THE developer behind the controversial 3500-home proposed community at Worongary has thrown his support behind State Treasurer Andrew Fraser’s call for better communication between Gold Coast City Council (GCCC) and industry.

Fraser has publicly declared GCCC as ‘difficult to work with’ on several occasions over the last few months, as the two governing bodies continued to shift the blame on issues including Allconnex’ increasing water charges, state-high PIP infrastructure charges and lagging development approval processes.

Perron Group property director Ian Armstrong, who is heading Worongary’s proposed Pacific View Estate project, is supporting Fraser’s call for council to engage in ‘better dialogue’ with developers (read story here).

“Mr Fraser spoke about the benefits that government-generated construction jobs such as those at the Gold Coast University Hospital and Carrara Stadium are bringing to the Gold Coast, and that’s all fine,” says Armstrong.

“But if the Gold Coast isn’t future-proofed for a couple of years’ time when those projects have been completed, it’s going to be in a very difficult economic situation to recover from.

“The only way to avoid that is to once again encourage private sector development, even some old-fashioned entrepreneurship, and make the Gold Coast an attractive investment option again.”

The 300ha Pacific Views estate could house up to 10,000 residents and at its peak would create 2600 jobs and a $3.2 billion injection into the location economy. The application was submitted last December and is still in the preliminary stages, but the proposal has been met with strong resistance.

Division 9 councillor Ted Shepherd has strongly opposed the development since it became public knowledge, while Perron Group has also faced public concerns over the clearance of koala inhabited bushland.

The major concerns relate to the size of the estate and the sociological and environmental impacts on the area.

However according to Gold Coast Logan Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) branch president Steve Harrison, the urbanisation of western coastal suburbs is essential to meeting the housing requirements of the South East Queensland Regional Plan.

At least 100,000 new dwellings in the regions have been identified as necessary for future housing needs.

“We think the forecasts for infill development in the coastal areas are optimistic, and inadvertently, have placed great emphasis on growth corridors in the north and at the foot of the hinterland,” says Harrison.

“Over the next 20 years the demand for master-planned developments is going to be much stronger than currently thought. As a linear city, master-planned developments west of the M1 still boast proximity to our great beaches and coastal lifestyle.”

As unemployment statistics on the Gold Coast hit a record high of 8.1 per cent – far higher than the national average of 4.9 per cent; Armstrong says the Pacific Views estate presents a significant boost for local jobs.

“The big construction jobs, the big employers, are already drying up so it’s imperative that projects like ours are welcomed as the economic and employment stimuli they truly are,” he says.

“It’s typical of the sort of project the city is screaming out for to meet South East Queensland Regional Plan dwelling targets and have the positive impact on existing housing stocks that only major capital investments like these can bring.

“In order to achieve building targets and the creation of major and long-term job-creating projects such as ours at Worongary there needs to be a new mindset at the state and local levels and a number of significant regulatory planning changes that will promote major projects and the employment and economic benefits attached, not hinder them.”

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