MILES is bracing for a population explosion after Western Downs Regional Council today approved a controversial 3000-bed camp for the town.
Following impassioned debate about the pros and cons of Landtrak Corporation's plan to construct the accommodation facility on Laycock Rd, councillors voted 5-4 in favour of approving stages one and two of the project.
Councillors Charlene Hall, Ray Jamieson, Andrew Smith and Carolyn Tillman voted against the application in its current format.
The approval included 47 conditions, with much of the division focusing on the plan to use trucks - up to 60 per day, according to one report - to cart the water required to service the camp.
Cr Hall said she was "extremely concerned" about the plan, adding she believed the council would be demonstrating inconsistency by approving the application.
It has the potential to change a wonderful town forever
"It has the potential to change a wonderful town forever," she told the meeting.
The issue of consistency was also raised by Cr Jamieson, who asked how the Landtrak Corporation plan could be approved when an Ostwald Bros application for a smaller project in Wandoan was rejected because carting water had been deemed an unacceptable solution.
"We are being inconsistent if we approve this development," he said passionately.
"We are not in the business of picking winners, we are in the business of being consistent.
"Inconsistency is giving one developer (Landtrak Corporation) open slather."
Cr Tony Brame has been a vocal advocate of the development and admitted while he "had concerns", he was in favour of it proceeding.
"At the end of the day, I couldn't find any real reason to knock it back."
While chairing the meeting, Mayor Ray Brown said he agreed with a staged approach to construction.
"(One of) my concerns ... being the water, but I believe there are solutions available to that," Cr Brown said.
Three Landtrak Corporation representatives - including managing director Paul Czislowski - were in the public gallery for the vote and were clearly happy with the result.
A jubilant Mr Czislowski said he believed several of the councillors had not fully understood the purpose of transporting water to the facility.
"It's a starting point," he told the Dalby Herald.
"The whole purpose of carting is to not impact the water supply of the town."
Despite stages one and two being approved, Cr Jamieson reiterated his objection and said he did not want to see the council viewed as "a rubber stamp".
"It's not a practical solution to truck in 40 loads of water a day for 15 or 30 years," he said.