Saturday, 30 July 2016

Progress with the Adare motocross facility Appeal

It's more than one year since the Lockyer Valley Regional Councillors unanimously refused permission for the motocross training facility at Adare, citing a range of grounds based on non-compliance with the Gatton Planning Scheme.

This followed a public notification process in which 232 objecting submissions were received and only 2 supporting submissions.

On 3 July 2015 the applicant (Drywound Pty Ltd - sole shareholder Colby Steer) lodged an appeal in the Planning and Environment Court.  From that date, under the Court rules he had six weeks to progress the appeal.  In fact it was around four months before he took any further action.  That delay was a foretaste of the way he was to conduct the appeal until now.

I'll skip the intervening stages until on 3 March 2016 the Judge in the Planning and Environment Court issued a Court Order setting out the substantive stages in the appeal process, leading to a Court Hearing in September this year if no agreement on a mutually acceptable outcome had been found before that.

First there was a Mediation Meeting in mid-April to see whether was any commonly agreed outcome possible at that stage.  Unsurprisingly, there wasn't.

The next two stages in the process were to be the nomination of experts by the parties in relevant specialist fields.  This was to be done by 29 April.  By that date the Council had nominated experts in the fields of noise, ecology and town planning, and the group of six Co-respondents who are being assisted with fundraising by Lockyer Community Action Inc. had nominated experts in the fields of noise, koala ecology and town planning.

Drywound had not nominated any experts by the deadline.

The next deadline was to be meetings of the experts in the various fields, which were to be convened by 13 May (apart from town planning, which group meets later and has access to the reports of the other groups).

As of 13 May, Drywound had still not nominated any experts, so the expert group meetings had not been able to be held.

For a man who has apparently been so keen to get his motocross facility up and running, Colby Steer has been remarkably casual about pursuing the appeal process.

In the 49 weeks from when Colby Steer lodged his appeal until 12 June this year, more than 34 weeks had been wasted as a result of his non-compliance with deadlines set in Court Orders and the Planning and Environment Court's Practice Directions.

That amounts to 70% of the elapsed time.  Keen to get the track operational?  It doesn't look like it.

In commenting on his review of the progress of the Appeal the Judge commented that if an application were to be made for dismissal of the Appeal on the grounds of further delays, he would be inclined to look favourably on it.

The Appeal is now in the stage of Joint Expert Group meetings where the experts nominated by the various parties meet in "subject" groups (e.g. noise, ecology, town planning) to determine what they are able to agree on about the proposed development and where their areas of disagreement lie.

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