QUAD bike tour opponent Councillor Tony Wellington believes Sunshine Coast Councils narrow vote to allow the Cooran tours through national park sets an unwelcome precedent that could have a wider impact on the environment.
Having submitted an objection to Charles Marais's application to run the home-based business prior to be elected to council, Cr Wellington declared a conflict of interest and was not part of the decision.
"Plainly I must abide by the majority decision of council," Cr Wellington said.
"However as divisional councillor and also holder of the environment portfolio, the final outcome is well removed from what I would have liked.
"I personally believe that this approval sets an unfortunate precedent for commercial use of our natural environment, especially national parks. I believe it sends the wrong message about the role and value of our protected areas."
The councillor said Noosa Biosphere Limited, Sunshine Coast Environment Council and Noosa Parks Association all opposed this application and lobbied councillors prior to the ordinary meeting.
"Unfortunately, the staff report dealt only with the impact of the home-based business and I believe did not adequately consider the impact of the quad bike tours on the Woondum National Park," Cr Wellington said.
"This is most unfortunate. When this council says it aims to find a balance between the economy and the environment, I am often forced to question just where that balance lies."
He said it was now up to the council to police the conditions imposed - including noise impact on neighbours and ensuring the tours remain within the definition of home-based business.