Councillors too conflicted to make call on Parkridge
Noosa Council's planning and environment committee has proved unable to make a call on a major developer's legal appeal after three of four members declared perceived conflicts of interest.
Councillors could not form a working quorum on Tuesday when deciding on the Parkridge Noosa appeal, forcing the matter to be referred to Monday's general committee meeting.
Councillor Tom Wegener was the only planning and environment committee member of four who did not put their hand up to declare a connection to Altum Constructions' 140 unit development at Resort Dr in Noosa Heads.
The recommendation before the council was to defend the appeal, as Altum seeks to have dining allowed at the development's Fish restaurant until midnight, seven days a week.
Noosa Council development assessment manager Kerri Coyle said the applicant's acoustic consultant and the council's noise expert were reviewing the matter to determine if there was an opportunity to trade later without adversely impacting on residents' amenity.
Cr Karen Finzel, who appeared on teleconference link, said she had a real conflict of interest due to her relationship with Leigh McCready, whose husband Rob was developing Parkridge.
"Leigh McCready was involved with my 2020 election campaign and I will be leaving the room," Cr Finzel said.
Mayor Clare Stewart was next up.
"I declare a perceived conflict of interest in this matter as defined in section 175D of the Local Government Act 2009 due to my friendship with the applicants Rob and Leigh McCready of Altum Constructions," Cr Stewart said.
"So I will be leaving the room in this matter."
Committee chair Cr Brian Stockwell also declared a perceived conflict.
"On the 24th of February 2020 this year I sought a review by the independent council election observer as to the public claims of the Future Noosa team of which Leigh McCready was publicly identified as a campaign manager," Cr Stockwell said.
"Leigh McCready is associated with the applicant Altum Constructions and I would actually argue that I should stay in the room and be part of this item."
Council CEO Brett de Chastel said with such a standing committee the quorum to vote on Cr Stockwell's eligibility to stay in the room was two.
"The committee's not able to deal with this matter," Mr de Chastel said.
"What I plan to do as CEO is simply refer this matter to general committee on Monday."
This means on Monday, with the mayor and Cr Finzel out of the room after repeating their declarations, Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie, Cr Joe Jurisevic and Cr Amelia Lorentson will be asked vote on Cr Stockwell's ability to remain in the room to debate and vote on the matter.
That is, of course, providing there are no further declarations that might affect a quorum.