An aerial shot of Mackay showing the location of the proposed Town Beach development, the river and the CBD.
An aerial shot of Mackay showing the location of the proposed Town Beach development, the river and the CBD. Vasallo Constructions

$80M price tag on PDA

A PASSIONATE developer is continuing "high level" planning for Town Beach and Binnington Esplanade although council remain adamant that the project will take decades.

Pointglen Developments managing director Victor Vassallo, who owns a parcel of land to the rear of the Town Beach waterfront PDA area, has plugged the large scale development to council again.

"We'll continue to do master planning from a high level looking at the overall beach front area, how it connects then to the city, making sure that it is going to be world class and will attract tourism and liveability," Mr Vassallo said.

"There the key things that it needs to do - it needs to generate new visitors and people to want to stay in the city and live in the city."

He said that the first stage should cost $80 million and could be complete in as little as 18 months, to two years as soon as work has begun.

Mr Vassallo's vision for the area include a government and council owned and funded beach strip inclusive of splash park, nature trails, a creek, and a playground hub, while his domain across the road will support the commercial aspect with retail and hospitality outlets, as well as accommodation.

The masterplan includes road links, diverting traffic around through the beach front, rather than down Nebo Rd or Milton St.

"$80 million would be desirable for stage one, but it could take $50 million," Mr Vassallo said, stating that the Town Beach development would miss out on a link road through Binnington Esp with only $50 million.

"The overall project, I'm hearing the number of $200 million but that then revitalises the whole river front."

Mr Vassallo said that his land behind the waterfront area needs to be developed sooner rather than later, and he can only hope that council will play ball and help him to help them create a "world-class" The Strand-esque attraction.

"It's about working in conjunction with, otherwise we will have a fairly ordinary development, or we can have a world-class tourist development," Mr Vassallo said.

"If we were to get the funding to develop that part of the beach front and could develop that in the next 18 months - it would take that much, 18 months to two years.

"The whole of that beach front will rival most regional cities along the east coast of Australia.

"We would have something so transformational that it would stimulate tourism and liveability to the point where people just want to stay here."

However council remain firm that they are still in the research and consultation phase, and will be undergoing revitalising other areas before considering the waterfront part of the PDA.

Development Services director Gerard Carlyon said council was now moving onto the next stage of the PDA development, undertaking two significant projects at once.

"The first is a new planning instrument being prepared over the next 12 months, which will essentially replace the Mackay Region Planning Scheme for the PDA area," he said.

"In addition to that detailed planning work, we also have our first major capital project in the PDA due to the recent announcement of $8.8 million in State Government funding.

"That is for significant improvement works to Queens Park, which is one of the PDA's five precincts, and some of the yet-to-be-completed sections of Bluewater Trail, which runs through the PDA."

Council has started detailed discussions with many landowners in the PDA, including Vic Vassallo. Deputy Mayor Amanda Camm said it was encouraging to see a local developer being proactive and willing to engage with council.

"Council welcomed the opportunity to be presented with Pointglen Developments' vision for the PDA beachside precinct at Binnington Esp,'' Cr Camm said.

"Council is focused on delivering the detailed planning scheme for the PDA in the next 12 months and developing business cases to fund public infrastructure that will also facilitate both private and government investment."

"The 2018-19 council budget will outline funding for that detailed planning."

Mr Carlyon said other developers and landowners had also raised some fantastic ideas with council.

"We will continue to engage with all those developers and landowners, as well as others who may want to develop in the PDA,'' he said.

Mr Carlyon said council conducted extensive community consultation prior to the PDA being declared.

He said the community would continue to be involved in guiding the vision council ultimately wanted to deliver across the PDA.