Cost of fight to put stop to ‘Sardine City’.

SARDINE City is still leaving a financial stench with the Noosa Council 17 years on since the town planning changes that triggered a massive legal claim.

At a council planning committee meeting last week Councillor Joe Jurisevic asked why the council's projected legal costs will be $500,000 over budget as of June 30.

Council community and development interim director Alan Rogers answered that the "Mr Thompson" case was one of the major reasons.

Back in 1997 developer Roy Thompson was intent on developing Noosa's Settler's Cove across 40ha of land in Serenity Close and Banksia Ave that was to include about 1287 units, which led then Mayor Noel Playford to describe the application as "Sardine City".

The case was still to be argued by the Sunshine Coast Council last year in the Planning and Environment court with RF Thompson (Qld) Pty Ltd, which sought more than $28 million plus interest for "injurious affection".

The Sunshine Coast Daily reported last year that documents produced in court by Mr Thompson's legal team argued "he has a (compensation) claim as the new Noosa Plan in 1997 substantially reduced the area which could have been developed".

The council's lawyer Wakefield Sykes argued in the documents that because of the undesirable nature of parts of the land, what could be developed has been already. Noosa will be also defending the Coast development refusal for the Masters Home Improvements refusal at Noosaville, while it has refused the application for an IGA shopping centre at the Peregian bowls club site.

"It's an expensive business," Mr Rogers told Cr Jurisevic.

Meanwhile committee chairman Councillor Frank Wilkie brought up a report item that parking infringement revenue "is currently $49,000 under budget".

It was explained that there were no parking enforcement officers in the first two weeks of the year when the new Noosa Council was reformed and this was "a very busy time".

Cr Wilkie asked if this was an estimate and not a council target "that staff are driven to achieve". "It is not a revenue driven department, is it?"

He was told that the infringements are a way of trying to get parking compliance and it was a combination of the "carrot and the stick

approach".


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