State pulls plug on Rainbow Shores
GYMPIE region's longest running and most hotly disputed property development saga, the Rainbow Shores story, is all over now.
From Rainbow Beach to Inskip Peninsula, the entire undeveloped portion of the Rainbow Shores project will revert to public ownership on Friday week.
The decision, announced exclusively to The Gympie Times, ends a 30-year development dream affecting hundreds of hectares of the most irreplaceably beautiful beachfront land in Australia.
As with its near-neighbour, Fraser Island, the natural amenity of the land has made it the battleground for some of the most bitter land-use disputes imaginable, particularly between development and conservation interests.
Recently, it found expression in the dramatic end of the political career of Gympie MP David Gibson, who clashed with one-time supporter Scott Elms over development plans for the area.
Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps told The Gympie Times yesterday the development lease which allowed the creation of the beautiful Rainbow Shores suburb on the northern fringe of Rainbow Beach, will expire on Friday week.
All undeveloped land still subject to the area's development lease, will then revert to public ownership.
That includes all 200ha of the recently struck down Rainbow Shores Stage 2 project and the entire undeveloped portion of Stage 1.
The golf course, recently closed by lease owner Andreas Krauchi, is designated for intensive residential development and, as such, will become public property once again.
Rainbow Shores lease owner Andreas Krauchi this week called "foul" on government attitudes to his hoped-for extension of the development lease.
He called for a 23-year extension to make up for state government and court interference with what he had thought were his rights under the lease.
He said the government had taken advantage of a major investment by his company, Rainbow Shores Pty Ltd, in improvements to the golf course area, and had refused him permission to re-allocate the use of the area to make the gold course permanent.
"Rainbow Shores Pty Ltd has over the years invested thousands of dollars in improvements to that lot in order to make it usable as a golf course for resort guests, the local golf club and the community as a whole," he said in a letter to Mr Cripps' department last month.
But the government had said freeholding the area for this use had been rejected by the department.
"Rainbow Shores and its directors have over the years invested millions in the infrastructure to develop the urban zoned leasehold land in Stage 1 (planning, roads, trunk water, sewage, water and electricity).
"The company could not make use of that land as prescribed under the development lease it bought off the government because the initial zoning in the remaining land in Stage 1 contained high density elements relating to future development on Stage 2.
"And the government has held up any decision on Stage 2 for 23 years," he said.
Mr Krauchi said extending the lease to make up for this would be one remedy, as would freeholding the balance of the land to him.
But Mr Cripps ruled that out yesterday.
"Future land use will be guided by the Inskip Peninsula Master Plan, which should be finalised by October 31, and the relevant local planning scheme," the Minister told The Gympie Times yesterday.