Gold Coast Councillor claims it’s too expensive to refuse developments

A number of key Gold Coast issues up for debate when full Council meets today, including another development in Palm Beach.

Local residents are again up in arms over yet another tower proposed for the area, following months of organised protests over high-density developments.

It’s been revealed that councillors are too worried to reject developments due to the threat of an expensive court battle.


Councillor William Owen Jones took to Facebook last night to explain his views on planning approvals, and used the example of a development in Coomera.

Council had refused an application for 121 dwellings back in March 2018, over issues relating to ecology, environment, vegetation, habitat and koalas.

However, the decision was appealed by the applicant and subsequently defended by Council.

It then underwent a lengthy and expensive court battle, worth over $500,000 in combined fees.

Though the result is that Council now has to either approve the development or face appealing the decision and spending even more ratepayer funds.

“In my opinion, planning approvals can be complex things, and whilst the City must never shy away from making planning decisions, the most expensive way for the Council (funded by ratepayers) to have planning decisions determined will always be through the court system.

“Lawyers holiday in Aspen for a reason,” Councillor Owen Jones posted to Facebook.

Other issues coming up today include the final fate of the ‘Black Swan Lake’/’Borrow Pit’ at the Gold Coast Turf Club, which requested a lease extension on the Council-owned land.

Environmental groups will be present at Council chambers calling for councillors to save the last quarter of the lake, after filling in most of it already.

Council will also consider a push to reinstate the Environment Advisory Committee, though is reportedly likely to oppose it.