Western Downs Regional Council has approved a 3000 bed mining camp for the Queensland town of Miles.
Councillors yesterday gave the green light to Landtrak Corporation’s plan to build the accommodation, passing it with a 5-4 vote in favour of the project, The Chronicle reports.
But approval of stage one and two of the project came with 47 conditions.
Company managing director Paul Czislowski said the majority of the conditions were standard but Landtrak will be negotiating a couple to fit in with the staged approval that was granted.
He said stage one and two approval will require some “reformatting” at the site, located about 15 minutes’ drive from the new Miles airport.
Czislowski explained the staged approval will see about 1300 rooms initially constructed.
Landtrak expects demand for the accommodation to come from the growing coal seam gas sector in the Surat Basin.
“There’s about $180 billion being spent in the Surat Basin,” Czislowski said.
“19 gas fired power stations have been billed for the area.”
Voting against the project Councillor Charlene Hall said she is "extremely concerned" about the plan.
"It has the potential to change a wonderful town forever," she said.
Both Hall and fellow Councillor Ray Jamieson said the approval is inconsistent with previous decisions.
"We are being inconsistent if we approve this development," Jamieson said.
Jamieson questioned how the Landtrak plan could be approved when a smaller project in Wandoan led by Ostwald Bros was rejected on the basis that carting water to the site was determined to be an unacceptable solution.
"We are not in the business of picking winners, we are in the business of being consistent,” he said.
"Inconsistency is giving one developer (Landtrak Corporation) open slather."
Landtrak will reportedly be able to run up to 60 trucks carting water per day to service the camp.
Czislowski said he believes a number of councillors don’t completely understand the purpose for carting water to the camp.
"The whole purpose of carting is to not impact the water supply of the town," he said.
"It's a starting point.”
Jamieson said trucking in water is not the solution.
"It's not a practical solution to truck in 40 loads of water a day for 15 or 30 years," he said.
Czislowski agreed, telling Australian Mining carting water is an “interim solution” which isn’t cost effective longer term.
He expects the long term solution will come from the State Government’s plan to drought proof the region, building a pipeline from the Nathan Dam.
Development at the site will kick off in two weeks, with initial clearing and preparation works.
Landtrak is now seeking operational works approval and tendering will be open in coming weeks.
Czislowski said construction will create “100s of jobs” for local tradespeople.
The accommodation is designed with larger rooms in a bid to attract families and move away from the stigma mining camps have attracted in the past, Czislowski said.
“It will be open to everyone,” he said.