Pelican Boat Hire owner Craig McGovern has had his planning appeal against Noosa Council upheld in court.
Pelican Boat Hire owner Craig McGovern has had his planning appeal against Noosa Council upheld in court.

Big Pelican boss swoops on Noosa River jetty win

Noosa Council's bid to force Pelican Boat Hire owner Craig McGovern to do a costly retrofit of his jetty upgrade has failed on appeal in court.

Planning and Environment Court Judge Glen Cash did not accept the council's case that jetty works would create significant river clutter.

He also said the case would not set a precedent that would encourage other jetty owners to allow vessels to moor out into the river beyond their lease areas.

Judge Cash said the resulting extra 2.6m protrusion at Mr McGovern's jetty was not a real increase in scale or intensity.

"Nor would it be likely to result in an accumulation of negative impacts," Judge Cash said.

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"The council submits, and it is probably true, that the changes would allow commercial activity beyond the boundaries of the lease.

"In terms of the change there is little, if any difference in the impact or scale of the activity."

He said having vessels pulling up to refuel the extra distance out in the river was not significant.

The council had argued that if the vessels were allowed to encroach further out on the river and another 13 similar jetty leases followed suit, it would lead to an "alarming amount" 0f public river space taken up.

"While I am conscious of the need to avoid the cumulative impact of individually insignificant changes, there is no proper basis for thinking the present change will result in a cascade of successful change applications," Judge Cash said.

The judge said all other jetty leases would require each lease holder pursuing a material change of use application with the council.

Judge Cash said Mr McGovern's legal argument had pointed out the "obvious benefits of allowing the ferries and other vessels to use the jetty as a passenger stop and to refuel".

Mr McGovern is in Tasmania and was unable to be contacted by the Sunshine Coast Daily but he previously said complying with the council's setback wishes would have cost him $150,000.

"The whole process for us has been quite upsetting," Mr McGovern said.

Council CEO Brett de Chastel was disappointed with the court decision.

"We aim to look after the Noosa River by limiting the expansion of jetties so that their operations stay wholly within their lease areas, however the court saw it differently in this case and we respect the court's verdict," Mr de Chastel said.

"We have had a good run in the Planning and Environment Court with this being the first case we have lost in six years," he said.

Mr de Chastel said the council would review the judgement in detail.

"The review will see if there is anything we need to change in our planning approach for the future," he said.


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