Sunshine Coast Council has applied to the Planning and Environment Court for The Old Dairy owners to pay an infrastructure charge.
Sunshine Coast Council has applied to the Planning and Environment Court for The Old Dairy owners to pay an infrastructure charge.

Honeymoon over: Admin error costs council $90k

An administrative error is costing Sunshine Coast Council almost $90,000 after accidentally not sending an infrastructure charge notice to a wedding venue owner.

Court documents show council did not send The Old Dairy owner Ari Jelekainen an infrastructure charge notice for $83,527 after considering his application for a wedding venue.

Mr Jelekainen lodged a material change of use permit in March 2017 for a function facility (wedding venue) at the 90-acre 621 Landsborough-Maleny Rd property.

The boutique venue is a well-known and unique wedding destination and was also the location for a MasterChef Australia episode filmed in June 2019.

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According to court documents council mistakenly did not attach the charge notice in an email to Mr Jelekainen's town planning consultants about their decision in September 2017.

Now council has requested the Planning and Environment Court to have Mr Jelekainen pay the charge.

"It is in the public interest that the respondent pay for its share of infrastructure demand," Sunshine Coast Council Legal Services said in the court document.

The Sunshine Coast Council says it’s owed almost $90,000 in overdue infrastructure charges by the owners of The Old Dairy.
The Sunshine Coast Council says it’s owed almost $90,000 in overdue infrastructure charges by the owners of The Old Dairy.

"It is not in the public interest for council's inadvertent administrative oversight to result in a disbenefit to the community."

The mistake was realised in July 2020 and council's transport and infrastructure planning department requested payment of $88,966.

Mr Jelekainen's solicitors P&E Law said the venue owner and his town planning consultants were not sent the notice.

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According to the council Mr Jelekainen and his "experienced" team should have been "reasonably aware" that an infrastructure charges notice would be given.

They said the notice was published on the council's planning and development website.

P&E Law responded stating the time frame to issue the charge had passed and it was invalid without relief from the court.

It is the second time the development has landed in the court.

In December 2017 Mr Jelekainen lodged an appeal against the approval conditions and in March 2018 Judge Long approved development with new conditions.

The next listing date is February 12.