Church plans get green light

Published 2:00pm 15 June 2023

Church plans get green light
Words by Nick Crockford

Plans for a new church on Bribie Island have been approved, despite opposition from residents and some councillors.

Concerns were raised over The Baptist Union of Queensland’s proposal to build a church at 99 First Ave, Woorim, opposite Bribie Island Memorial Gardens.

Fears were raised, before and during yesterday’s Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) meeting, over impacts on the environment, wildlife, increased traffic and waste water.

But after lengthy discussion and consultation with council officers, the church’s development application (DA) was passed unanimously.

“To say this is the hardest development application I have had to vote on is an understatement,” said Cr Brooke Savige (Div 1), “but we must make decisions in line with our Planning Scheme. 

“I cannot in good faith vote to refuse this application because I do not believe there are non-compliances with the Planning Scheme that cannot be managed or mitigated in a way that would constitute clear and defendable planning-based reasons for refusal.

“I acknowledge there will be residents unhappy with this outcome. My decision is not made lightly. This is the next best outcome.”

The 4000sqm block has been privately owned since the 1960s, had a house on it until 2006 and has been vacant since 2008. It was sold to the Baptist Church in 2021.

Plans lodged with MBRC show the church - currently at Cotterill Ave, Bongaree - would cover 1000sqm, with an auditorium, tech studio, conference room, kitchen, office, 58 parking spaces.

Paul O’Donohue, a member of Bribie Island Environmental Protection Association, told councillors it was “okay to say no to a DA that clears land, disrupts wildlife, creates health risks to the community through traffic hazards and sewerage seepage”.

Cr Savige began by saying: “The best outcome for this land is the DA be declined and the land purchased and held in public ownership”.

She listed other uses permissible for the site, such as aquaculture, cropping, storage, packing shed and nursery, saying “all could have detrimental effects on this land”.

“In Paul’s words from earlier, this stretch is significantly Bribie and I believe the best outcome is for this stretch to be preserved.”

However, councillors were told they could not weigh up the development application and the notion of buying-back the land at the same time.

Mayor Peter Flannery said: “It would have been great to go back in time and secure this parcel of land before this application came in. It hasn’t.

“The application is on the table before us and we have to make a decision regardless of what we think the best use of this site is for. There are worse case scenarios for this land.”

Cr Mick Gillam (Div 8) said he would “dearly love to see that environmental stretch of First Ave stay as it is” and Cr Adam Hain (Div 3) raised concerns over cars turning in and out on a “high-speed road”.

Cr Cath Tonks (Div 9) saw the number of parking bays as an issue while Cr Matt Constance (Div 10) said councillors had an "obligation to assess these things through a legal framework and not purely on what the community opinion may be".

Amendments were made to raise the parking to 71 from 58 bays and for a “right (turn) in from the east and left in, left out turn to and from the property”. Calls for a tree offset were not supported.

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