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Hope for couple’s dream as mayor puts decision on hold

The location of the Ruckerts’ semi-rural block on Farm St, Kawana.
The location of the Ruckerts’ semi-rural block on Farm St, Kawana.

MAYOR Margaret Strelow wants to hear more from a Rockhampton couple whose application to build a house in a flood-prone area was rejected by a council committee this week.

Matthew and Tiana Ruckert wanted to build a four-bedroom, highset house on a 749sq m block in a semi-rural area on Farm St, Kawana.

The planning and development committee, on the officer's recommendation, refused the application on the grounds the block was in a high-hazard flood area and access to the site would be cut during flooding, leaving it isolated.

But Cr Strelow has moved to put Tuesday's decision on hold.

"We have to take flooding seriously but there are times when the impacts can be dealt with and I want to hear more from the applicants," she said.

Cr Strelow described it as a "complex issue", compounded by the fact the land was allowed to be subdivided in 1959.

During the meeting, Cr Tony Williams asked whether the applicants had been made fully aware of the "major hurdles" facing the application.

This prompted committee chairman Cr Bill Ludwig to abstain from the vote.

"I can understand the officer's recommendation ... but I had serious concerns that the people were not given the appropriate information and they were being penalised," he said after the meeting.

He called for consistency in decision-making, saying that the council had given approval in 2011 for the construction of a house "within 100 metres" of this block.

"Where is the consistency when the council refuses the same situation two years later?" he said.

The couple declined to comment.

Topics:  building construction flooding flood zone margaret strelow rockhampton regional council



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