Court battle likely on unit plan if talks fail
A CONTROVERSIAL unit development in east Warwick could be headed for a full-blown court case if mediation fails to resolve a dispute between the applicant and the Southern Downs Regional Council.
Council rejected an application by Gold Coast-based CH Holdings to build 39 units on a site on Rowland St stating the plan was too intensive a development, with a number of local residents having objected to the proposal.
CH Holdings later lodged a formal appeal in the Planning and Environment Court of Queensland, which last month ordered the firm to undertake a mediation session "in good faith" on or before February 16.
But unhappy with the way he claims council officers have handled the court proceeding so far, Cr Jamie Mackenzie put up a resolution at last week's council meeting calling for CH Holdings to be invited to present an alternative plan to avoid a drawn-out and costly court process.
The resolution - which Cr Mackenzie claims would have saved council considerable costs - lapsed for want of a seconder.
Cr Mackenzie said he was "alarmed" to find the matter already scheduled for court early in 2015 at considerable cost, without prior reports to council.
"As a practicing town planner, I am aware that we can settle this matter early in the appeal process saving great costs for council and the developer," he said.
"We needed up-front legal advice in the November and December 2014 general meetings on the potential for costs and compensation but we seem to have been denied this opportunity.
"In September 2015, Council resolved that some form of medium density residential development can be expected on the site so we are after an inexpensive but amenable solution that solves the engineering issues, fits with the town plan and is accepted by the neighbourhood."
The Planning and Environment Court has ordered that if the February mediation fails a trial will be ordered to go ahead sometime in March.