Council leaves Cap Coast nudist retreat owners hanging
The owners of a Capricorn Coast naturist retreat are still waiting for an outcome, 13 months after Livingstone Shire Council reserved its decision on a hefty bill facing the business.
In November last year, owners of Savannah Park Retreat, Charles Rogers and Allyson Neave, made their first deputation to the council where they said they could not afford more than $60,000 in infrastructure charges required to meet the council’s compliance regime.
Having still not received a ruling from Livingstone Shire, Mr Rogers last week ventured back to council’s chambers and presented another deputation in which he made an impassioned plea.
“We do need a decision soon on it, because we need to know our future going forward,” he told councillors.
“Delaying things … just prolongs the agony for us.”
Mr Rogers and Ms Neave purchased the business on Cobraball Rd in late 2017, but it was only towards the back end of last year (through a related plumbing application made over the site) that it came to the council’s attention the tourist park did not hold land use approval to operate there.
It remains unknown as to what the hold up is with the council making a decision on the infrastructure charges bill, as since that first deputation from the Savannah Park Retreat owners last November, the council has slashed infrastructure charges for numerous developers or businesses.
Last week, Mr Rogers called on Livingstone to give his boutique operation a fair go.
He said his research showed that had his business fallen under the neighbouring Rockhampton Regional Council umbrella, the infrastructure charges for the “exact same development” would be $29,160 – a far cry from the $62,000 Livingstone was asking.
“Since 2012 to 2018, the infrastructure charges for Livingstone Shire Council for this development have increased by 136 per cent,” Mr Rogers said.
Mr Rogers also pointed out some of the other challenges facing small businesses in the current climate.
He said council rates had increased 44 per cent annually and public liability insurance since 2018 had risen 1150 per cent.
On top of that, Savannah Park Retreat had copped a financial hit from damages as a result of a hail storm in April and also the ongoing coronavirus impacts.
“Our income for this year is down 30 per cent due to COVID,” Mr Rogers.
Councillors moved to accept the deputation and there was no indication as to when the matter would come to the council table for a decision.