Moreton Bay Regional Council is considering a development application by Mr Hongxi Liang for a change of material use of land at 1 The Esplanade Godwin Beach.
The application is for the development of 20 campsites in an area rated as having high ecological value and as an erosion prone, high inundation area as assessed by the State Planning Policy Map of Queensland published by the Department of State Development and Planning.
The application describes the campsites as being part of an Eco Tourism area but does not provide any detail on what this constitutes in terms of improving or even preserving the environment. No mention is made of what contribution the development would make to the area financially, in terms of providing employment or adding to the amenity of the area enjoyed by the locals.
There are no apparent management plans lodged with the application for traffic, waste or noise, leaving many unanswered questions for locals who appear to have up until now been locked out of the consultation and decision making process.
Part 4 of the Council Development Rules concerning the need for public notification does not apply to this application according to Council approval documents. This begs the question as to why.
Is it enough for Council to follow the minimum rules in all cases or is it incumbent on local government to do what is right in the circumstances even if that means going above and beyond the minimum?
Councillor Brooke Savige believes this is not a typical rural block of land and has asked the Moreton Bay Regional Council’s CEO to consider bringing the matter to a full meeting of council. At the time of writing the outcome of this request is as yet unknown.
Local residents have lodged numerous objections to the application at this stage not least of which is about the lack of public consultation over the proposal. Other objections relate to preservation of flora, fauna and land structures as well as traffic, noise and pollution issues.
Ample camping facilities already exist in the area including at Turners Camp Road, Sandstone Point, Bongaree, Woorim, Ocean Beach, Gallagher’s Point and Poverty Creek providing more than 100 camp sites all told for visitors. This is in addition to other accommodation such as cabins, van sites, apartments and houses for holiday letting. These existing locations are rarely booked out and are looking to recover their business following Covid-19 rather than facing increased competition.
Godwin Beach residents report feeling neglected by council in relation to concerns arising from the Sandstone Point Hotel and were still simmering over this when news of this application came to light albeit by accident rather than council notification.
Another location for people to gather in this zone, rated as having high ecological value and as being an erosion prone, high inundation area, seems counterproductive when other local initiatives such as mangrove regeneration and fish breeding area creation have been so warmly welcomed into the area.
Councillor Brooke Savige has spoken to locals and has advised that the application will be considered over the coming weeks or months depending and advised that council may request further information in support of the application.
Councillor Savige is also organising a community consultation meeting in August to address some of these concerns and explain the council process to locals. Keep your eye out on the Godwin Beach facebook page for details.