Nudist retreat’s light at end of tunnel after approval saga
Things are looking up for a Capricorn Coast nudist retreat seeking a reduction in council imposed fees.
The latest chapter in the Savannah Park Retreat compliance story, which started in November 2019 and is yet to reach a conclusion, has played out at the Livingstone Shire Council table.
In January this year, councillors voted to approve a development permit for the tourist park at Bondoola, which now sees it council compliant after a long-running battle.
But perhaps the more anticipated part of the story is yet to be written.
Also at the latest monthly meeting, councillors gave the green light to an officer's recommendation that Savannah Park Retreat be issued an infrastructure charges notice for $63,720.
The tourist park's owners, Charles Rogers and Allyson Neave, have made it clear to councillors during previous deputations that they simply cannot afford such a bill.
But as the last council meeting was told, as a matter of process, now that the development permit has been approved and the infrastructure charges notice issued, the applicant can lodge an official request for a reduction in fees.
The Morning Bulletin can confirm that Mr Rogers and Ms Neave have lodged such a request with Livingstone Shire Council.
Given this council's previous decisions to reduce infrastructure charges for other businesses and developers, it seems likely the retreat owners will be successful with their request.
The real unknown is probably to what extent.
But for now, Mr Rogers is happy things have finally progressed.
"We are very pleased with the council's decision on approving Savannah Park Retreat applications," he said.
"It has been a very trying time and I would like to thank Livingstone Shire Council and the planning department in particular for helping us get the application over the line.
"More to the point, it means our compliance has cost us a lot of money just to get to the application stage, and now we have to spend a lot more to meet current building codes, road and access, construction standards and accessible amenities.
"All this was not what we counted on as an ongoing expense.
"Add that to the 1150 per cent increase in public liability insurance in two years, we are not going to be out of the red for quite some time. All for a small lifestyle income."
Mr Rogers said he and Ms Neave remained hopeful of a reduced infrastructure charges bill.
"Right now we have been issued an infrastructure charges notice and have submitted a request for a negotiated charge," he said.
"We hope to be able to work through the negotiation process with Livingstone Shire Council and come to what we believe would be an acceptable fee for both parties, going on the reasons we submitted in the request.
"Moving forward, this does represent a legitimate business and tourism venture and we just hope that we can get through the next season barring anymore interruptions from COVID border closures, welcoming all our interstate and international friends back here for a unique holiday.
"Probably, once all the permit approvals are finished, this will be the only council approved naturist tourist park from Cairns to Brisbane catering for 'Nakations'.
"A real first for Livingstone Shire and Central Queensland."
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