Old town site debate removed from council confidential

A DEBATE originally scheduled to be held behind closed doors has been pushed into the public domain by a councillor concerned about transparency.

Councillor George Seymour moved a motion at the Fraser Coast Regional Council's meeting on Wednesday to have a public debate about heritage listing the Original Maryborough Town Site.

The debate was originally scheduled to be in the council's confidential section of the meeting.

Cr Seymour's motion to bring the discussion into the open meeting was passed 10-1, with councillor Chris Loft the only dissenting vote.

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The site is currently controversially earmarked for development and local heritage listing sections of it would mean council needed to consider its history before development.

But Cr Seymour, who has recently been a vocal advocate for transparency said there was no reason the public and the media couldn't hear the debate.

"We should not take lightly what we put in confidential," he said.

Site protection campaigner Sandra Armstrong said heritage listing was "the most important thing" the council could do.

"This heritage listing should have determined what master plan would be developed," she said.

"This wasn't a small settlement - we're talking about a 14-room inn, a jail and government offices."

Cr Seymour has recently been vocal about council transparency and openness, in the wake of public criticism of the council by ratepayers.

A decision to nominate the site for heritage listing won't be made until the first council meeting in 2015.

Public comment on the development will close on December 12.