Rowes Bay residential aged care community has lodged an upgrade and redevelopment application, including the construction of a new 30-bed dementia wing
Rowes Bay residential aged care community has lodged an upgrade and redevelopment application, including the construction of a new 30-bed dementia wing

My kids are at risk, says JT

Townsville's   version of royalty - Johnathan and Samantha Thurston - are concerned about the safety of their children from an expansion of an aged care facility near their home.

They are among several movers and shakers of the city, including North Queensland Cowboys chair Lewis Ramsay, objecting to the Bolton Clarke proposal in Rowes Bay.

However, apart from having Bolton Clarke ­remove an existing HomeCare service found to be an unlawful use of the site, the council looks set to ­approve the ­development.

"We have young children who like to play and use the footpaths and occasionally the streets of this neighbourhood, however the existing traffic and parking intrusions are such that this is starting to become unsafe," the Thurstons' submission says.

"Further expansion will only increase the risks to children in the neighbourhood."

The Thurstons' is among 15 submissions from nearby residents calling on the council to stop the redevelopment ­because of its impact, including on traffic, parking and amenity.

A submission by Mr Ramsay, also a former North Queensland Newspaper general manager, says traffic counts show 852 vehicle movements a day at Bolton Clarke, including 561 using the residential street of Havana St for access rather than another from Cape Pallarenda Rd.

Bolton Clarke wants to demolish several buildings and develop a 30-bed accommodation centre, make additions to an existing 60-bed complex and build a new kitchen and laundry.

Overall, the proposal is said to add just two beds but residents question the "genuine intent" of a "$10 million-plus" project adding an extra 495sq m in floorspace.

They also claim some of the site's existing uses and access are "not duly authorised".

Responding to submissions, Bolton Clarke says the proposal meets the intent of the low-density residential zone and that the planned new building is of a "compatible scale" to the surrounding residential dwellings.

On parking, Bolton Clarke says the proposal demonstrates "full compliance", providing 55 spaces when 39 are required, and rejects concern about traffic impacts, as well as calls to extend Havana St to Cape Pallarenda Rd.

"Due to the proposed increase of only two beds, it is not considered that the proposal generates sufficient impact on the existing road network," the Bolton Clarke submission says.

In a report, the council's assessment manager says the facility's Havana St access more than caters for the traffic and that current management controls are appropriate.

But the report finds a HomeCare mobile support service at Bolton Clarke is operating "outside of the current development approvals over the site".

"After discussions with the applicant regarding the unapproved use, the council has been advised that the applicant was unaware of the conflict with the planning scheme and that the mobile support services will now be vacating the premises by September. This is considered an acceptable outcome," the report says.

A recommendation to approve the development will be considered by the council later this month, although the ­planning committee has also recommended the issue be ­referred to the council's CEO as a majority conflict arose due to one submitter being linked to an entity that had donated to Mayor Jenny Hill's team.

Originally published as My kids are at risk, says JT


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