Public liability sinks 40 years of fishing fun
By Megan Everitt
AN innocent afternoon of fishing on a jetty built 40 years ago has Noosa Council tied up in knots.
Local residents fastidiously maintain the neat little jetty that is screened from view by Sheep Island and mangroves.
But the Ada Street jetty extends over public land and presents a potential public liability to the council because it neither approved nor built it.
Staff want it pulled down, councillors want common sense and three-year old Gracie Wallace just wants to be able to fish with her dad.
The Wallace family and a handful of other residents in the quiet Tewantin back street are at a loss as to why the jetty must be removed.
``We would just like to give Noosa Council a big thank you very much for the letter we received today telling us they are going to remove our street's public jetty because it is illegal,'' Chris and Suzette Wallace said.
``Our kids and other children and neighbours use this jetty for fishing and crabbing and now we have to explain to our three year old daughter that she can't go crabbing anymore with daddy.'' ``It just goes to show what a terrible society we live in now for this to happen after so many years.'' Division Two councillor Frank Pardon shares their loss.
He visited the jetty yesterday and said he wants it to stay.
``It's got to do with a resolution of council in September, which I opposed, that calls for all illegal structures on public land to be dealt with,'' Mr Pardon said.
``I knew at the time it was a bad move.'' and this is what we end up with, more trouble than you can poke a stick at.''
Mr Pardon has called for a full report to justify the letter and will hope to convince fellow councillors to let the jetty stay.
Council Works Operations manager Ian Bilkey said the jetty's removal was on hold pending further investigation.
But he is unlikely to get Russell Green's vote. Mr Green was one of the instigators of the September report which called for the investigation into unapproved structures on public land.
He said yesterday the ramifications of allowing those structures were too great to ignore.
``Not knowing the jetty it is hard to comment,'' he said.
``But 20 years ago Australia was a place where those things could happen and if accidents occurred it was simply an accident and we got on with life.
Unfortunately now there are a vast number of people seeking a way to make a easy buck so litigation instead of mateship comes to the fore.
``The buck then ultimately stops with the local authority.''
Works Operations manager Ian Bilkey said staff were simply following the decision of council by identifying the structure and proceeding with removal but he said the process was on hold.