Developer on $8m project says council planners wrong
THE Gympie RSL has unveiled plans for a major upgrade - but not without a dispute with Gympie Regional Council over whether the club is a club.
Under the plan, which the RSL said in April would likely cost $8 million in total, the building is to be upgraded over three stages.
A new car park and extensions to the first floor of 780sqm are among the proposed improvements.
But the biggest hiccup for their application to the council has turned out to be an argument over the definition of a "club".
The council said Planit Consulting's first submission was made incorrectly, as it must include a "food and drink outlet" and "function facility" as part of the application.
Staff had told the developers in April the definition of club "seems to be really aimed at a not-for-profit club that may have a small-scale canteen and the like, whereas the proposal discussed in the pre-application meeting was about the restaurant/coffee shop and pokies area".
Planit disagreed, saying a "club" was a standard planning definition used around the state, and any extra uses had "significant" implications for infrastructure charges and parking requirements.
"All other councils which we have dealt with in the past consider an RSL club to fit within the definition of a 'club'," Planit town planner Brendan Ferris said in an email to the council.
"There is no logical sense in separating the proposal into a club, food and drink outlet and function facility as they do not and cannot operate independently of each other."
Planit director Bede Emmett said in a follow-up email the council's interpretation was "incorrect".
Even the council's own planning scheme included "RSL" as an example of a club, he said.
"It is wrong from a statutory standpoint to make our client also apply for a food and drink outlet and function facility ... this would be similar to asking the applicant to apply for food and drink outlet or short-term accommodation for a hotel or resort," Mr Emmett said.
He said other councils had approved clubs without the extra terms at Nerang, Bribie Island and Caloundra.
"This is the only case that we have encountered this issue.
"We prepare and lodge a significant number of DA's and this issue has never arisen," Mr Emmett said.
Planit ultimately included the council's requested changes in their final application.
The RSL application is open for public comment from today until October 11.