Council gets set to vote
A VIRTUAL mini-city of nearly 3500 tourists and permanent residents at the Chinese-owned Cherrabah Resort east of Warwick could get the green light as early as Monday, at a special meeting of the Southern Downs Regional Council.
Notice of the meeting, which starts at 9am at the Warwick chambers and will be open to the public, was contained in a six-centimetre classified advertisement published in the Daily News yesterday.
A council spokeswoman said nine parties who had formally objected to the massive redevelopment of Cherrabah had been informed of the meeting earlier and that “normal meeting notice (had) been provided”.
“Public notice of the meeting was done because of the community interest in the issue, even though it isn’t a requirement for council to put out a separate advertisement,” the spokeswoman said.
“The aim of the public notice was to ensure that the community were aware of the meeting.”
Plans for the expansion of Cherrabah, which first opened as a tourism venue in 1975, have been on the books since 2004 when the site was bought by Chinese interests, the Joyful View Garden Real Estate Development Company.
They are seeking council approval to build 913 accommodation units for both tourist and permanent use, including golf course and “premium villas and rural residential and bushland allotments”.
Also proposed are five new staff buildings, camping grounds, administration, a post office and cafe, a retail development, a new golf course and clubhouse and a conference centre, along with a sports centre, gym and pool.
Executive jets carrying overseas visitors are also expected to wing their way every few hours onto a sealed airstrip.
The report to council from officers to be tabled on Monday – which recommends councillors give the expansion the tick – states it is envisaged that nearly 300 staff will be required to operate and maintain the new resort, with 50 based permanently on site.
Surrounding landowners have been critical of the Cherrabah plan, as well as highly sceptical about water availability.
The State Government in March gave the all-clear for a water allocation almost double the amount Cherrabah originally asked for, allowing them to take 96ML a year on the basis of what it said was a “detailed review” of groundwater resources on the elevated 2180 hectare property.
DERM Water Services regional manager Ross Krebs said an independent assessment commissioned by the Murray Darling Basin Authority showed the final allocations “pose no threat to the environment or ongoing groundwater supplies”.
Along with water supply, objecting landowners have pointed to the lack of suitable roads in the Elbow Valley area and increased traffic as concerns, along with a conflict with the Unimin mine, aircraft taking off and landing frequently and noise and lighting.
Concerns have also been raised about the rare Spotted-tailed Quoll which inhabits the area.
Objector Gordon Miller last night claimed to have received no notice from council about Monday’s meeting and said the first he’d heard about it was from the Daily News.
“I am definitely not impressed,” Mr Miller said.
“You really get the feeling a whole lot of stuff has been shoved under the carpet and they (council) are pushing this through quickly and quietly.
“What is the point of lodging an objection to this sort of plan if it’s not taken seriously?”
To view the full 150-page report to councillors to be tabled at Monday’s council meeting go to www.southerndowns.qld.gov.au and click on the “Council Meetings” link.