CAIRNS Regional Council is doing its best to lay out the red carpet for the $450 million Nova towers project after allowing the developers to skip a step in the normal approval process.
Councillors yesterday voted unanimously to approve a request
from project planners Planning Plus to remove the requirement that its
carpark plan should be approved by council’s CEO. A condition of the project’s
overall development approval meant a car park “Implementation and Monitoring
Plan” needed to be endorsed by the council’s CEO.
But yesterday’s decision means the developer now only needs
to provide a copy of that plan to the CEO.
In a report presented to councillors, council officers “The
recommended that the developer’s request be rejected.
condition in its current form provides a degree of certainty to council that
the plan will be to the satisfaction of council, via delegation to the chief
executive officer as per standard practice of council,” the report stated.
Councillors, Planning and Economic committee chair and
Deputy Mayor Terry James said the request was granted to provide the developer
“certainty” about the council’s commitment to the project. “It’s
quite clear in their car parking plan what strategy they’ve got and we’re happy
to run with that, for now,” he said. “Down the track it will
minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">Cr James said it was up to councillors to weigh
up the arguments put forward by both council officers and the applicants.
“We just think this is such a very important project and we need to see it
happen – it’s going to change the face of the city,’’ Cr James said.
“Times are very tough out there and if we get something like this going it will
be a drawcard for a lot of other developments.” Mayoral
candidate Jim Brooks, who attended the meeting, said the councillors’ decision
showed the “level of contempt” they had for council staff