It is a sad day when ratepayers are forced to take court action against council decisions because it is the only course of action left to ensure that the elected council protects its citizens from harm. The case in point is the failure of Moreton Bay Regional Council to protect its citizens from oppressive and health-damaging noise from concerts at Sandstone Point Hotel. Council has recently approved a further increase of an additional three outdoor rock concerts - from 9 to 12 per year, with no relief from the noise and traffic chaos that these events cause.
The original application was for a “neighbourhood hotel” with “occasional outdoor events”.
The latest council decision, announced on 29 March 2019 despite hundreds of written objections, has prompted the formation of Pumicestone Area Noise Abatement Group [PANAG] - formed to support an appeal to the Planning and Environment Court against the council's decisions.
Ken Park, President of PANAG, commented: “Despite the terrible noise effects of these concerts for two years, and the hundreds of complaints and objections, OUR council has now approved a further three concerts each year with no reduction in the noise levels. Also, with recent events attracting more than 13,000 people, the majority of whom drive to the venue causing extensive traffic congestion, there has been no improvement to traffic management.
The thumping of the amplified base instruments –hour after hour, up to 10.00 pm at night, makes life in the surrounding neighbourhoods completely intolerable. The zoning of the area which includes the hotel does not allow such noise, but the council has still chosen to approve the Development Applications. Residents, many of whom are retired people seeking a quiet quality of life, built here well before the hotel arrived.
All of the Bribie Island and Sandstone Point community is now well aware of the adverse effects on traffic, lack of access to and from their homes and the inability of the emergency services, particularly ambulances to respond to life threatening situations.”
PANAG has released a ‘Sandstone Point Hotel – APPEAL’ document to inform all potentially interested parties and particularly to ask for contributions to a ‘fighting fund’ to mount the court challenge – copies are available from Treasurer Peter Dallimore, firstname.lastname@example.org phone 0409321779.
Mr Park commented: “The owners of the hotel are formidable opponents with very deep pockets – we understand they literally make in excess of $1 million dollars from a single event! Also, unfortunately, we must take on our own council which will spend seemingly unlimited funds opposing its own ratepayers.”
He also commented on the very questionable decision-making process by the council on 19th March 2019, when the additional concerts were considered. Three councillors, including the Mayor were absent and four of those in attendance declared perceived conflicts of interest with the applicant David Comiskey, which prevented them from voting on the application. As a quorum was then not available to vote, the decision was delegated to the council’s Chief Executive Officer.
Mr Park said: “This is not the first time this has happened. It is unbelievable that the council that we elected to govern and to make decisions that reflect the best interests of ratepayers is incapable of doing its job. It is completely unacceptable that decisions are delegated to an unelected public servant who, it would appear, also may have a possible conflict of interest.”
Further Information: Ken Park 07 34088648