Topics:  business, hospitality, public protest

Angst if proposed function studio is allowed to party

WORRIED: (L-R) Adrienne and Paul Prentice, Jacques and Jill Retif.
WORRIED: (L-R) Adrienne and Paul Prentice, Jacques and Jill Retif. Geoff Potter

RESIDENTS living around Mt Cooroy are horrified that the spectre of former Noosa high flyer Phillip Harding's party nights at his hillside studio may be coming back to haunt them.

Only this time on a regular basis as part of a commercial venture catering for people with a head for heights.

Last week more than 40 people banded together to fight an application by a new owner of the Lukes Rd property, to operate a commercial function centre in a landscape they believe is more suited to mountain goats rather than "tipsy" wedding guests.

In 2006 Mr Harding, who developed Noosa Blue resort on Noosa Hill, stirred up a hornet's nest of local protest when he built the Noosa Council-approved studio at Mt Cooroy.

At the time the facility was listed on the Noosa Blue website as being able to accommodate a sit-down meal for a 100 guests.

Neighbours said before his commercial fall, which saw the Mt Cooroy property sold by receivers to the Breona Pty Ltd Atf Amies Investment Trust, Mr Harding held several functions at the studio.

According to Paul and Adrienne Prentice, who are again leading the fighting to preserve their rural tranquillity, one Harding function included fireworks, loud music and a laser light show.

The Prentices says the racket frightened the local dogs and horses and helped fire up a protest petition to council signed by 222 people seeking a ban on any commercial operations on site.

On October 30 this year, Breona advertised its proposed development for a function centre to operate at the site seven days a week until 8pm with public submissions closing on December 11 before the matter goes before council.

"Many residents from all four sides of Mt Cooroy are distinctly alarmed by the prospect of noise intrusion of their much-loved rural amenity especially from loud bands playing at weddings and celebration parties," Mr Prentice said.

"Residents on the north flanks of the mountain are concerned at the prospect of substantially increased traffic along Cooroy Mountain Rd and Dath Henderson Rd.

"Another serious concern is that the final climb to the studio is by way of an extremely steep, narrow incline with tight switch-backs, which may prove an access problem for emergency services such as ambulances, police and fire brigade. This also represents a real danger for tipsy guests."



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