Stand-off over workers' camp near highway

A WORKERS' camp off the Leichhardt Hwy has become the subject of a never-ending drama for the Banana community.

The 120-room camp - Banana Accommodation Village (Originally Go Country) - opened in 2011 when there was an influx of temporary workers.

Owner Nicole Newman and her partner had just moved to the area and could not find anywhere to stay.

The camp was initially proposed as temporary accommodation that could meet the demands of a transient workforce.

But the project has been met with community objection since it opened. Ms Newman has responded to this by filing a retrospective application for 'permanent accommodation'.

Ms Newman said her life had been "a nightmare" since, defending the accommodation's role in the community.

She claims to have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal dealings and is still working to meet all 43 conditions set out by the Banana Shire Council.

The last time the item came before the council, Banana Accommodation Village was given six months to comply with those conditions.

This month, the council has agreed to grant a further six months to the business to meet the remaining six conditions that are related to sewerage, roads and landscaping.

"Our initial traffic report said we needed to upgrade some roads, but that was a preliminary report and Main Roads asked for something more in depth.

"When we did the detailed traffic study it was a different outcome.

"The issue we are struggling with is the access road - it is supposed to go straight through the newly built landfill so we need to work around that."

But the council's extension has renewed Moura real estate agent Steve Paton's concerns over the development which he believes is operating unlawfully.

That claim has been rejected by Banana Shire Council Mayor Ron Carige who said the development was subject to the same approvals and conditions as any other. If they aren't met - there will be no approval, he said.