Jobs created on Fraser Coast
SIXTY-five Fraser Coast jobs to farm 290 tonne of fish and two million hydroponic leafy greens a year look like having been saved by the Chronicle and mayor Mick Kruger.
Sunshine Coast fish farmer Peter Penrose last week pulled the plug on his Susan River fish farm, frustrated over six months of “brick wall council negotiations, a whole bunch of nos and $20,000 in costs” to get his extended, “but more efficient”, operation up and running.
“I’ve had this council and I’ve had the Fraser Coast. We’re out of here,” Mr Penrose told the Chronicle last week.
But a page three story, a phone call to Mr Kruger and a second page three story had Mr Kruger talking earnestly one-on-one with his planning officers yesterday.
In 2005 Mr Penrose bought a subdivided property that had an existing town planning approval for a 2.4ha fish farm but he also had an existing DPI permit to farm more than 5.3ha.
The council kept sending him away and finally told him that even though he had the DPI approval he would need to put in a material change of use application because his “intensity” had changed.
“My officers say that if he now puts in his material change of use application they cannot see why they will not support it because it would simply be an extension of an existing business,” Mr Kruger said. “The approval will cover the 5.3ha.”
The Chronicle took the news to a suspicious Mr Penrose, who first of all said he would talk with the town planners in the council but he didn’t believe the MCU permit would cover his 5.3 ha, with its proposed shade house, which he needed to do his “ultra-efficient” fish farming venture.
“We’re looking at four months to get this through,” Mr Kruger said.
“We should be able to process it in that time, considering the holiday period.
“The officers told me they will give him all the support they can.
“OK. We’ll go with that,” Mr Penrose said.
“I’ll pay my extra $6179 for the material change of use application and hopefully now we’ll be in business by the middle of next year.
“Thank you Mr Kruger for helping us create 65 jobs.”
Mr Kruger said the council would be “out there again in 2010 issuing messages of how we can help industry in the region. We’re here to support the economy.”