village," UAC-appointed town planning consultant Adam Sparkes said in a letter responding to the six objectors' concerns.

"It is perceived to be a future miner camp for fly in, fly out employment, encouraging a 'concentration of itinerant workers entering and leaving the area at all hours with the resulting noise, security and traffic issues'.

"Our client strongly objects to the statement 'this application appears to be a future accommodation camp', given the overall design and the application being for an accommodation village.

"Overall, the proposed development provides a quality short-term accommodation village for the general public and visitors to the Emerald township, and at no time has the applicant considered running this as a 'workers camp' as suggested in the lodged submissions."

UAC's application was refused on the grounds it would set an 'undesirable precedent', encouraging industrial activities and accommodation to occupy rural residential land, and negatively impact on the rural amenity and character of the area.

The development was also in conflict with outcomes 1, 2 and 6 of the Residential Accommodation Code due to its poor location and density.

UAC wanted to build 16 villas, in pods of four, eight or 16 one-bed units with an ensuite, wardrobe and individual balcony.

The council also refused a 39-lot residential subdivision on flood prone land on Emerald's south side at its November 7 meeting.

"The proposed development in the subject location will compromise the safety and amenity of the future residential and surrounding and downstream properties," was one of the reasons given by the Department of Local Government and Planning to the council in directing it to refuse the Securacorp application.

The company also wanted to change the ground level and construct a water body for stormwater management and recreation.

The site, which is near the Rifle Range Nature Reserve, was severely inundated by the Nogoa River in 2010/11.

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