ON THE MOVE? Livingstone Shire Council headquarters (top left) sits on valuable land.
ON THE MOVE? Livingstone Shire Council headquarters (top left) sits on valuable land. Allan Reinikka ROK040518alagoon1

New tourism drawcard push for Yeppoon foreshore

THERE'S a building on the Yeppoon foreshore that does not belong on the ever-evolving tourist strip.

At least that's the view of Mayor Bill Ludwig who thinks Livingstone Shire Council's headquarters should be moved from the prime location to cater for a new tourist development drawcard.

"The future of council chambers is not on this site," Cr Ludwig told fellow councillors on Tuesday.

"One could question why the council ever put it on this site in a storm tide zone, in an area where had we been hit directly by Cyclone Marcia, this building would have been effectively knocked out and possibly destroyed."

The land on which council's HQ sits is currently zoned "open spaces", but Livingstone is considering a major amendment to its planning scheme which would see that area changed to a tourism zone.

That would effectively pave the way for a development such as an accommodation building to be constructed there, subject to the relevant approvals.

Any proposed structure higher than six storeys would be public notifiable.

"Currently we can have buildings on the site up to 12m," Cr Ludwig said.

"We're looking to take it to the community to see whether or not we should designate it as a tourism precinct, which would allow the opportunity for council to transition from this site into the CBD."

Moving HQ, which includes council's chambers, to the central business district is something that councillors have discussed previously.

"It would effectively see this (current) site redeveloped to have other tourism opportunities here that would complement both the lagoon and the proposed development at the sailing club, which is for a convention centre - about a $54million redevelopment," Cr Ludwig said.

"The community might say they'd rather keep it as a parkland."


Tracey O'Donohue sent in this shot of the Yeppoon Lagoon.
Tracey O'Donohue sent in this shot of the Yeppoon Lagoon. Tracey O'Donohue

The mayor stressed that community consultation was crucial.

"If the community by and large say they don't want it to happen, it would be a foolish council (to proceed with change) and it certainly wouldn't be something that is supported by the Minister.

"Town plans must demonstrate that they have community support."

Cr Mather said she had concerns with a potential zoning change.

"We're looking at moving this local government area to some other place - where that is and how much it is going to cost is another story.

"The people here, on the Capricorn Coast particularly, are very protective of their environment.

"They like to have a say, they like to know what's going on."

At Tuesday's council meeting, Cr Mather tried to get the matter deferred until after the 2020 local government elections and was the only councillor who did not support moving to public consultation.

"We would be foolish to proceed with such a major change on the brink of a new council," she said.

"A new council might have different ideas, they might have a better idea.

"We might be rushing this given the timeframe that we've got."

Deputy mayor Nigel Hutton said the council should take the next step and ask the community.

"One of the things that I'm proud about this council - it has, multiple times, not been afraid to say 'hey we're not going to leave it for someone else to have that conversation'.

"Let's have it - you'll find out very quickly how the community feels.

"There's no position here other than to say this is a proposal that the public can make submissions on, and that means the next council regardless of who's on it, has the opportunity to march forward.

"They can either march forward and say 'hey this is a great opportunity that we're ready to take' or they can say 'hey we've heard the voice of the community'.

"Our community is strongest when we're actually open to having debate and discussion, and I think a really important part of it is not shying away and leaving that for the next council."

The council voted to conduct public consultation.