On October 4, Sandstone Point Tavern (SPT) called a public gathering to meet with local residents who could be (or have been) affected by SPT’s operations. The immediate catalyst for this meeting was the latest Development Application (DA) lodged by SPT to permanently excise part of the site from the area where liquor can be sold and/or consumed. By excising this stage area from the licensed area, it takes the stage area out of the jurisdiction of the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR), and SPT is then not bound by OLGR’s noise guidelines. Currently, SPT has to apply on a concert-by-concert basis to excise this stage area. This latest DA would permanently excise that stage area and SPT would not need to submit the paperwork every time a concert is held.

Excising of this stage area transferred responsibility for noise issues from OLGR to Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) who had no standards in place for such situations and no capacity to monitor or police any standards that were set. So MBRC turned this over to SPT to set its own standards and these are outlined in DA/31643/2016/VCHG/1. A copy of this DA can be found at https://bit.ly/49cd8tO. In Section 8, we see that noise is not to exceed 70 dB(A) when measured in any time period up to 5 minutes. Compliance with this standard is monitored by SPT. Not MBRC. At the October 4 meeting, SPT claimed they had never had a noise exceedance. But that is not surprising seeing they have only monitored noise using the 5-minute averaging provision. It would be interesting to see if they still were in compliance if noise was averaged over a shorter period (say one minute).

The possibility of a tavern on the current SPT site was first raised during the 2012 Local Government elections. This possibility was dismissed by the then Division 1 Councillor who said… “..the land is zoned rural so nothing can be built on it – no tavern, no unit blocks or
Housing……… the land cannot ever be developed”….. The Councillor’s full comments can be found at https://bit.ly/3FFejUN. But just weeks after the 2012 elections, the DA for the site was approved. Since that time, countless DA’s have been submitted and approved for variances to the original DA. Some were compliant. Some were non-compliant. Some contentious. Some very contentious. All legally applied for. Virtually all were approved.

SPT has never ever met with the public to discuss any of these DA’s. So why did SPT call a public meeting to discuss a DA that it described at the October 4 meeting as just “routine” and “minor” and “just an administrative issue”? This is not the “Comiskey way”. Is there some reason that we are not being told about?

There is a legal opinion out there that has been put forward that OLGR had no legal authority to vacate its responsibilities to monitor noise issues. After all, SPT is the only site in Queensland where the OLGR has approved of such a change. There is a legal challenge on this subject that is now before the courts. If OLGR took back responsibility for noise on the SPT site, would these concerts still be possible? So was this public meeting that was called by SPT just a PR exercise to demonstrate to the OLGR (who were in attendance at the meeting) that SPT are being good neighbours to all those affected by SPT’s activities? Why call a meeting to discuss this supposedly “minor” change, when no meetings with affected residents was ever called before – even for the most contentious of previous DA’s?

Who knows what the reason is that SPT made some effort to meet the public on this occasion. Is it because OLGR’s decision to absolve itself of all responsibility for noise issues is being challenged in the courts by the Pumicestone Area Noise Abatement Group (Panag)? Some background on Panag can be found at https://bit.ly/45I8yR2 If the area could be permanently excised from OLGR jurisdiction (as is being requested by SPT), is that going to end Panag’s legal options? Is that why SPT wants to excise the area? If the OLGR decision to absolve itself of all noise responsibility is overturned by the courts, can concerts on this site continue? More to come on this story. That is for sure.

Editor, MyBribieIsland