'25 weddings may be cancelled': Popular venue under threat
A NOOSA waterfront restaurant will lose a $20,000 wedding with 25 other marital functions in doubt despite Noosa Council granting three-month event permits so guests can be served drinks on public land.
Noosa Waterfront Restaurant had sought a temporary permit extension through to November so it could secure the bulk of
43 wedding bookings after it was discovered its liquor licence did not extend to a 16m by 6m strip of waterfront parkland.
And although the wedding ceremonies can still take place in the park and the functions proceed inside the Waterfront, operators Kerri Ravezzani and Lisa Berry believe these drinks outdoors are the "clincher" for many brides.
Councillor Frank Pardon, backed by Cr Ingrid Jackson and Cr Jess Glasgow, failed in a bid to extend the permits to from July 21 to September 31.
A devastated Ms Ravezzani said the halfway measure did not cover her prime wedding season.
"We're about to lose about a $20,000 wedding ...all the other weddings are still to be advised," she said.
Her fear is many functions after the July deadline will not proceed.
"That's like a big knock-on effect for us and for a lot of the (wedding supply) business," she said
"We can still operate our business but it (drinks outside) was a good selling point when we bought the business.
"It's been running that way for the last seven years. For a bride, that's what the selling point of the restaurant is."
She said the lawn area was not used by any park users over the busy Easter break.
Ms Berry said: "All we want is two hours once or twice a week, so what's four hours a week?
"We're paying $564 per permit, I think it is for us to use that."
Council CEO Brett de Chastel said under the council's trusteeship of this land, he would feel uncomfortable with the longer extension.
Further council staff advice was that the Department of Natural Resources would not agree to that longer commercial use.
Cr Frank Pardon said he moved the extension to "find a bit of middle ground here obviously".
"What we're trying to do here is to help someone out who's made an honest mistake."
Cr Jackson said he liked to take a reasonable approach and did not think the proposed extension "is such a big difference".
"This solution, a sort of a halfway point, seems to me a reasonable approach both for the business and for the people and their weddings."
Cr Brian Stockwell said the state policy about commercial use of public land was brought about by another council that was alienating public parkland for commercial use to the point the community could not use the space.
He said the July 21 recommendation was mindful of both the business and not wanting to unduly distress couples about to be married.
He said this was not stopping the ceremonies in the parkland.
"While an extra three months may seem like middle territory, to me it's a step too far."