Mayor denies court clash for special planning meeting
THERE is no intention to plan a special meeting of Noosa Council to debate its planning scheme on a date when one of its councillors will be facing court on historic sex charges.
That is the assurance from Mayor Tony Wellington.
Cr Frank Pardon, who is contesting historic offences alleged to have occurred prior to his time in council, is listed to stand trial today, December 3, in the Maroochydore District Court.
Noosa businessman Ralph Rogers has emailed all councillors concerned the special meeting to vote on possible planning changes might clash with this date.
“I understand that there is some suggestion that the proposed amendments should be voted on the very day Cr Pardon is not able to attend due to his court hearing,” Mr Rogers said.
“I strongly request that council defers any determination on STL (short-stay letting) until constituents are fully represented and a sound understanding of the economic outcomes of such a strategy are understood,” Mr Rogers said.
“We all sincerely hope that councillors understand the measure of feeling in the community and do the right thing.”
Mayor Wellington said of the latest proposed planning scheme proposals: “When that report is ready, it will go to a special meeting of council. There has been no intention to have the meeting on a day when Cr Pardon is in court.
“The meeting will simply happen at the earliest convenience.
“Meanwhile, the drafting of the proposed new local law pertaining to short stay properties requires further work and will not be adopted until some time in 2020,” Cr Wellington said.
Cr Ingrid Jackson said she could not speak on behalf of council, but her understanding was councillors “are awaiting confirmation of the date of a special meeting about endorsing the penultimate version of the draft New Noosa Plan for (a) ‘state interest review’ by government planning experts.
“At the same time as the special meeting is publicly announced, councillors will be provided with the draft plan and find out whether any changes are proposed in relation to short-term letting.
“It will be only after the state interest review that a final version of the draft New Noosa Plan will be tabled for council adoption,” Cr Jackson said.
There were no special meetings scheduled on the Noosa Council’s meeting lists this morning.