Local leaving because of council
EIGHT years ago Adam Williams bought a five-acre block on the heights in Dundowran, planning to turn it into eight house blocks, including one for his retirement.
This week he is loading a container in his back yard, packing up the house he built on the hill; ready to take his 10-year-old truck and loyal border collies back to NSW.
“I’ll never try to develop land on the Fraser Coast again. The council and my extra legal, engineering and surveying costs to fight their bizarre, even wrong decisions, have forced me to put an extra $190,000 on my blocks of land.
“The sad thing is it’s the mums and dads on Struggle Street who buy my blocks who’ll have to pay that because I have to make a living, even a small one.”
Adam Williams is not a millionaire developer. He left school at 16, is a printer and cattleman by trade and has lived in tents and garages while he’s developed small holdings in NSW and Qld over 12 years “with never any trouble with councils”.
“Now my remaining five blocks are on the market, including my house. I’m happier to return to the land as a cattleman and battle drought and climate change to make a living rather than deal any longer with this council.
“I think Hervey Bay is a beautiful place. I like the people here. But a mix of a real rude attitude among senior council staff, their consistent moving of the goal posts and the incredible jacking up of infrastructure charges have left me no choice.”
Adam, 45, developed his stage one – just one block – for just $1500 in council fees.
The next two blocks, stage two, which took about 19 months to get approved, he was hit with $10,000 on each for open space contribution. All up he paid $17,560.70 on each block for the rest of the council’s infrastructure charges.
“For three months I tried to get an appointment with a senior council planning officer to present my case because my surveyor calculated he’d made a mistake. He had, but finally I gave up and just paid the money.”
“Mr Williams’ open space contribution for his five-lot development at Dundowran is $21,428 in total or $5357 per lot,” Fraser Coast Regional Council acting director of development services Michael Ellery said.
“If he pays before close of business on June 30 this year he is entitled to a 25 per cent discount of $5357 on the total, which takes his open space contribution to $16,071.”
But Adam says Mr Ellery has not mentioned the other infrastructure charges.
“You go out in life and have a go. You put your shoulder into it and work hard but here almost every time you kick a goal the goal posts have disappeared to somewhere new.
“And if people like me don’t do developments like this, regions like the Fraser Coast don’t grow and prosper.”