A change to the proposed marine facility at Shute Harbour could mean the project is put back on public consultation. Picture: Supplied
A change to the proposed marine facility at Shute Harbour could mean the project is put back on public consultation. Picture: Supplied

‘RIDICULOUS’: Sparks fly over Shute Harbour

FRUSTRATIONS have erupted over the new Shute Harbour marine facility as a “minor” change could mark the difference between the project forging ahead or being put back to the public.

Progress on the $50 million Shute Harbour redevelopment were discussed at the ordinary council meeting in Bowen on Wednesday.

The construction of a new marine terminal forms a major part of the redevelopment and will include a cafe, ticketing facilities, fuelling area and pontoons.

Expressions of interest for the facility have been assessed with the tender process set to begin soon.

However, a change to the size and layout of the building has put a spanner in the works, causing sparks to fly across the council table.

Whitsunday Regional Council development services director Neil McGaffin said the council officers in charge of the project were seeking new approvals to change the size of some buildings in the precinct.

“As a result of the customer feedback they’ve had, they want to make it larger and make some minor adjustments to the layout,” he said.

The changes involve seating areas and the use of public space in the area.

Mr McGaffin said officers in the development arm of the council had requested more detailed plans showing the amendments.

These include a response to changes in pedestrian and traffic movement as well as the changes in the building size.

Mr McGaffin said council officers would then be able to get a better understanding of whether the changes were classed as major or minor.

If the changes were minor and met the council standards, they could be easily approved.

However, if the changes were deemed larger they would be put to the public for consultation, which could delay the project by about three weeks.

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During the meeting on Wednesday, the council’s aviation and tourism CEO Craig Turner fielded questions from councillors about the change.

A back and forth over what documents were needed to move forward with the approval ensued before Division 6 Councillor Mike Brunker demanded action.

“Lord give me strength,” he said.

“This is a $50 million building that we can’t get right ourselves.

“How ridiculous is that?

“(We’re) talking about our own building, so what chance have the public got?”

Mayor Andrew Willcox agreed with Cr Brunker, saying there would be a meeting between all the relevant officers so “we can actually move forward on this”.

Councillors agreed the officers in charge of the development and planning should meet to reach a conclusion on the project.


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