Mayor Mick Curran says planning and development can be a difficult and controversial process.
Mayor Mick Curran says planning and development can be a difficult and controversial process. Scott Kovacevic

Mayor: council the meat in planning sandwich

ONE of the council's most difficult, and at times controversial, responsibilities is the approval of development applications.

The council, under the oversight of the State Government, is responsible for adopting a Planning Scheme that lays out what development (e.g. residential, commercial, industrial) can occur where.

The council is then required to approve applications in accordance with the Planning Scheme.

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There are many legislated rules around how the approval process must occur.

Aerial Footage of Southside, Gympie.
The Southside. Philippe Coquerand

Often, an application involves a well-meaning proponent and an equally well-meaning objector, with the council being the "meat in the sandwich” and having to make a decision that not only addresses the current application but also does not unreasonably impact residents or establish an undesirable precedent.

As part of the development of the Economic Development and Investment Strategy, the council received feedback about the importance of improving the way it deals with planning matters.

An aerial photograph of the Gympie Cinemas complex in Monkland St.
Gympie. Contributed

The council is committed to listening to all comments and is taking steps to ensure it provides the best possible service to the community; a service which acknowledges the rights and expectations of all stakeholders, including the applicant and neighbours as well as the interests of the broader community.

Recently, council staff attended a course offered by the Urban Development Institute of Australia about the commercial aspects of land development, what parts of the development process are of the most concern to the development industry and what local government can do to improve the system.

The council is committed to the economic and environmental future of the region and is striving to improve its planning system in a way which will achieve this.