New Mining director Gary Banks, Advantage Welding and Machinery director Simon Walford, Code D Engineering owner Brett Wass, former Fitzroy deputy mayor Ellen Smith, Code D manager Dan Waterhouse and mayoral candidate Dominic Doblo say the obvious place for industry is west of Gracemere.
New Mining director Gary Banks, Advantage Welding and Machinery director Simon Walford, Code D Engineering owner Brett Wass, former Fitzroy deputy mayor Ellen Smith, Code D manager Dan Waterhouse and mayoral candidate Dominic Doblo say the obvious place for industry is west of Gracemere. Allan Reinikka

Mapping future growth

BRETT Wass and other business leaders are calling on the council to form a working group with local companies to ensure opportunities to attract major firms to the region are not lost.

The owner of Code D Engineering is a fierce opponent of the proposals to rezone residential parts of Gracemere as industrial and said the chance existed to bring thousands of jobs and millions of investment dollars if the council shifted its focus.

Last week Mayor Brad Carter told an angry public meeting in Gracemere that his council would not seek to ratify the controversial Temporary Local Planning Instrument until after the local government election next month and admitted the consultation process had "dropped the ball".

But Mr Wass, who lives in the disputed Precinct K in Gracemere, said there was a growing conviction that the big companies which service the mining industry will relocate to the region only if the council moved straight to develop the vast tracts of industrial land between Kabra and Stanwell.

"Technical consultants, industry representatives, marketing companies and local business which service the mines agree it is obvious that forecast economic benefits to the region will only be obtained if we show prospective clients that we have large, well-priced, serviced, vacant blocks of land ready to go on the day the overpass opens or sooner," he said.

"We need to attract large mining industry service companies to this area as a priority.

"Once established, these large companies create spin-off industries and the snowball effect for our economy."

He said the region was competing with Gladstone, Emerald and Mackay and if the council insisted on offering only small industrial blocks mingled with houses, it could forget it.

He called for the council to immediately form a separate strategic working committee comprising council officials and representatives from target industries to focus solely on the Gracemere Industrial Estate with the directive to achieve the optimum community result.

The view was supported yesterday by John Bremhorst, a director of Brisbane-based Strategic Mining.

"Rockhampton is likely to benefit if it offers large parcels of accessible industrially zoned land, well segregated from residential areas and situated proximate to a skilled labour pool.

"Smaller industrial areas discretely located around Rockhampton are not ideal for larger scale industry," he said.

Mr Wass said he had received many similar messages from outside.

"Hopefully some of the councillors and managers can understand the overwhelming logic and support the move west before it is too late for our region to benefit from the impending resources boom," he said.

Last week's public meeting showed the level of public outrage with the council's intention to rezone residential land, he said.

The council argues Precinct K is a logical area to offer to industry because it is already serviced with roads, sewerage, water and electricity.

It will cost tens of millions of dollars to install the required infrastructure on the undeveloped land in the industrial corridor.

But the opponents say development costs will be small compared with the potential economic benefits.

 

INDUSTRY ZONE

  • There are 50 residential blocks in the disputed area the council wants to rezone.
  • RRC got a Temporary Local Planning Instrument to rezone the land stripping residents of right of appeal.
  • After a backlash, Mayor Brad Carter said he would not seek to get the TLPI ratified until after council election.


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