BREAKING: Mayor welcomes green light for Jewel to go ahead
BUNDABERG Regional Council has issued the following statement relating to the controversial Jewel development application at Bargara.
12.30PM: Mayor Jack Dempsey has welcomed approval for a multi-storey mixed residential and commercial development to go ahead at Bargara.
Cr Dempsey said the project would invigorate the regional economy and be a catalyst for sustainable growth.
"The deemed approval means council now has 10 business days to attach conditions that will ensure best practice in coastal urban design, particularly in relation to minimising light emissions," he said.
"This is an exciting initiative which can unlock the potential we have to build Australia's best regional community.
"A development of this calibre will spur others and create jobs to benefit our young people for generations to come."
The council approval is for 60 units and 10 townhouses with four commercial tenancies including a rooftop bar.
"I appreciate there were strong views in the community about this development," Cr Dempsey said.
"Those views were listened to.
"The outcome reflects the majority view of all councillors. If we had wanted to reject the application the opportunity existed at the meeting on September 24.
"Council has now put itself in a stronger position to get expert advice on appropriate conditions."
Cr Dempsey said his priority was to ensure low light emissions during the turtle nesting season.
"We all have a responsibility to protect our iconic turtles," he said.
"The fact is that turtles can nest anywhere along the coast. This doesn't mean we should stop development. It means we need a whole-of community approach to reduce overall light emissions.
"Council is seeking support from other authorities to commission a lighting audit along our coastline, which will guide future decision-making.
"The majority of councillors believe that a multi-storey development is appropriate for medium-density living in Bargara.
"It's our responsibility now to ensure the conditions deliver a state-of-the-art, high-quality project with necessary safeguards.
"This is progress. I'm proud to be mayor of a council that cares for our community, creates jobs and protects the environment."