People power sways council decision

FOR Brett Wass, Mayor Brad Carter's shock announcement the council would not rush to endorse the Gracemere Industrial Area plan was a triumph for people power over an uncaring bureaucracy.

The secretary of the main protest group said all the fuss could have been avoided if Cr Carter and his planning department had consulted with residents and "not tried to use a state of emergency power that removed people's democratic rights to object".

Yesterday Mr Wass delivered a barrage of criticism at the council for putting so many people through unnecessary stress and worry.

"I am sure that, come election time, people will not forget that their mayor did this to them," he said.

"It was certainly a sight to behold, watching him attempt to be seen as a caring and consulting mayor when he realised councillor support for the Temporary Local Planning Instrument was lost."

But Cr Carter said he reached the decision to hold over any decision on the planning instrument to the new council that will be elected at the end of next month, out of respect for residents.

"I felt the need to take the decision because I had a strong sense that we had dropped the ball on the level of community engagement. There was still a lot of confusion," he said.

Mayoral candidate Dominic Doblo said Cr Carter had backflipped because he realised he was on a loser.

"They hadn't done their homework and this was turning into a massive embarrassment for the Mayor.

"This is all about saving face going into an election," Mr Doblo said.

If he became mayor he would never resort to using a device like a TLPI, which he said stripped people of their rights to be heard.

And he repeated his call for the council to scrap its plans to encourage more industrial development near existing residential zones.

"We have to kick the cow town image, get serious, spend the money and develop the wide-open spaces from Kabra to Stanwell.

"That's what's needed to attract the major players and once they are locked in all the others will flow," he said.

Capricorn Enterprise chief executive Mary Carroll said she believed the delay would not harm investor confidence.

"There is clearly a broad acceptance from both businesses and residents at Gracemere and the wider community for an expansion to the Gracemere industrial area," she said.

"Private enterprise has a way of getting on with business despite bureaucratic processes and individual political agendas and this slight technical delay will not get in the way of business growth."

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