A THIRD-generation cane farming family has scored a crucial breakthrough in their long-running bid to build a sprawling commercial precinct at Edmonton.
Pregno Family Investments has been tied up in Planning and Environment Court since 2009, battling Cairns Regional Council and the State Government over their proposal for the Edmonton Business and Industry Park.
But the Bob Manning-led council voted unanimously this week to finally settle the matter, and the appeals could be out of the courts by next month.
The win signals another big construction project in the pipeline for the booming southern corridor of Cairns as new governments in Queensland prove their willingness to ease the regulatory burdens of their predecessors.
The 20ha development would occupy a 212ha cane paddock east of the Bruce Highway at Edmonton – the biggest proposed greenfield development outside the southeast.
"The EBIP project will provide a massive boost to the Cairns economy with the potential to create up to 4000 much-needed jobs over the life of the project," Pregno Family Investments spokeswoman Meredith Gardiner said.
The project would be built in six stages over 20 years, with the first 2.9ha of industrial and commercial space scheduled for completion in 2015.
Ms Gardiner said work was ready to start as soon as the appeal is settled and necessary work permits are obtained.
Future expansions include space for sports fields, business and technology parks, and a 250-bed hospital.
The project would also transform areas along Blackfellow Creek into recreational parks, walking and cycling trails and barbecue areas.
The area's councillor, John Schilling, said the EBIP would complement plans for a large retail and residential development on Mann's Farm nearby.
He said the projects were needed to meet the expected population boom south of Cairns.
"If you look, we're fast running out of industrial land, and the areas that we've got are pretty well full up," Cr Schilling said.
Since taking office in May, Mayor Manning and his council have agreed to settle three long-running legal stoushes over contentious development projects.
As well as the Edmonton project, settlements will be reached with the developers behind a retirement village at Whitfield and a unit block at Palm Cove, which were scuttled by the former Val Schier-led council and then fought out in court.
Source: The Cairns Post