‘If we can’t sort this out then I think we’ve failed’
AN APPLICATION for a 192-bed workers camp in Mt Coolon has been put on ice as councillors push to get better conditions for the community.
Councillors discussed a development earmarked for six lots on Barclay and Mill St, next to the Mount Coolon hotel, in the ordinary council meeting in Proserpine on Wednesday.
The proposal included 48 demountable buildings, each with four rooms and ensuites.
The site will also have a gym, theatre, laundry, mess and bar in demountable buildings.
The application documents state that unlike typical camps, the Mt Coolon site would house workers from a range of industries who are working on projects like the Carmichael Rail and Bowen Developmental Rd upgrades.
As there is no reticulated water or sewerage network in the Mount Coolon township, the applicant proposed to provide water to the development through water tanks with potable water transported to the site regularly.
A private contractor would collect onsite sewage storage tanks from the site and disposed of at a council treatment plant.
However, the development will be put on hold after councillors argued problems with dust from large vehicles, parking issues and telecommunications demands from the camp would negatively impact residents.
Councillors debated the proposal for more than 40 minutes in the ordinary meeting in Proserpine on Wednesday.
Mayor Andrew Willcox said residents of the existing camp were parking their trucks in front of Mt Coolon residents' homes and blocking their driveways.
"The people of Mt Coolon are the salt of the earth, really lovely people, and they're supportive of development," he said.
"But they just don't want to be run over the top of, and that's what's happening at the moment."
Division 1 councillor Jan Clifford also raised concerns about phone reception for residents, especially school-aged children.
She suggested a temporary phone tower, however council officers were unsure how this could be instated and said it would be difficult to put conditions on the applicant to ensure coverage for residents.
"If you can't get on your phone because of a camp to ring the ambulance, to ring the flying doctor or for your kids to get educated, there's something wrong," Cr Clifford said.
"If we can't sort this out then I think we've failed."
Division 4 councillor Michelle Wright said while she supported the project, it was important the impact of the camp on Mount Coolon residents was properly considered.
"I'm not happy with the situation out there and a lot of residents aren't," she said.
"These big trucks and heavy machinery (are) coming into Mt Coolon, it's bringing a lot of dust and excess noise.
"I'm all for development, but I think you have to contribute to the town, not make things harder.
"We just want to make sure that we're getting the right outcome for the residents out there."
Councillors unanimously agreed to table the proposal until the next council meeting where they could be briefed on telecommunications, parking and further impacts on the amenity.