FACTORY FEAR: Rosemarie Hutton enjoys a peaceful moment in her paddock but is worried her home could be swamped by heavy industry if the council gets its way.
FACTORY FEAR: Rosemarie Hutton enjoys a peaceful moment in her paddock but is worried her home could be swamped by heavy industry if the council gets its way. Chris Ison Rokcrural

Can she hold on to paradise?

 

ROSEMARIE Hutton strokes a horse in her rural paddock west of Gracemere and wonders how long it will be before the peace she's enjoyed for 39 years is shattered.

Like many property owners in an area earmarked by the council for industrial expansion, Rosemarie fears her idyllic home will be swamped by heavy industry.

And she says she feels helpless to prevent it happening, now the State government is paying for a $50 million bridge over the rail line to open up a swathe of land for industrial development.

"I don't want to live next to a big factory or a place bashing metal all day long making all sorts of noise," said 75-year-old Rosemarie.

"They have to respect the people living in this area. There are some young families here."

Rosemarie said the Temporary Local Planning Instrument applied for by Rockhampton Regional Council seeks to alter the existing planning scheme and allow heavy industry on what are now rural blocks.

"I don't know if my land will be worth nothing or will be worth much more as a result, but I don't want to be forced to sell," she said.

A number of residents have employed a senior planning consultant to make representations to the government on their behalf.

The consultant, Jamie Mackenzie, told The Morning Bulletin the council had decided to expand the industrial zone with no consultation and little public notice.

"We are questioning why the council is rushing this through when there is already undeveloped land available where there are no houses. What the council is seeking will fast track greater areas of much heavier industry west of Gracemere with reduced consideration of existing housing," he said.

Another resident, Carol Batey, said she felt she and her husband had been duped.

"When we bought our property before Christmas, council searches showed the land as a rural village precinct.

"We feel duped that we will suddenly be in the medium impact zone with high impact industry nearby," she said.

The couple bought their home for their retirement and within a few months, find themselves in a battle they have little chance of winning.

Mayor Brad Carter invited Mr Mackenzie to meet with him to openly discuss the council's plans.

He said a letter, fact sheet and feedback form had been sent to every affected landowner and there had been several community meetings.

"Changing and developing planning schemes is intended to design future communities to be able to identify locations of residential areas, industrial areas and transport corridors.

"The long term bene

fits that will accrue for the Gracemere Industrial Area will lead to sustainable employment for our future grandchildren throughout the whole region," he said.

But one of his colleagues, Cr Glenda Mather, says residents deserved better.

"I've received emails from some very distressed property owners who claim their investments are under threat of devaluation and haven't even been consulted," she said.

"Something is wrong or incomplete for this to come to a head now. I've suggested to the chief executive that we meet the aggrieved parties to hear them out. It's our responsibility to listen to them and resolve their issues."



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