The site location of the proposed Palm Tree Quarry at Canal Creek.
The site location of the proposed Palm Tree Quarry at Canal Creek.

How developers shaved $1M off council fees for CQ projects

A BRAINS trust behind two quarry projects north of The Caves has been successful in getting more than $1 million shaved off development application fees with Livingstone Shire Council.

Groundworks Plus, a consultancy outfit specialising in the quarry, mining and urban development sectors, secured the result last week on behalf of its respective clients.

One client owns a site on Kunwarara Rd (Bruce Highway) at Canoona where the extension of an existing quarry is planned.

The other client, the owner of The Caves Quarry CQ, is proposing a new quarry at a Canal Creek Rd lot, Canal Creek, which ultimately aims to service the nearby Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area.

Livingstone resolved to slash $126,089 off the development application fee for the Canoona project, reducing it from $151,199 to $25,110.

While the Canal Creek developer celebrated a massive $914,967 saving when their development application fee was cut from $934,967 to a ­minimum fee of $20,000.

Development application fees and infrastructure charges have made headlines recently as Livingstone councillors await a report on an internal review into such matters.

New mayor Andy Ireland had previously said as part of an overall review “everything needs to be on the table and considered.”

He added that during the election campaign there was a “common complaint made to me about the magnitude of council’s fees and charges”.

Last week’s council meeting heard that under the current 2019/20 fee structure for extractive industry, fees were calculated based on the size of the site the development was going to occur on.

“Not how much of the site is going to be used,” council’s principal strategic planner Melissa Warwick said.

“So based on the 63.5 hectare site (at Canoona), the fee for that application comes at $151,199.”

Ms Warwick said there was already approved activity at this site which was subject to the new development application.

“The proponent is looking at using 25.91 hectares of that 63.5-hectare site.

“They’ve actually requested a reduction from $151,199 down to $18,000.

“It’s worth noting that we have drafted fees and charges for the upcoming financial year.

“And in that regard, we’ve looked ro reduce our per hectare charge for extractive industry.

“And that’s based on, we don’t get many of these ­applications, but when we do there always seems to be a common thread of seeking a reduction in fees.”

Ms Warwick said based on the drafted new fees, the 25.91 hectares of site to be used would come in around the $25,000 mark.

In relation to the 403 hectare site at Canal Creek, adjoining a south-eastern boundary of the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area, Ms Warwick said the applicant was only looking to use 3.8 hectares for the proposed development.

“The applicant has asked for a fee reduction down to $12,016.

“Based on the new fees and charges, we’re looking at a fee of only $6500 if we were to look at just that 3.8 hectares.

“For us, and the amount of work that is involved in doing the assessment, and it is an impact assessable application, the $6500 fee is very low.

“So we are recommending to the (council) table that a resolution of $20,000 be passed today.”



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