It has taken two decades of planning and court battles, plus delays because of the Global Financial Crisis, but construction and development at Mackay’s East Point is now progressing.
- The East Point development was first proposed in the early 2000s
- It was the subject of a legal battle in the Land Court in 2005, and has faced delays since then
- But construction is now underway at the project, and dozens of residential blocks have already been sold
Now known as The Dunes Harbour Beach, the development will see about 40 hectares of residential and tourism developments built on a 75-hectare area of land between the mouth of the Pioneer River and the Mackay Harbour.
Developer Urbex on its website describes the project as “carefully planned and considered to optimise waterfront living in a rare seaside location”.
“We’ve just completed development on the first stages of the project,” Urbex project director David Argent said.
He said 43 residential lots had been released to the market so far, and 30 have been sold.
“It has gone through some changes over the years and certainly has that tourist element there,” Mr Argent said.
While a full precinct including hotels, cafes, and tourism opportunities is planned, in the first stage residential blocks are on offer.
The project was first proposed in the early 2000s, and by 2003 the Mackay Conservation Group had begun campaigning against it.
It was approved by the Mackay City Council in 2004, with environmentalists appealing that approval in the Land Court of Queensland.
But after a two-week hearing in 2005, the court dismissed the appeal subject to several changes to the council’s preliminary approval conditions.
The Global Financial Crisis then stalled development for several years, before the project was taken over by Urbex, from original developer Greg Long, in 2010.
There was also a matter that was withdrawn from the Planning and Environment Court in 2010 relating to the project.
Mr Argent said it had been a “long road” to get to where the project was today.
“There was scepticism, from myself included, as to when we will actually get there,” he said.
“We’ve put probably a capital investment in excess of $20 million over the past two years into the project, notwithstanding the historical investment.
“Over the course of the next couple of years, the development will come to life with a lot of building activity and residential activity. We are well advanced.
But Peter McCallum from the Mackay Conservation Group said they still had issues with the development, almost 20 years after the court case.
“It’s a disappointment to see the development go ahead,” Mr McCallum said.
“None of the things that we were concerned about at the time have really changed, and we think that it’s still just as inappropriate as it was back in those days.”
Mr McCallum said the group’s main concern was the coastal flooding risk associated with the site, and the potential for cyclones impacting the people who live there.
“It seems to be that government at all levels, especially state and local government, are just saying to people ‘Well look, it’s a matter of buyer beware, if you happen to buy some land on that coast, it’s not our fault that you bought, it’s your fault for buying it there’,” he said.
“I think a lot of people coming to Mackay haven’t seen major cyclones in this city.
“So, potentially, it’s a major emergency situation that could occur there.”