Council raises concerns over Hummock Hill Island project EIS

THE Hummock Hill Island tourism project is back on the table, but council remains sceptical about the impact of the project in the region.

The project, 30km south-east of Gladstone, will include the construction of two hotels, a health spa, a residential development, an airstrip, and helipad.

However, the project's proposed size is making the council nervous.

Invited to comment on the proposal, the council outlined concerns that the project's 465ha footprint would be too disruptive to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

It also said that while it was okay with an estimated 2700 tourists, it had concerns about a possible 1200 residents would affect the region.

"(A total of) 1200 is a very large residential population. If these people are going to live down there, how are they going to work, live…how are they going to impact on services, traffic?" Mayor Gail Sellers asked.

"So it's a heavy impact on all of that, as well as water and sewerage."

She said the council had not yet adopted a policy stance on the development.

Hummock Hill Island has been subject to many development proposals over the years, with this draft EIS the latest to go through the State and Federal Government assessment process.

Regional strategy portfolio spokesperson councillor Matt Burnett said the council could only review certain aspects of the EIS relating to environmental issues that had the potential to impact on matters of National Environmental Significance, under the provisions of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

"The review indicates that the proponent appears to recognise the values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and has taken those matters of national environmental significance into consideration," Cr Burnett said.

"But while Council supports the conservation objectives stated in the draft EIS, we feel there are matters that should be further addressed before proceeding."

Cr Burnett said matters which required further attention included the aesthetics of the proposed structures within the view of the coastline, safety of wildlife movements, controlled lighting in turtle nesting areas, safe locations for dugong feeding and growth-related issues.

"Council acknowledges the development could be great for tourism growth in the region but authorities need to fully consider the potential impacts a development of this scale could cause the Great Barrier Reef," Cr Burnett said.

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