LOOKING AHEAD: The Noosa Waterfront Restaurant  operators believe they are back in business with their wedding bookings at least until November 30.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Noosa Waterfront Restaurant operators believe they are back in business with their wedding bookings at least until November 30. Peter Gardiner

Wedding venue wins a reprieve

IT IS now up to Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham to say "I do", to make a bunch of anxious brides clutching grimly to their Noosa threatened wedding plans, look forward to their big day again.

Noosa Councillors with the exception of Cr Brian Stockwell have put the fate of Noosa Waterfront Restaurant weddings in Mr Lynham's hands by agreeing to issue permits for parkland servings of drinks and canapes outside the Noosaville venue until November 30.

Mr Lynham must now agree to that extension, but Member for Noosa Glen Elmes has held discussions with Department of Natural Resources and Mines executive who confirmed they will not stand in the way of couples involved having their "dream day”.

Relieved Waterfront operators Andrea and Kerri Ravezzani were in the Boreen Point public gallery for the vote and are now looking to work with council and government department to find an acceptable arrangement after the latest cut-off date.

Kerri Ravezzani said they would start phoning couples who have bookings and "there'll be some very happy brides tomorrow".

Council had voted last month to extend temporary permits for the Waterfront towards the end of July, placing many wedding bookings in doubt. This was after it was discovered that the restaurant's liquor licence had mistakenly indicated that they could serve drinks on this land.

Cr Ingrid Jackson successfully moved this November reprieve for the Waterfront, despite legal advice to council that its previous extension vote had been unlawful.

Councillors were presented with a petition of support for the Waterfront signed by 1454 people and were told of the DNRM's likely backing of any further temporary extensions.

"I was elected to support people in our community, help solve problems and come up with win/win solutions," Cr Jackson said.

She said the council has the discretion to ignore its planning scheme and was "keen to err on the side of our residents where we can".

Cr Frank Pardon supported the motion saying he "was coming from the heart on this one" while Cr Jess Glasgow said this was about council being "fair and equitable".

Cr Jurisevic said the minister ultimately will have the final decision and he supported allowing this business to temporarily "trade out of a difficult situation".

"I don't believe it is council's business to shut down businesses," he said.

Mayor Wellington said this "a reasonably unique situation here, because we're not actually giving a carte blanch approval for new activities".

"After the 30th of November we're into a whole new ball game where and MCU (council approval) and a ministerial approval would be required in order for this use to continue."

Cr Stockwell said: "You can't be half pregnant and you can't be half lawful - this motion doesn't address the breach of the planning scheme."

He said the credibility of the Noosa Council was at stake and in this case the restaurant has established a business based on a "rookie mistake" that its liquor licence gave it tenure of this public land.

"The Noosa community is being asked to waive considerations of long-standing legal precedence and planning processes rather than the people who made the mistake," he said.

Cr Stockwell asked the councillors if it was fair to make "adult decisions” that would result in this business accruing significant financial advantage just because it has assumed privileges over land it has no authority to use.

Mr Elmes said on Thursday: "I am extremely pleased to have reached a satisfactory interim solution.

"It is important to note this issue is not new and that no one is to blame. It simply is a case now of due diligence by the proprietor to seek a permanent solution and apply for an amendment to their liquor licence, which became a grey area following their refurbishment a few years ago.

"DNRM have today confirmed they are happy to grant an extension providing the proprietor works with the relevant agencies to secure long term arrangements and that no more bookings are made until this is resolved.

"It is now time for Noosa Council, the Waterfront Restaurant owners and the relevant state agencies to come up with a permanent solution to remove any further uncertainty,” Mr Elmes said.

Peter Gardiner