Development to cost council $20m
IT will cost Rockhampton Regional Council $20 million to open up the Gracemere Industrial Area for development.
Although work will start soon on a State Government-sponsored $50 million road bridge from the Capricorn Highway across the railway line to unlock access to hectares of land designated for industrial estates, the council will have to pay up for roads, water and sewerage infrastructure before the land can be developed.
And the bill will be even greater if councillors opt to force the issue by developing parcels of land within the industrial area. That will mean acquiring land and building factories, boosting the burden on ratepayers even further.
Some might well consider it worthwhile, given the potential for the so-called industrial corridor to create thousands of jobs and help the region to cash-in on the resources boom.
Mayor Brad Carter said yesterday that there was $3 million in the current budget for the project and councillors would have to consider earmarking considerable sums in future budgets to ensure the development reached its potential.
"It will be a key consideration in the next budget," he said.
Last week the council agreed to request a temporary local planning instrument from the State Government to override the existing Fitzroy Shire Planning Scheme so the land could be developed for industrial uses.
"We want to ensure we do not risk losing investment and employment opportunities," Cr Carter said.
"We are taking bold steps to ensure investor confidence grows and our region is seen as open for business."
He said he expected the multitude of owners to reach agreements with private developers to cash in on the demand for industrial land. But he confirmed the council would consider acquiring land at market rates for industrial estates.
"I anticipate things will happen extremely quickly now," he said. "Confirmation that work would start soon on the overpass is a real confidence booster and there are some extremely serious people making enquiries.
"There are discussions under way with potential developers for large scale facilities to service the resources and transport industries."
Officers confirmed that it would cost $20 million to provide roads and essential services for the first 50 hectares in the zone which stretches west from Gracemere towards Stanwell.
"Development of this 50 hectares could potentially result in $500 million in direct business investment and support more than 2500 jobs, which is great news for the future prosperity of Gracemere and the Rockhampton region," he said.