Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie said he was within his rights to stay and vote on a development legal appeal.
Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie said he was within his rights to stay and vote on a development legal appeal.

Deputy mayor declares ‘no close developer association’

Councillors had no objection to Noosa deputy mayor Frank Wilkie declining to declare a perceived conflict of interest when he voted to defend an appeal by Altum Constructions at its Parkridge Noosa development.

Last week former Future Noosa campaign organiser Leigh McCready, whose husband Rob is developing Parkridge, said Cr Wilkie should have joined mayor Clare Stewart and councillors Karen Finzel and Brian Stockwell in making conflict declarations.

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Ms McCready said the deputy mayor had a significant and long association with herself and her husband.

Cr Wilkie, who chaired today's general committee meeting, told councillors he disagreed with the claims.

"Like many I know of the McCready's but do not socialise with them," he said.

"We do not meet for coffee, I've never been to their home, they have never been to my home.

"We do not collect each other's children after sport, they did not feature in any of my election material and were not part of my election campaign in any way," Cr Wilkie said.

He said their only passing formal association was 10 years ago when Ms McCready was a member of the Peregian Beach Community House committee he was on.

Fish Parkridge at Noosa.
Fish Parkridge at Noosa.

"Since that time I did not see or hear from the McCreadys until recently when they emerged as advocates for a larger surf club to be built on the dunes at Peregian Beach village and during the 2020 election campaign," Cr Wilkie said.

"In recent years I have also attended meetings where the McCreadys were also present."

Cr Amelia Lorentson asked CEO Brett de Chastel to clarify if a councillor having a "poor relationship" with someone was significant when discussing issues of conflict of interest.

Mr de Chastel said it was not necessarily the nature of that relationship but how close it is to the applicant which was the most critical consideration.

Rob and Leigh McCready
Rob and Leigh McCready

Cr Lorentson said now that Cr Wilkie had explained the relationship with Ms McCready, the question for her was if he could bring an open mind to the discussion.

"I think you can," she said.

Both the mayor and Cr Finzel left the chamber and did not vote on the matter because of Cr Stewart's friendship to the McCreadys, and for Cr Finzel being part of the Future Noosa election campaign.

Cr Stockwell, who had asked the independent council election observer to investigate Future Noosa campaign claims, won support from the four other councillors Wilkie, Lorentson, Joe Jurisevic and Tom Wegener, to remain and vote on the a recommendation to defend the appeal which refused midnight dining seven days a week.

"I'm confident I can deal with the matter impartially and in the public interest," he said.

Cr Lorentson was also part of the unanimous vote that will seek mediation with Altum to see if later dining can be accommodated.

"I'm hopeful that a negotiated position that avoids unnecessary legal costs can be reached, which allows the restaurateur to flourish whilst protecting residents rights to quiet enjoyment and amenity," she said.

This was also a unanimous vote which needs to be formally ratified at Thursday's general meeting.


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