Tate Vows To Cut Development Fees

Tate Vows To Cut Development Fees

GCCClogo_comp_colour_lge

ADC Managing director Michael Arnold is quoted in this Gold Coast Bulletin article discussing the existing problem of infrastructure charges on the Gold Coast stifling economic growth and new business in the region. Arnold Development Consultants congratulates newly elected Mayor Tom Tate for his planned overhaul of the existing uneconomically viable infrastructure charges regime on the Gold Coast with an intention to make it “nominal and fair.”

Tate To Step In On Fees

A PROMISE from Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate to slash crippling council charges has given some hope to business operators such as Ashleigh Dent.

Ms Dent said she was told recently by council officers that if she wanted to keep her Burleigh dance studio – Zoo Allstars Coast Studio – she must pay $132,000.

This consists of between $5000 and $6000 to lodge an application, a similar amount to the consultant needed to lodge it and $120,000 to have the use of the premises changed.

Anyone who wants to change the type of business at a premises must lodge an application and pay infrastructure charges, which in Ms Dent’s case are $120,000.

“We did not know that we needed planning approval to operate here,” Ms Dent said.

“It came as a real shock.
“We are trying to do something positive for the community.
“But there is a real possibility that we will have to close.”

The 20-year-old opened the dance studio in an industrial area three months ago with financial support from her parents.

She now has 45 students and says the business – in a district with gyms; martial arts studios and other dance schools – is growing daily.

At an Australian Institute of Company Directors breakfast yesterday, Mr Tate said he was aware of the high fees affecting people such as Ms Dent and was determined to act.

“We have to go back to reality on this” he said.
“We are doing a review. The fees need to be nominal and fair.”

As an example of how ridiculous the fees could be, Mr Tate said a cafe owner had been told he would be charged $65,000 to install two extra sinks.

Arnold Consultants managing director Michael Arnold has been lobbying for change and welcomed news of the likely drop in charges.

“We have about 10 businesses a week that contact us about setting up on the Gold Coast and 80-90 per cent of them don’t bother or go elsewhere because of these charges,” he said.

“It does not make any economic sense for businesses to pay. When they move, they are faced with paying the charges all over again.”

Efforts to overhaul council charges on businesses will come too late for some, including Ringfit gym owner Stephen Dale, who told the Bulletin he was shutting down this weekend because he could not find the necessary $30,000 to get the building use changed.

Mr Dale faced fines of $166,500 for operating his kickboxing gym in an industrial area of Mermaid Beach without council approval.

New city planning boss Cameron Caldwell had promised to help get the fees reduced but no action has been taken.

Mr Tate also said yesterday he was looking at how council infrastructure charges were levied on developments, suggesting they should be paid when a project was completed rather than at the start.

Consultants also pushed Mr Tate for news of the new town plan, saying there were concerns with the document that was produced under the previous council.

Mr Tate said he was planning to review the town plan.

Gold Coast Bulletin
By Lucy Ardern
General News – Page 7
25 July 2012