Council overstepping in planning scheme, engineer says
A GROUP of concerned professionals from the Gladstone region are convinced no changes will be made to the council's planning scheme after a meeting last week.
Consultant and engineer Stephen Strachan, who was at the latest meeting with council, said the council was overstepping its role and should simply advise people of the risk from rising sea levels.
The plan, which is awaiting State Government approval, includes provisions for a 0.8m sea level rise by the year 2100, and creates new boundaries within the "coastal hazard zone".
The zone refers to land under tidal waters, erosion prone areas, or land at risk from storm tides or permanent sea level rises.
That has met with some concern, particularly from landholders in Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy, who say it will make development more difficult and more expensive.
Body Corporate Sunrise 1770 has already submitted its own information and proven the council's information showing the projected sea level rise would affect about 40 lots was incorrect.
The Observer understands the number of affected lots, shown by maps supplied by an independent consultant, indicate only a handful of properties should have been included in the hazard zone.
"The state government map is based on a desktop study without actually checking the contours of the land," Mr Strachan said.
"Now you have to pay for you own study to prove your point.
"This isn't a case of arguing whether climate change is real. It's about doing your job properly.
"It's ludicrous they can come up with something that's not accurate which affects people's lives so much."
Gladstone CEO Stuart Randle confirmed there were "a few little issues" the council would reconsider on zoning over different blocks at Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy.
He said the council did have the power to change parts of the scheme at any time, but was confident there wouldn't be any major changes.
"The whole scheme is based on mapping that is approximate using aerial photography, and it's surprisingly accurate," Mr Randle said.
"I think (the owners contesting the mapping) will find most of it is more accurate than they think.
"It's not an affordable exercise for council to do ground trooping, so we have used the most reasonably accurate technology."
Mr Randle said one option was for the council to engage a consultant to do more accurate mapping of the Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy area and pass that cost onto ratepayers in that area.