21 December, 2022
New plan key to industrial growth
A MASTERPLAN will be developed for the Atherton Industrial Estate as Tablelands Regional Council seeks to grow the number of manufacturing businesses in the area and further establish the town as the service centre for the region.
The masterplan will cover a number of privately owned undeveloped land parcels and has come about as council recognises the growth in development in the estate has grown from north to south over a number of years.
“With the construction of John Cole Toyota, a development front has commenced from the south of the estate,” a council report stated.
“There are several accesses into the estate from the Kennedy Highway but there is no clear connectivity through the estate to the east and west and the northern and southern growth fronts have no connectivity.”
The reported noted that the economic output of the manufacturing sector over the past three years had fallen by $23.4 million, while over the same period, the retail sector grew by only $2.1 million.
Councillors made it clear they want the masterplan to be done as quickly as possible with a number of applications, development approvals and preliminary proposals being considered by council.
Council officers had suggested establishing a stakeholder group to undertake consultation but Councillors wanted the initial consultation to only involve affected landowners and a broader public consultation to be done once the Local Area Plan was developed.
“If we put it out to everyone, we could get bogged down by the process – we don’t want to be stalled by a lot of stakeholders,” Deputy Mayor Cr Kevin Cardew said.
He also raised the importance to consider the road network and “get it right” so that connectivity was achieved through all the land parcels involved and for officers to ensure the proposed bypass could link to the estate at a later stage.
Acting Executive Manager Development Services Kelly Reaston told council important aspects of the Local Area Plan would identifying the road and drainage network, setting minimum lot sizes and the configuration of those lots – all of which would then form part of the assessment criteria used in considering new proposals.
“The plan would act as a planning instrument that development proposals would be assessed by,” she said.
“We also have to make sure that we don’t nega-tively impact the main town centre – we want to complement it rather than competing with it.”
CEO Gary Rinehart said there was “some concern and interest about the future direction of that precinct”, making it important that council engaged with the business community early in the process.
“There is quite a degree of community concern and they wish to know more,” Cr David Clifton said.
Council agreed to go ahead and develop the local area plan for the industrial estate and allocated $55,000 to undertake the process.