March 18, 2021
The Kingaroy Transformation Project and significant changes to the region’s planning scheme may have put an end to a developer’s hopes of building a “big box” retail park on the outskirts of Kingaroy.
Plans to build a combined commercial and residential estate on a block of land bounded by the Bunya Highway and Taylors Road were first approved by the South Burnett Regional Council in 2009.
The master planned community – dubbed ‘Sunnyvale’ – was the brainchild of Sunshine Coast-based Tapwood Developments.
In 2009, Tapwood received Council approval to build 439 residential lots on farmland the company had purchased immediately north of Kingaroy’s CBD, along with a business centre, shopping centre, tavern, motel, motorhome park, childcare centre, over-50s “lifestyle resort” and aged care centre
However the project ran into trouble soon afterwards when development funding dried up in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, and in 2014 the block was sold to two unrelated local developer groups after Tapwood abandoned the project.
One group purchased the eastern half of the block (bounded by Fisher Street and Poinciana Avenue) for future residential development and Kingaroy Investments purchased the western half, fronting the Bunya Highway.
Kingaroy Investments then obtained Council permission to extend the original development approval on the portion it owned and to make modifications to the block sizes, vegetation buffers and realignment of a road inside the development.
Kingaroy Investments had originally planned to see work on the first commercial buildings begin in 2016.
But a flat economy meant the site continued to sit undeveloped.
At the South Burnett Regional Council’s March Community standing committee meeting, Councillors were told the approval for the site was given an automatic six-month extension to March 2021 by the State Government as part of its COVID-19 response.
Council officers now recommended the owners be given a further 12-month extension so negotiations between the developers and Council about the block’s future could continue.
Planning Manager Chris du Plessis told the meeting the original Tapwood approval was given shortly after the 2008 Council amalgamations under the terms of the old Kingaroy Planning Scheme, but that approval was now “time damaged”.
This was because in 2017 Council had replaced the Kingaroy IPA with a completely new South Burnett Regional Planning Scheme, and since then had made further modifications to bring the new scheme fully into line with the most recent version of Queensland’s Planning Act.
These changes meant the approval no longer complied with current planning provisions.
In addition, he noted the plan for the site to house a 30ha commercial area would effectively match or dwarf Kingaroy’s CBD.
This seemed unwise in light of the $13.9 million Kingaroy Transformation Project now under way.
And if extensive development proceeded, the need to supply Kingaroy North with water, sewerage and stormwater trunk infrastructure could put the Council’s finances under strain.
Mr du Plessis said the developers were willing to explore options with Council – including scaling the commercially zoned area back to a “neighbourhood service centre” of around a hectare – and it was possible an infrastructure agreement could be reached with them as well.
Granting a 12-month extension to the current approval would allow those negotiations to proceed.
Councillors agreed to accept the officers’ recommendation unanimously.