APPROVAL of the 50,000-population Caloundra South development was an absolute farce that needed to be subjected to a full independent review, former mayor Bob Abbot has declared.
Mr Abbot, now Australia's first mayoral mentor with the Local Government Association of Queensland, said the removal of planning control from council and the handing over of it to the Urban Land Development Authority was a result of "considerable contrivance and considerable discussions behind the scenes".
His call comes as Logan City Council lodged a Supreme Court action seeking a judicial review of the ULDA's approval of Yarrabilba, a 2222 hectare Lend Lease development of a similar size to Caloundra South.
The council has alleged that then ULDA head Paul Eagles changed draft conditions for the Yarrabilba approval to make it commercially viable for Lend Lease and in the process leaving it out of pocket by more than $13 million.
Mr Eagles, now the deputy director general in the Newman Government's Department of Development, Infrastructure and Planning had been Lend Lease's south-east Queensland major projects director when Lend Lease lodged its first application for Yarrabilba in 2004.
He went from that position to head the ULDA created by the Bligh government.
Documents filed with the Supreme Court by Logan City allege an improper exercise of power has cost it millions of dollars.
They further claim the ULDA had acknowledged the error but that "as conditions have been issued they can't be amended".
Sunshine Coast Council estimates infrastructure shortfall at Caloundra South will be of the order of half a billion dollars.
The 40-year development approval granted Stockland by the ULDA now has other developers in the region calling for a similar deal.
Local Government Association of Queensland president Paul Bell this week told a forum of mayors and their deputies at Twin Waters that the increase in local government debt from $1.8 billion to $5.3 billion between 2008-12 had been concentrated among the state's 25 fastest growing regions.
It had been incurred to meet the infrastructure demand of that growth.
LGAQ boss Greg Hallam estimates the ULDA approvals in
Logan for Greater Flagstone and Yarrabilba will cost Logan in the order of $800 million.
Mr Abbot said the new Sunshine Coast Council was working extremely hard to reduce costs to the community but he said the impost of the Caloundra South shortfall attached to the budget long term "would blow those efforts out of the water in one hit".
"Ratepayers and other developers have been left out in the wind," Mr Abbot said.
Local Government Minister David Crisafulli refused to comment on the matter after he addressed the Twin Waters forum yesterday.
Logan Mayor Pam Parker was also reluctant to comment further on her council's Supreme Court action, saying the matter was now sub judice.
Her council filed documents with the courts on June 26.
The next hearing is set down for July 19.
"Council is acting in the public interest to resolve issues surrounding the ULDA approval for Yarrabilba by seeking a review of the approval," Cr Parker said.
"The review is anticipated to be completed within six months and will involve the ULDA and Lend Lease.
''The review will consider legal issues surrounding the development approval.
"Council is committed to working with the ULDA and Lend Lease to resolve these issues in a fair and reasonable manner, in the best interest of the Logan community."
One big project
Caloundra South is a 2310 hectare development
Plans are for 20,000 dwellings and 50,000 people
It is a 40-year development
The Bruce Hwy forms the western boundary and Bells Creek the southern boundary of the Urban Development Area
The developers Stockland plan to offer affordable housing
Sunshine Coast Council estimates infrastructure shortfall at Caloundra South will be in the order of half a billion dollars