Legal trouble in paradise

BAD blood between members of the small Great Keppel Island business community has boiled over into allegations of illegality.

The depth of the split between those in favour of development and those against it has been revealed in an official complaint that Svendsen’s Retreat has allegedly been operating for years without planning permission.

Rockhampton Regional Council yesterday confirmed that it was investigating the claims.

Island Pizza owner Gerry Christie, a strong supporter of Tower Holdings’ redevelopment plans, alleges in a letter of formal complaint to council chief executive Alastair Dawson, that Svendsen’s Retreat is an illegal business because there is no development approval for the site.

The business’s owner, Lyndie Malan, has been at the forefront of the campaign against Tower’s resort proposals.

But yesterday Ms Malan did not wish to comment on the matter.

Her business, which comprises two luxury tents, a studio room and a rental house, can accommodate just 10 adults at any one time and is described in official literature as a small eco-friendly resort.

Mr Christie said he thought it was patently unfair that a company that met all its legal obligations had been undermined and attacked by those who had not been subjected to such rigorous scrutiny.

A spokeswoman for the council said she could confirm that a formal complaint had been received and a formal response would be provided to the complainant upon conclusion of the investigation.

She said the business in question was a small-scale camping retreat operated from a freehold land holding on the north-western section of island.

“The lot on which the retreat operates was specifically contemplated under the Great Keppel Island Development Plan as a suitable camping area provided that actual facilities (such as toilet blocks) are minimal.”

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