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Plan approved - council votes 6-5 for the community precinct plan
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 30 November 2007
Caloundra mayor Don Aldous got his way with the Maleny community Precinct plan at the council meeting last Thursday, but only just, in a 6-5 vote.    And in an extraordinary attack, division six councillor Danny O’Kearney call the mayor a “Napoleonic…dictator” after deputy mayor Don Smith forced through a series of amendments that ensured the Maleny Precinct area Network (Malpan) group’s proposal won through.    In a letter to the editor, Mr O’Kearney has accused the amendment’s supporters of having “a new secret plan that no one but the privileged few had seen prior to the council meeting”.
“ A motion to defer (the amendments) so councillors and professional officers or the community could study the changes, was defeated,” Mr O’Kearney wrote.

He paid tribute to the other four who joined him in opposing the amendments.   “Thanks for councillors Wallace, Newman, Grosskreutz and Champion who have the intestinal fortitude to stand up against Napoleonic rule,” he wrote.

Mr Aldous brought the decision to adopt “seven pages of amendments” to the council’s preferred option for the 122ha site to get through more comfortably.    “ I thought it would go through with a 7-4 vote,” he told The Range News, explaining that the decision ‘is now the right one’.    Something had to de done, because at that special meeting I chaired between the two main groups back on September 18, it was obvious that neither one would give an inch.  I’ve heard so much argey bargey and bullying between the groups.  So I had to come up with a compromise.    The golfers haven’t got everything they wanted either. It looks as though they might have to scale down some of their holes to enable the golf course to fit in their allocated 31.2 hectares.”

Maleny’s division one councillor Dick Newman was ‘appalled’ at the decision and flagged that supporters of the Obi Obi Parklands group would consider some form of protest.    “If you think the Maleny community is still battered and bruised from (the) Woolworth’s (protest) and they’re not going to come back (against this) then you’re wrong.    I’m investigating avenues with the state government, but not before I’ve heard back from the council CEO.”

Mr Newman was also critical of Cr Aldous for not ‘following unwritten protocol’.    “The mayor didn’t offer me the right to put up a motion,” he said.

Landcare group is ‘in the dark’

Last week’s Council decision on the Maleny Precinct has left the Barung Landcare group ‘in the dark’ according to president Heather Spring.    The group. Which was hopeful of a 5ha site near Pattemore House on the Porter’s Farm section of the 122ha parcel, is now in limbo with their future activities.

“There are all sorts of rumours flying around about where we are to be located, but the truth is no-one has contacted us to tell us where we stand,” said Ms Spring.    “There are several key location requirements if we are to operate successfully and they include frost and wind free area, gentle slope.    The area around historic Pattemore House would be ideal for our nursery area, and also providing us with space for a resource and education centre.    Many of the councillors we have approached in the past, including Don Smith, have been very supportive of our aims, but this hasn’t translated into making sure we have a suitable site.    It would be nice if someone from Council contacted us to let us know where we stand.”

Precinct: amendments positive

Maleny golf club President Max Whitten reckons the split in the public gallery of last Thursday’s spirited Caloundra Council meeting was 50-50.

“Some reports claimed that all 60 people in the gallery were parklands supporters,” he said.    “That’s simply not true.    Of the 60 present, I counted 32 who clearly supported the mixed uses adopted by council.    That’s got to say something.”

And he can’t see what the fuss is about over the land carve up for the Maleny Community Precinct.    Following deputy mayor Don Smith’s amendment at last Thursday’s council meeting, the allocations to parklands is 70 hectares of the 122ha site, compared to the 42.6ha now allocated to the golf course and other sporting groups, and the two hectares allocated to community facilities, including a new swimming pool.     Space for residential blocks remained unchanged at 5ha.

“No one group – either Malpan or the Parklands group – got everything they wanted,” Mr Whitten said.  “ The golf club has been allocated 31.2ha, which is more than the 18ha recommended by council officers.    But it still means we might well have to reduce the length of some of the holes, meaning more par threes and pars fours.”

But the retired CSIRO Scientist is hopeful, that with some clever golf course design and the sharing of facilities with other sporting groups, he can realise the dream of playing golf in the green hills of Maleny.

“We will probably be looking at saving space by sharing carpark and maintenance facilities with other nearby sporting clubs.    Perhaps we could also share clubhouse facilities with other sports.”

Mr Whitten is not only looking at the possibility of inter-sporting co-operation for facilities, but is also looking at club members participating in working bees to keep cost of course construction down.    “We’ll have the $1 million council funding and possibly a similar amount from other government sources, so that will mean that members will have to do much of the work in establishing fairways, tees and greens.”

He said following the amendments, many community organizations could now look forward to a positive outcome.    “It’s going to be exciting times for sporting and social groups in Maleny,” he said.

Parkland group to campaign against councillors

Those behind the Obi Obi Parkland proposal to accept compromise and get council to sign off on the latest report by council officers on Maleny’s community precinct were in agreement about one thing: they had been gazumped by some smart behind-the-scenes manoeuvrings by Mayor Don Aldous and his supporters led by Deputy Mayor Don Smith.    While keeping plans for further actions close to their chests, Parklands representatives Paul Veit, David Gardiner and Steve Swayne agreed on one thing: they would push to unseat the Caloundra councillors who opposed their own council officer’s recommendation for the Precinct, at the next local authority elections in March.

  “ All we can say is that council’s decision is not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning.    We will be working hard to ensure that people across the new Sunshine Coast Regional Council area know what these4 councillors really stand for,” Nr Veit said.    “ The whole process adopted last week in the council meeting was grubby.  Only the mayor’s supporters knew beforehand about the complicated set of amendments and redrawn map prior to the meeting.    For the rest, the first they knew of Don Smith’s seven pages of amendments was when they were tabled at the meeting.    Councillor Newman’s motion to defer a decision until the new amendments and map had been properly studied was defeated by the same councillors who supported the smith motion.”

Mr Swayne said it appeared that the effect of the amendments had been to clear the way for a nine-hole course to be constructed on the Armstrong’s Farm section of the precinct, where the sport and recreation zoning permitted an immediate start.    “ But in his redrawing of the overall plan, the deputy mayor has expanded the area for sporting facilities on the Porter’s Farm section subject to rezoning,” he said.   “To me it is clear that once the Porter’s Farm contract is settled and rezoning takes place, then another nine holes can be added.    But will it be at the expense of land put aside for other sporting clubs like soccer?”

Last Updated ( Friday, 30 November 2007 )
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