Council defers Botanica decision
A DECISION on whether to approve Villa Botanica’s development application to expand its wedding venue was put off in the final hours before yesterday’s Whitsunday Regional Council meeting.
The controversial application was included on the meeting agenda and was expected to be discussed at the meeting in Bowen yesterday.
It was taken off the agenda late on Tuesday after discussions between council and lot owners in the private gated Botanica Estate.
The recommendation included in the agenda was to approve the expansion but with several conditions.
Botanica Estate lot owner Warren Hancock sent an email to the mayor and councillors on behalf of the Botanica Lot Owners Group on Tuesday to highlight a number of issues they felt the council was not aware of.
Mr Hancock said he believed the town planning group had not been privy to enough information when making the recommendation and he wanted to make them more aware before council made a decision.
He raised the issue of the body corporate’s ownership of the road which Villa Botanica guests used to access the property.
Mr Hancock said the increase in traffic from Villa Botanica weddings could make the condition of the road unsafe and it may not comply with the body corporate’s public liability insurance.
Other issues included their concerns over Villa Botanica potentially becoming a licensed venue in the gated estate.
Council chief executive John Finlay said it was brought to his attention the application had some matters that needed to be addressed before the council made a decision.
"We need to present a very inclusive report to council and I wasn’t prepared to do that today," he said yesterday.
Mr Finlay said the planning and assessment teams would take another look at the application. Although he wouldn’t discuss the matters in detail, Mr Finlay said the impact on the road was one of the areas the Council needed to discuss further.
It is believed the application will be put on the agenda for the council meeting in two weeks.
However, Mr Hancock said the group was planning for the body corporate to request an independent review of the town planning recommendation.
Villa Botanica owners Ralph and Janet Hogan made the application to increase their wedding size from a maximum of 15 persons to 80 guests.
The wedding venue is not part of the body corporate but is accessed via the gated residential estate.
Mrs Hogan said yesterday she was not concerned about the decision being delayed.
"I think it shows it is something [the council] are taking great care in," she said.