Great Keppel Island.
Great Keppel Island.

Council alters letter to be sent to government about GKI works

Livingstone Shire Council voted last week to amend a letter addressed to the State Government endorsing certain infrastructure on Great Keppel Island.

In a council meeting on March 16, councillor Adam Belot moved to add provisions to the letter stating that money remaining from previously-endorsed projects should go towards better island access for people and machinery.

Councillor Nigel Hutton, who is president of the Yeppoon Lions Club, and councillor Rhodes Watson, whose parents own property on GKI, left the room during the motion’s discussion.

Earlier this month, Cr Belot was determined to have had a conflict of interest when voting on the council’s preferred GKI infrastructure list, as he had signed and promoted – something for which he apologised – an online petition circulated by the GKI Progress Association before the council’s consultation period had concluded.

That was not the case on Tuesday.

Council’s chief executive officer Cale Dendle explained that “with that matter being resolved now, that conflict no longer carries over, and the way that Cr Belot has framed his notice of motion to make it clear that he’s not trying to distract from the earlier resolution of council passed that is subsequent to, the advice is that he’s not conflicted on this occasion”.

Cr Belot said his motion “aims to extend and clarify where most of the money should be spent” to economically develop GKI.

“Any successful mission needs to clearly understand and agree on how it will aim to achieve its objective,” he said.

“I am on a mission to achieve the objective above.

“Some may say I am biased and that I have a fixed position, and as expressed earlier I did sign a petition previously.

“My only regret, I guess, back then was that I didn’t push even harder to have the broader community understand the benefits of this common user infrastructure.”

Cr Belot's proposed additions to the council's letter.
Cr Belot's proposed additions to the council's letter.

Mayor Andy Ireland said that $26.5 million rather than $30 million was now available for infrastructure as “the state has spent approximately $3.5 million on studies and various other elements”.

“A good portion of it was spent exploring the sub-surface power and water, I would imagine, and as we know that’s not proceeding,” he said.

Cr Andrea Friend said the original council endorsement included a cyclone-rated jetty, a barge slant boat ramp, solar power with backup generators, various visitor facilities, a viewing platform, water treatment, and the rehabilitation and addition of walking trials.

She said she would vote against Cr Belot’s motion because “all of this is not necessary” and a groin or a marina would cost more than $26.5 million.

Cr Eastwood spoke in favour of the motion.

“It is integral that we get something happening on Great Keppel Island, and the only way that’s going to happen is if we have the necessary infrastructure to enable that,” he said.

Cr Glenda Mather was concerned that there was no “master plan” as to how the State Government’s money would be spent, but Cr Ireland re-affirmed that that was entirely the government’s prerogative.

“We’re not being asked to spend the money,” he said.

Cr Ireland said Cr Belot’s proposal did not entail the backing of any piece of infrastructure in particular.

He recommended only that a point about consulting experienced transport operators be struck off as redundant, and it was.

The motion was then carried unanimously.

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