Solving accommodation problems not as simple as it looks
SOLVING accommodation problems in the Gladstone region always looks simple from afar.
Just build more houses and units for people to live in and more caravan parks for tourists to stay in. Simple.
Well no, it's not really.
Having sat through many Gladstone Regional Council meetings over the past year and a half, this journalist has discovered it is anything but simple.
For every major development application that comes in, there are a multitude of complications.
It is not enough to say, "The Gladstone region needs more accommodation, so let's approve it."
There are always legitimate concerns over traffic, parking, water, electricity and inconvenience for neighbours.
The story by Kara Irving about council putting on hold plans for a caravan park in Calliope shows one of those difficult decisions for the council.
Councillors voted to defer the decision on a proposed caravan park until after Christmas (read the full story here).
On the surface, you might think they had all the information they needed and they should have bitten the bullet with a decision, but again, that is too simplistic.
The councillors were right to defer the decision if they felt uncertainty over the best course. They need to get it right.
Let's consider what a big decision this is: on one hand, the region is desperately short of caravan park accommodation.
Workers have clogged up the existing caravan parks and the grey nomads have stopped staying in our region.
On the other hand, 130 residents have opposed the development.
Their rights and opinions need to be taken seriously.
The main concern for councillors is whether the proposed park would be used as quasi workers accommodation.
The rules would not allow that, but how would it be policed?
It's a tough one. Which way would you vote?