Driving employment in Cairns' Southern Corridor
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Developers set to go, but state blocks plan

PLANS twice knocked back for an Edmonton development project that would include sites for a hospital, tavern, technology park and shopping and showroom facilities could be approved by the end of the year.

The project's backers say up to 4000 jobs could be created by the development on the eastern side of the Bruce Highway, but Cairns Regional Council last week rejected the plans, blaming Main Roads and Queensland Transport.

Planning for new roads, water and sewerage reticulation, drainage works and public transport has not been done, stopping the Pregno Family Investments Pty Ltd development from going ahead.

The drawback is the Mt Peter masterplan - developed by the council and State Government for an area of 1550ha - which is only at draft stage and will not be finished until 2011.

Pregno company spokeswoman Vanessa Maruna said an appeal could be lodged with the departments within a month.

Ms Maruna said more than 20 businesses were interested in setting up in the project area.

The knock back was disappointing, she said. "We are obviously unhappy about the decision but it wasn't unexpected," she said.

"We could start within the next six months - we're ready to go if we get the approvals."

Pregno, which owns about 212ha of land bordered by the Bruce Highway, Swallow Rd and Thomson Rd, had previously wanted to build Edmonton's town centre on the land.

The former Cairns City Council rejected the rezoning application, opting for its own plan for 54ha of land known as Mann's Farm on the western side of the highway. Pregno then relodged its application with Cairns Regional Council for a master-planned business and industry park.

Councillors last week acknowledged Pregno's land would be developed in the future and said they didn't have concerns about proposed land uses.

But Cr Paul Gregory said the council's hands were tied by State Government departments, which must finalise plans for traffic, intersection upgrades and public transport, before the project can be approved.

"We've certainly been directed (to reject the plan)," Cr Gregory said.

Cr Rob Pyne was critical of the council decision and said the southern corridor was in dire need of development.

A population for Mt Peter of up to 50,000 by 2025 is estimated in the State Government's 2031 plan.

Source: The Cairns Post

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