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It is now much more economically viable to develop commercial and industrial projects on the Bay Islands.

It has recently been revealed by Redland City Council Division 5’s Cr Mark Edwards that the perception that developing commercial and industrial projects on the islands was not economically viable because of excessive council ‘costs’, is not correct.

It was true, prior to 2016, that it could cost more than $100,000 in costs to council for an industrial or commercial project on the islands and that had brought island development to a standstill.

However, via a personal project the councillor has been involved with involving an application to Redland City Council, Cr Edwards has discovered that fees to council for building applications, can be almost negligible, depending on the size of the project.

In fact, in most cases, many island industrial and commercial projects could be eligible for a $23,000 credit from council.

Cr. Edwards explains it this way: “With industrial and commercial developments there is an extra level of scrutiny in the building approval process to ensure that what is delivered does not burden the public infrastructure which has been provided by all ratepayers.

“For example, if a developer was to build a new commercial or industrial building, they are required to provide things such as on-site car parking for their customers, a concrete footpath out the front, a design which allows the safe entry and exit of vehicles, disabled access and other requirements are expected by the community.

“All building developments are also subject to assessment to ensure the design is compliant with building standards.

“Some of the fees that apply are a building application fee, a plumbing fee and where the use of the land is being altered, a Material Change of Use fee. These fees are fairly standard across all of Australia.

“There is, however, a fee that deters many potential commercial and industrial developers on the islands and that is an Infrastructure Charge.

“This is a fee that is assessed on the impact that a development will have on the community infrastructure and is geared to compensate the cost.

For example an industry may require Council to upgrade water pump stations, sewer capability, upgrade of roads for traffic etc. So the cost of this infrastructure should be carried by the developer and not the ratepayer.

“For very large developments this can be a significant cost however for most smaller developments it is not an issue.

“There has been a reluctance for many business operators to build a shed, office or shop because of their belief that the infrastructure charge from Council would be more than the cost of the building itself.

“This is not true and business owners need to talk to Council about what costs they will be up for.

“As an example, if a new 100 square metre industrial shed was to be built on vacant land on the islands, the cost for infrastructure fee is $117.63 per square metre or $11,763.

“In addition to this there is a stormwater impervious area fee of $10.25 per square metre.

“Let’s assume that area is 300 square metres, so that fee is $3075. So combined the infrastructure charge is $14,838. “However, the great news is that Redland City Council have an offset for the islands of $23,527.65.

“This offset means that there is no infrastructure fee payable unless the development exceeds this amount.

“It’s a one-off deal and only available for new builds on vacant industrial or commercial land. If you expand the building later then fees are applied,” Cr Edwards said.

He suggests that now is the time for home business operators to look at taking their business to the next level.

• It will be easier for industrial and commercial projects to be built on our islands.

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