New ten-pin bowling alley scores first strike
THE FUTURE looks more certain for a proposed new bowling alley in Gladstone’s CBD after striking out with a request to waive $84,293 in council infrastructure charges, approved.
The fourth item on Gladstone Regional Council’s October 6 ordinary meeting agenda was to
consider waiving adopted infrastructure charges associated with the facilities development application.
The Development Application (DA) concerns a bar and indoor sport and recreation facility located at 25 and 38 Yarroon Street.
The DA dovetails with renovations on the Central Hotel.
The renovations are: a re-design of the ground floor level including the existing gaming area, a new outdoor bar area, a new back of house area and rearrangement and relocation of ground floor toilets; new fit-out upstairs to include four full bowling lanes and associated infrastructure; rearrangement of carparking; relocation of bin storage areas and vehicle access; and new disabled access from the carparking area into the hotel.
The developer can apply to council for a 50 per cent reduction in the total infrastructure charges of $84,293.03.
The applicant lodged a request for council to consider waiving the adopted infrastructure charge on August 15, 2020.
The request detailed a number of reasons on council documents including the fact the industry was doing it tough due to COVID.
Councillors also heard the applicant had found asbestos in the building during renovations, which had added additional significant cost to the project.
“He states if we were not to reduce to zero for certain charges, it would make further redevelopment unviable,” council staff told the meeting.
Cr Daryl Branthwaite said he supported imposing no infrastructure charges on the developer.
“It’s going to be a good attraction for the CBD,” he said.
“Nobody else in this area is doing anything like this.
“It’s going to add jobs to our community and obviously a new vibrancy to the community as well.”
Cr Natalia Muszkat said she found it very difficult to understand how, if the application was rejected by council, the development would not progress.
Cr Kahn Goodluck acknowledged the infrastructure charges must be paid by “someone” which in this case would be council, but said “we had been smashed by COVID” and he was happy to move a motion to reduce infrastructure charges to zero.
Cr Chris Trevor said there were a “great deal” of people disadvantaged when the previous bowling alley closed during the Curtis Island LNG development.
“If this project was to get up finally, the economic benefits in providing local jobs would far outweigh any reduction of $40,000 if that decision is made today,” he said.
“Given there are no proponents that I’m aware of in the short or long term look at the prospect of establishing another bowling club in our community.”
Cr Rick Hansen said he would consider it as somewhat of an investment by council, “considering the community aspect” of the project and having a local ten-pin bowling alley.
Cr Matt Burnett asked if the bowling alley was competition approved (to host tournaments), or just for fun, which he said would determine his decision on the level of funding he thought was appropriate.
Cr Natalia Muszkat asked to see the businesses financials, to determine if the waiver of charges was economically appropriate, and how she could apply that to requests by other businesses in the future.
Cr Kahn Goodluck put forward a motion to approve the applicants request waiving $84,293.03 in infrastructure charges, which was seconded by Cr Churchill.
“It's a unique development we don’t currently have in our region, due to the great economic impacts to this particular industry,” Cr Goodluck said.
Councillors voted 6 to 1 to support the full waiving of infrastructure fees, going against the council staff recommendation.
Cr Natalia Muszkat voted against the proposal and Cr Desley O’Grady provided an apology for not attending the meeting.