Date set for Paws and Claws hearing

ANIMAL REFUGE

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The Planning and Environment Court judge, in the case against Paws and Claws converting a former printing company into an animal shelter in Teamsters Close in Craiglie, has ruled that there must be a ‘without prejudice meeting’ by all parties by 22 February.

In an 11th hour application, five businesses in Craiglie lodged an appeal in the Planning and Environment Court to scupper plans for the animal refuge centre.

A hearing in the Mossman Magistrates Court last Monday was adjourned until Friday and this is when it was ruled a without prejudice meeting be held.

A without prejudice meeting is intended to encourage parties to see if the dispute can be resolved outside the Court or Tribunal.

If a conversation or document, which is intended to be without prejudice, loses that protection, it could be referred to in any future Tribunal or Court.

When used in a document or letter, without prejudice means items cannot be used as evidence in a court case, cannot be taken as the signatory's last word on the subject matter, and cannot be used as a precedent.

The ruling further delays plans to move ahead, and a frustrated Michael Kerr, President of the Homeless Animal Society and Douglas Animal Welfare Group, said that if they have to spend every last cent they have fighting this, this is exactly what they’ll do as they don’t have a choice.

“As an association we are defending our application. We have the most to lose and we will fight all the way,” said Cr Kerr.

On September 7, Council voted 3-1 in favour of the refuge centre and they are sticking by their decision.

In a brief statement to Newsport, Douglas Shire mayor Julia Leu said “Douglas Shire Council will be defending its decision and Planning Scheme, but is unable to provide any further comment as the matter is before the courts.”

The appeal, which is available on Council’s website, lists the appellants along with their objections, which include:

  • The development is contrary to good town planning principles
  • The shelter is inconsistent with Council’s intent for the Craiglie industrial area
  • It does not support the Port Douglas tourism and marine industries.

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