Mackay waterfront project taking shape with development scheme approved

Published: 24 May 2019

The revitalisation of Mackay’s waterfront and City Centre have taken another major step forward with the State Government approving council’s proposed development scheme for the Priority Development Area (PDA).

Member for Mackay and Assistant Minister for State Development Julieanne Gilbert said the PDA would enable council to realise its vision to transform the city’s waterfront and CBD precincts, for the benefit of the community.

“The approval of the development scheme will be a catalyst for the rejuvenation of the five precincts in the PDA: Mackay City Centre, Riverside, Enterprise, Queens Park and Beachside,” Ms Gilbert said.

“It will improve the city and the region's liveability, create jobs and boost investment confidence in Mackay,” she said.

“It will also result in greater pedestrian and cycling access, encouraging convenient and safe active travel between precincts, attractions and facilities.

“Public feedback has proven vital for shaping the proposed development scheme, and I thank the people of Mackay for engaging with this work and helping government deliver on what the community wants.”

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick said the project was a great example of state and local governments working productively together.

“The PDA is about delivering better business opportunities and boosting tourism for the Mackay region,” Mr Dick said.

“These outcomes are going to underpin construction jobs and ongoing tourism jobs into the future.”

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said it was fantastic to see the Mackay Waterfront project reach another significant milestone.

“The development scheme is critical to inform council’s public realm investment,” Mr Williamson said.

“The identification of public realm investment is a significant catalyst to attract private investment and it is the private investment in our PDA that will deliver us the boost to our regional economy and the contribution to our region’s liveability that we are all seeking.

“The five precincts of the PDA offer a huge range of development and investment opportunities and, with the adoption of the development scheme, we now have the green light to be able to meet with parties interested in developing and investing within the PDA. “

“Our PDA Advisory Committee, which has external experts, is very excited about this critical milestone achievement.”

Council received 21 written public submissions, and as a result of issues raised a variety of amendments were made to the development scheme.

The amendments relate to minor increases in building heights, from eight storeys to 10 storeys south of River Street in the Riverside precinct, and extra criteria, such as minimising overlooking and overshadowing, to ensure residential privacy is maintained.

The Mackay Waterfront PDA spans about 172 hectares and includes the southern side of the Pioneer River, the CBD, and water frontage along Binnington Esplanade (Town Beach).

All new development applications will be assessed against the PDA development scheme by Mackay Regional Council.

Q&As – Mackay Waterfront PDA Development Scheme

What has been announced?

The Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, the Hon. Cameron Dick MP, has approved Mackay Regional Council’s proposed Mackay Waterfront PDA Development Scheme.

What is a PDA development scheme?

A: A PDA development scheme is the overarching planning instrument that controls land use, infrastructure planning and development in the priority development area (PDA).

Who prepared the Mackay Waterfront PDA development scheme?

A: The development scheme was prepared by Mackay Regional Council in consultation with Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) and other state agencies.

How was the Mackay community involved in the preparation of the development scheme?

The PDA was jointly announced by the Palaszczuk Government and Mackay Regional Council May 23, 2018.

Mackay Regional Council undertook extensive community engagement, commencing prior to declaration. In accordance with section 59 of the Economic Development Act 2012, the proposed development scheme was publicly notified.

Subsequently Council received and considered 21 written submissions in finalising its recommended development scheme.

Who will undertake the development assessment for the Mackay Waterfront PDA?

A: The development assessment powers of the MEDQ under the Economic Development Act 2012 have been delegated to Mackay Regional Council, except for the assessment of State interests.

Council will assess development applications under the Economic Development Act 2012 and against the Mackay Waterfront PDA Development Scheme.

The power to assess State interests has been delegated to Economic Development Queensland. Mackay Regional Council will coordinate referral of applications to Economic Development Queensland for State interest review as part of the development assessment process.

What happens when a development application is made within the Mackay Waterfront PDA?

A: From gazettal (Friday, May 24) any new development application will be assessed against the Mackay Waterfront PDA Development Scheme.

How will development applications be assessed?

A: Undecided development applications lodged prior to the PDA declaration will continue to be assessed by Council using the current Mackay planning scheme. Applicants should liaise with the Mackay Regional Council if they have any concern about the status of those applications.

Development applications lodged after PDA declaration were assessed against the Interim Land Use Plan which commenced on declaration.

Now that the development scheme has been approved development applications will now be assessed and decided under the development scheme.

What will happen to existing development approvals?

The finalisation of the PDA Development Scheme has no impact on existing lawful development approvals. Applicants should liaise with the Mackay Regional Council if they have any concern about the status of those approvals.

Will the community have an opportunity to comment on all of the lodged PDA development applications?

A: All development applications and associated reports will be publicly available on Mackay Regional Council’s website. The community will have further opportunities to have their say on development applications when publicly notified.

Why did the Mackay Regional Council seek the declaration of a PDA?

The Economic Development Act 2012 provides a more streamlined planning and assessment framework for councils and the development community.

The declaration of the PDA enables Council to realise its vision for a revitalised waterfront sooner.

What is planned for the heritage places in the PDA?

A: There are nine state-listed and 50 local-listed heritage places identified in the PDA. These heritage places will be preserved and re-purposed with a range of uses that complement and enhance the existing character of the Mackay city centre.

Mackay Regional Council has implemented a façade improvement scheme to support the revitalisation of building facades in the Mackay city centre.