Extra backpacker beds for Stanthorpe
STANTHORPE will see a boost in accommodation for seasonal workers after the Southern Downs Regional Council approved the change of material use for two sites in the town this week.
At today's general meeting, the council discussed two applications for material change of use, for BCG Property Investments at 14 Wallangarra Rd and for Cee Jay Investments at 80 High St.
The Wallangarra Rd application proposed short-term and non-resident workforce accommodation for up to 125 guests.
The site was previously home to Stanthorpe Nursing Home, which closed in December last year. It has been vacant since that time.
This was moved by Cr Neil Meiklejohn and seconded by Cr Yve Stocks.
When Cr Neil Meiklejohn questioned the site's capacity for sufficient car parking, the council's planning manager Cecil Barnard said the developer had already secured space for 32 vehicles on site.
Mr Barnard said they were also able to work another eight car parks into the on-site plan, bringing the total available spaces to 40.
Cr Stocks said Stanthorpe had a "great need” for this form of accommodation for the region's backpacker labour.
The councillors conceded the site would not likely create parking concerns, as many backpackers shared vehicles.
The High St site, already being used as a backpackers hostel, consisted of five buildings and 75 beds.
This application proposed an expansion to allow for another 30 beds.
This application was moved by Cr Neil Meiklejohn and seconded by Cr Rod Kelly.
Cr Meiklejohn agreed with Cr Stocks in saying the town required more backpacker-suitable accommodation.
"This is an application adding to that accommodation available, particularly to seasonal workers,” Cr Meiklejohn said.
"I'm very supportive of this application.”
Cr Vic Pennisi declared a conflict of interest with both items and was not present for the discussion or vote, while Cr Cameron Gow was on annual leave. Councillors present voted unanimously on both matters.