by Chris Lees
A CONTROVERSIAL decision to refuse an extension to a unit development on Sun Valley Rd has been overturned by the courts.
Lake Maroona Pty is appealed Gladstone Regional Council's decision in the Planning and Environment Court of Queensland.
In November last year, the developers asked the council for a three-year extension for their project, which the council refused.
The decision caused a split, with councillors voting 5-4 to refuse the extension.
Mayor Matt Burnett was pushing for the extension and was disappointed with the decision. "This particular block has a lot of history that unfortunately a lot of the new councillors are not aware of, which I tried to portray in the meeting but obviously I couldn't get it through," he said.
Judge Bowskill gave a number of reasons in her judgment for allowing the appeal.
"The approved development has a considerable degree of consistency with the current laws and policies, relevantly the 2015 planning scheme," she wrote in her judgment.
Deputy mayor Chris Trevor, who voted for the extension, said there was always a risk when you rejected an application like this. "Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong, on balance we get it right," he said.
The officer's recommendation was not to give an extension.
The developers declined to comment on the decision.
However, when the issue came to the council last year, Allan Jeffery, on behalf of his client outlined why an extension should be given.
One of these was regarding floodwaters inundating the site, which Mr Jeffery wrote had not been identified by the council. "Further extensive time and cost was spent designing a solution to this external water problem," he wrote.
A decision on the length of the extension and costs will be made at a later date.