Whitsunday Regional Council Defending development decision
McCullough Robertson’s Planning and Environment team successfully acted for Whitsunday Regional Council in the Planning and Environment Court in defence of Council’s decision to approve a 12-storey, five-star luxury resort complex in Airlie Beach which, as a first for this tourist town, generated substantial community interest.
The development was opposed by a resident’s group, whose members were concerned with the height, scale and appearance of the building. They also disputed that there was a community need for a luxury hotel and function facility in Airlie Beach.
The dispute led to some interesting evidence being put before the Court – including a long list of the things that a hotel needs to make it five-star, which must include “poolside umbrellas”, “iced water” and “a spa with at least 16 treatments”.
His Honour Judge Rackemann acknowledged that the building substantially exceeded the height restriction under the Planning Scheme which was beyond reasonable expectations. However, his Honour found that its impacts were minor in nature and that the proposal will deliver a number of positive benefits, including the creation of landscape screening in a public park, the provision of a much needed function facility and rooftop bar with 360 degree panoramic views of Airlie Bay, the Whitsunday islands and vegetated hillslopes.