DESPITE receiving more than 400,000 vehement objections pleading with it to refuse a new puppy breeding (and dog and cat boarding facility) in Landsborough, Sunshine Coast Council planning staff will present a tick of approval for the proposal at this Thursday’s council meeting.
The avalanche of emailed objections to the proposal was so large that council’s IT system blocked the majority, wrongly identifying the volume of emails as part of a malicious denial-of-service cyberattack.
The application – made by existing dog breeding business Diamond Valley Kennels (DVK) – was first made in 2018, with DVK identifying the need to move from their existing Mooloolah property to a larger facility.
Their original plan was for a 200-dog boarding kennel plus a 60-dog breeding facility, and a cattery for 20 cats.
The access to the property, located between the end of Amigh Road in Landsborough and Steve Irwin Way, was identified off Steve Irwin Way in a shared accessway with the Big Kart Track.
With the development in a rural zone and potentially not strictly within planning scheme rules, the proposal triggered an impact assessment process, meaning a more vigorous evaluation process was required.
Initial concerns flagged by council officers resulted in amendments to the plans, with Diamond Valley Kennels agreeing to reduce the boarding kennel from 200 to 48 dogs but maintained the puppy production at the original 60 breeding bitches.
Council also flagged potential problems with the level of noise that may be generated by all those barking dogs, resulting in extra acoustic management infrastructure as well as operational limits.
These types of applications are normally assessed and approved or rejected by the council planning staff but due to the intense level of public scrutiny, the assessment unit recommended the decision be made by the council’s elected representatives.
Consequently, the first agenda item of the Thursday, October 14 ordinary meeting will decide the fate of the Landsborough dog breeding business.
At the outset of the report to council, the planning staff stated that their job was not to assess the ethics of the proposal, a stance that will no doubt infuriate the hundreds of thousands of objectors who called on council to take a moral stand on animal welfare grounds.
“Animal welfare concerns are not a relevant matter to the assessment because relevant matters must be related to town planning in some way,” the report states.
“They are also not a local government matter, being that animal welfare is regulated by the Queensland Government.
“Dog breeding licences are a responsibility of the Queensland Government through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and not a local government matter, and therefore cannot be considered as part of this land use application process.”
The report also referenced the RSPCA, saying it was a “third party advice agency” and did not object to the proposal.
However, all is not lost for those against the proposal as the decision will still be voted on by the 11 community-elected representatives who form the Sunshine Coast Council.
The councillors generally vote on matters based on the advice of the professional council staff. However, they have the capacity to argue for or against a proposal based on their personal views and to exercise a conscience vote or a vote supporting community sentiment.
Such a circumstance would require only six votes against to result in a refusal of the application.
To make your voice heard – in support of or against the proposal – at the council meeting this Thursday, you will need to make direct contact with the Mayor and ten councillors via telephone, email or messaging via social media.
Their contact details are:
Mayor Mark Jamieson – 5441 8242, email@example.com
Cr Rick Baberowski – 5420 8987, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cr Terry Landsberg – 5420 8965, email@example.com
Cr Peter Cox – 5420 8978, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cr Joe Natoli – 5475 9859, email@example.com
Cr Winston Johnston – 5441 8043, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cr Christian Dickson – 5441 8374, email@example.com
Cr Ted Hungerford – 5441 8378, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cr Jason O’Pray – 5475 9860, email@example.com
Cr Maria Suarez – 5475 9810, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cr David Law – 5441 8368, email@example.com