Margaret Strelow.
Margaret Strelow. Contributed

Is industry zone set to expand?

MAYOR Margaret Strelow has touted the Gracemere Industrial Area as the region's most important development since the barrage was built in 1970.

The legacy of former mayor Rex Pilbeam revolutionised Rockhampton's long-term water supply.

Forty-two years later, and Cr Strelow believes the GIA is the region's chance to take advantage of the tail end of the mining boom.

She and Councillor Ellen Smith have been door-knocking homes and businesses in Gracemere's Precinct K to resolve which areas should be industrial and which should be residential.

The council is busily working on a major amendment to the planning scheme to expand the industry zone.

But Cr Strelow said it would only be done with the consultation of landowners.

She said those with houses in the area had bought the land because some council officers had told them it was residential area, while other officers told people it would be industry in several years.

Cr Strelow said most of those who had set up homes and wanted to remain residential would be able to.

But she warned not everyone would be happy, explaining the area could not be a "patchwork" of industrial and residential blocks of land.

The council will finish the design work for roads, water and sewerage by the middle of next month, and Cr Strelow can't wait.

"It's the single most important piece of infrastructure that we would have had built since the barrage," she said.

"That's my two bob's worth. That sets us up for the tail end of this boom."

Cr Strelow reflected that she hadn't expected to be planning the GIA at residents' kitchen tables.

She said during her campaign she was determined to see the whole of Precinct K developed into industrial land.

But after driving through the area and seeing the homes, she said her heart sank.

"I had to pull right back from what I thought was the most important thing to get done."



Mayor Margaret Strelow discusses:


Why the former council implemented a TLPI

Many residents are still wary of council's motives regarding the Precinct K after the previous council implemented a Temporary Local Planning Instrument. It effectively gagged all opposition to turning the part-industrial and part-residential precinct into wholly industrial area. Cr Strelow emphasised the TLPI was dead and gone. But if it had gone ahead and Precinct K had been sold and turned into industrial land, it would cover the $20m to put water and sewerage infrastructure in place.


Why council needs $6m from the Fitzroy riverbank redevelopment

Keeping a residential buffer zone in Precinct K means council has less money for water and sewerage infrastructure. Council is reliant on the new LNP Government transferring the $6m funding the former Labor Government set aside for the redevelopment of the banks of the Fitzroy River to the GIA project's "budget hole". Cr Strelow said a meeting with the Minister for Housing and Public Works, Dr Bruce Flegg, went well.

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