FROM changes to aerodrome laws to questions about city water pressure, the Toowoomba Regional Council’s Tuesday committee meeting was filled with vital updates for residents.

The Planning and Development, Water and Waste and Infrastructure Committees were run at the council chambers this morning, with the final three portfolios held tomorrow.

All items will then be reviewed at the ordinary meeting next week.

1. Aerodrome law changes

Unusual incidents at aerodromes in the region, including homing pigeons and abandoned aircraft, have pushed the council’s infrastructure committee to rip up its previous local laws around the spaces.

Aerodrome operations manager Barry Wicks introduced the new legislation to the council, which he said were brought on to plug gaps in the previous laws that had been exposed over the past six years.

“The new draft Local Law No.6 (Aerodromes) 2017 has been prepared to better align with the current operating environment and management practices of the aerodromes controlled by the Toowoomba Regional Council, and to provide greater clarity about these practices than is contained in the current local law,” he said in the report.

The councillors were informed that various events since 2011 had exposed the limitations of the previous local law, No. 39 (Public Aerodromes).

“For example, in 2012/13 difficulties were encountered in dealing with homing pigeons released for daily exercising directly beneath the approach to Runway 11, and removal of an abandoned aircraft which had sat on the airfield for over 15 years,” the report said.

Cr James O’Shea said while the council always used education and negotiating as a first point of call, the new laws allowed people to be penalised if their activities infringed on an airspace.

2. New water pressure minimums

THE issue of “minimum water pressure” to new developments was a strong discussion point in the committee meeting this morning.

The council voted to amend the Planning Scheme Policy No.3 to include updated minimum water pressure levels for new property developments, increasing from 22ml to 30ml for residential proposals and from 25ml to 35ml for commercial land.

This however was revealed to be merely a recommendation that the TRC will suggest to developers, with the state-mandated minimums remaining the same (22ml and 25ml).

Cr Nancy Sommerfield, who has received complaints from residents about Toowoomba’s water pressure, said the council had no power to force developers to follow the new minimum water pressure guidelines.

“It’s our desire that they go with these minimums, but we’ve got no teeth in it,” she said.

“If they want to hook and set up this new development, if the capacity is not there to deliver these new minimums, they have to pay the council to upgrade the infrastructure.”

3. New housing lot numbers plummet

THE number of new and sealed lots approved by the Toowoomba Regional Council fell to 12-month lows, according to the latest report on development approvals.

Just seven new lots were approved and 18 sealed in August, compared with eight and 213 in July, while house and unit applications also dropped off.

“During the same period 108 new houses were constructed, indicating a higher lot consumption compared to new lots released,” Planning and Development general manager Stewart Somers said in the report.

In other news, the value of building approvals has steadily increased since September last year, and now sits just over $50 million.

4. Boost for farmers moving large ag equipment

LANDHOLDERS who need to use council roads to transport over-sized agricultural equipment like harvesters received a leg-up thanks to a new council framework.

The infrastructure committee approved the changes this morning, which would make it easier for farmers to apply for permits to move vehicles short distances on council roads.

The need for new laws was flagged back in 2015.


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