Monday, 20 April 2015

The Bella Creek Motorsports Facility is not going to happen!!

This news came in around the middle of March but I forgot to report it. The proposed development, in the Gympie Regional Council area, would have included five motocross tracks, as well as four-wheel-drive tracks, camping, etc.

The Bella Residents Action Group made the announcement on their Facebook page.

Well...for all of you who have been waiting with bated breath and are not on a mailing list - we are now well past the period within which an appeal against the refusal of Mr Canty's DA had to have been lodged. 

A conversation with Council has confirmed that there has been NO such lodgement. The 2nd application for the Bella Creek motorsports facility is now as dead as the first. After 4 1/2 years we can finally take a deep breath and exhale. 

Thank you to all who have been following and offering support in our battle to prevent this misplaced idea from becoming a reality, you have been wonderful. After such a long time it seems hard to believe that this may finally be behind us; in light of the proponents past ability to offer up unpleasant surprises, we remain somewhat wary. We are nonetheless looking forward to drinking that champagne we've been storing. Raise a toast wherever you are and give yourselves a pat on the back, you deserve it!

The Gympie Regional Council's Planning and Development Section report on the application can be found here.  It has a number of interesting things to say, many of which are relevant to the proposal for a motocross operation at Adare in the Lockyer Valley.

Noise and Amenity

... there remains considerable doubt that the proposed development can operate without causing significant adverse noise impacts given the scale of the proposed development.

The development is proposed in a quiet rural area that is removed from the urban area. The application has not adequately demonstrated that noise from the development will not cause a nuisance to the immediate area. Further, it is likely that the traffic that could be generated is estimated to significantly increase when compared to the current low volumes of traffic in the locality, which will also cause adverse impacts upon the amenity and character of the area.

The locality is characterised by rural, rural residential and education uses and has a high level of amenity. Consequently, the development is likely to cause significant adverse changes to the acoustic environment of adjoining and surrounding premises and significantly impact upon the existing amenity of the locality.

The application was subject to a large number of objections [205] who have raised valid concerns about the proposal’s impact on the amenity of the area. ...

Concerns relate to character of the area being threatened, intrusion in lifestyle for a rural community, loss of privacy, unlawful entry onto neighbouring properties and inconsistencies with rural and rural residential land use in the area. ...

The concerns raised in the submissions are outlined in the report the majority of which raise valid planning issues. The number of and quality of the submissions, demonstrate that the development is contrary to community expectations and is not in the public interest.

Impact on Koala Population

In relation to the koala population on the Applicant's land that would be subjected to adverse impacts from the proposed activity, the Council Planning report says:

Implementation of these [proposed] measures could be conditioned on any approval. However, the protection of the environmental values on the site cannot be guaranteed in regards to maximising protection of Koala Habitat Areas and having no adverse environmental impacts.

Community Benefit and the Need for the Development

Referring to the questions of community benefit and need for the development the report says:

It is accepted that the proposed development will have some community benefit. However, the applicant has not provided any justification that there is a need for the facility, in particular at this location.


The applicant has not provided supporting information from an economic expert about the level of economic need for this type of facility. However, it is accepted that there is some community benefit in providing for this type of facility. However, the planning need for the facility at this location has not been demonstrated.

Number of Submissions

One of the grounds on which the Gypmie Councillors refused the application was that:
Having regard to the number of objections and concerns expressed in the submissions received, the proposed development is contrary to community expectations and is not in the public interest.

As mentioned above, the Bella Creek proposal gave rise to 205 objecting submissions of which 57% were from the Gympie Regional Council area.  The Adare proposal has given rise to 232 objecting submissions 95% of which came from the Lockyer Valley Region.

In addition to the 205 objecting submissions, the Gympie Regional Council received 582 submissions in support of the Bella Creek proposal (85% of them from outside the Council area).  The Adare motocross proposal elicited only two (2) supporting submissions.

Gympie Regional Council's Conclusion

Having regard to the planning scheme as a whole and the level of conflict identified, there are not sufficient grounds to allow the development despite the conflict. Consequently, the development application should be refused.

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