THE developer of a rejected Cairns subdivision has cast doubt on the supposed strength of community opposition and criticised Cairns Regional Council for taking months to make a decision.
Kenfrost Homes got the red light at this week’s council meeting in its bid to build the fourth and final 65-lot stage of a 201-lot housing estate across the road from Redlynch State College.
The previous three stages were already approved.
The company’s general manager Adam Gowlett said community opposition to the project was minor in the grand scheme of things, with only 19 objectors — with four coming from the same address and the majority being standard letters signed by residents.
“When compared with even just the Barr Creek Bridge (42 submissions and 240 signed petitioners) or the recent Freshwater/Stratford planning study (742 submissions), the level of community concern at Redlynch versus the size of the community appears minor,” Mr Gowlett said.
“The Cairns Post would recall reporting recently of McAlister Brewery gaining 2000 signatures against a local development and the Clifton Beach community raising 694 objections to a development proposal.
“Nineteen objections doesn’t seem a significant community response.”
Mr Gowlett said Kenfrost had responded to earlier community concerns over lot sizes by reducing the number of home sites and increasing their sizes.
The final stage would have had a number of lots bigger than 1000sq m, with many more between 700sq m and 1000sq m.
Our research has shown that there is a lot of demand for more new and affordable homes in the Redlynch Schools catchment,” Mr Gowlett said.
The firm said it was required to upgrade the Jungara-Redlynch Intake Rd intersection with extra lanes and traffic lights as preliminary works, which would make traffic around the schools much safer.
Cairns Regional Council has rejected the final 65-lot stage of a Kenfrost Homes residential subdivision at Redlynch Intake Rd.
“The estate has fantastic access to the Redlynch College and St Andrews and overlooks Freshwater creek with easy access to all of its highly valued parks and open spaces,” Mr Gowlett added.
“Children of the estate will be able to walk to school so any concerns about increased traffic around the schools is nonsense.
“Yes, 201 new residents will bring extra traffic, but the road improvements will far surpass the impact of the new residents.
“Central within the estate is a large park that is proposed to have sports equipment currently lacking in the area.
“We hope that the central park would become a social meeting place for the broader community and not just residents of the estate.”
The project has the potential to sustain more than 800 construction jobs over its life.
Mr Gowlett said the project’s current revised form had been the result of extensive discussion and negotiation with the council.
“Nothing was off the table, Kenfrost even proposed this stage could be 1000-2000sq m lots,” he said.
“The plan submitted was done so with advice from council over what they felt was the most appropriate approach to take, albeit that the application still had to go through normal planning process and public scrutiny.
“We understand there are no guarantees – but we took every bit of advice available.
“The stage was subject to enormous scrutiny, particularly around flood modelling.
“The stage flood model was completed prior to the floods earlier in 2018.
“Kenfrost was asked to re-run all its modelling after the review of flooding that occurred in March 2018.”
Minor changes were made to accommodate the new information, but Mr Gowlett said they generally supported the findings of the original flood model — that development was unlikely to be at risk or cause impacts.
“Further, council then insisted that the entire flood modelling was reviewed by a third party, and again, minor tweaks were made to ensure no impacts upstream, downstream or on the future residents,” he said.
“At no time during all these works and with all the costs and time involved did council suggest that the application would not be supported — until around the middle of this year.”
At that time, council officers advised Kenfrost the final stage subdivision would be unlikely to gain support.
“In August we received formal advice that the stage would not be supported, yet it still took another three months to bring that decision before council,” he said.
“We have had no advice as to why it took a further three months to bring the matter before council when that internal decision had been made.
“Kenfrost will now take some time to review the whole project before determining its next course of action.”