Countdown on: Days left until Minister decides Jewel's fate
JUST days remain before Planning Minster Cameron Dick delivers his decision on the future of Bargara's controversial Jewel high-rise development.
Yesterday the minister's office maintained a decision would be made before Easter, which leaves just four possible days, before a string of public holidays, to announce the outcome of the call in.
Should the decision be left to the last possible day - Thursday, April 18 - it could be seen to be a less-than-transparent move on the government's behalf and seen as an attempt to bury the announcement ahead of Good Friday, when newspapers aren't published.
Given the minister cited concerns over Bundaberg Regional Council's transparency in its handling of the initial decision process - which saw the application approved by default - the government's timing is something to watch.
The community has been waiting to know the fate of the nine-storey development since December 21, when Mr Dick chose to take control of the project. His decision will overrule council's approval.
In calling in the project Mr Dick said the mixed-use development, which proposed a maximum building height of nine storeys, had created significant concerns for the community regarding the approval route taken by the council, the characteristics of the development, and the potential impact on the local turtle population.
"My obligations and responsibility as planning minister is to ensure planning processes and decisions in our state are transparent,” he said.
"It is clear the Bundaberg Regional Council did not consider this application in accordance with proper planning process, and in fact may have potentially overlooked their responsibility to ensure transparent and robust planning decisions.
"In this case, that decision led to a deemed approval for a nine-storey development when council officers' report to council recommended a five-storey development, which is in line with council's planning scheme.”