Chamber argue against SDRC's approval costing
SOUTHERN Downs Regional Council has received at least one tender bid for the transfer of Emu Swamp Dam approvals - but at an offer $1,493,980 less than the sum being sought.
The Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce got its bid in before the cut-off on November 20 and say they'll only stump up $8,000, covering the costs of the extension SDRC received from the Coordinator Generals office in October.
It's a far cry short of what council was hoping to recoup, $1,501,980.
"Noting the expenses council has incurred as part of the approval process in the tender is a way for council to recoup these funds on behalf of the ratepayers and provide an indicative value of the approvals,” an SDRC spokesperson previously said.
The chamber says it is disappointed with council's actions and in the fee they've requested.
"In effect the Coordinator General identified the caretaker role the SDRC had played since 2014, and would do until 2019. The only costs incurred during this caretaker role have been the fees paid to the Coordinator General for extensions,” the chamber's tender submission reads.
"The chamber considers it unfortunate that the SDRC has chosen to undertake a process which, on the advice of the SDRC's Chief Executive Officer in May 2018, will take some 42 days to complete. This will result in any decision to transfer the approvals not being completed until approximately December 11, 2018 which is some two months after the extension was granted.
"Also as the process will conclude immediately before the Christmas holiday period it will effectively require a new proponent to commence work on progressing the project in early January, only three months from the expiration of approvals.
"It is disappointing that the SDRC is seeking to profit from activities funded from other sources that have contributed to the EIS and the supplementary EIS.
"The tender process adopted by the SDRC, in the chambers view, are unnecessary in the light of alternative courses of action legally available to them under the Local Government Regulations (2012).”
With a detailed business case currently being pieced together by the SGBCC, they argue the organisation is the only viable option to progress a project, they say will create up to 835 jobs in the region and increase gross agricultural production in the area by $68million.