Planning objections could mean an end to Paws and Claws

ANIMAL REFUGE

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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NO DEAL: The Paws and Claws animal shelter will be homeless for a while longer. IMAGE: Newsport.
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Should the five business entities, who waited until the 11th hour to lodge an appeal in the Planning and Environment Court to scupper Paws and Claws’ plans to convert a former printing company into an animal shelter in Teamsters Close in Craiglie, be successful, it will spell the death knell for the association and the work it does.

In presenting his report for the past financial year, which will be tabled at tonight’s annual meeting, 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, that is exactly what they will do as they don’t have a choice.

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“If this doesn’t proceed there is nowhere else for us to go. And as I have unfortunately become repetitive in saying, this will be the end of the association and the work that it does,” said Kerr.

On September 7, Council voted 3-1 in favour to issue a development permit for the new indoor facility after the applicant provided an updated and more thorough acoustics report, which was accepted. 

The struggle to find a suitable location for Paws and Claws has been long and tedious and the appeal by the five businesses was poorly received in the shire.

“On the day we settled on the Teamsters property, an appeal was lodged with the Planning Appeals Court by five people who own properties near the allotment we have purchased.

“The names of the applicants are now public knowledge, so I hope that the harassment that occurred to other businesses in the estate has ceased. I will add that none of these gentlemen have contacted any of the committee to question or confirm that any of their mislead fears are legitimate or warranted.

“Instead, they’ve chosen the very expensive route of having the council decision unnecessarily reversed by a court,” said Kerr in his report.

He adds: “I would have thought that men with the money that these five seem to have, they would be keener to assist us to ensure we are not a burden, than rip donated funds from our bank accounts in a legal stoush that there is just no need for.”

The appeal, meanwhile, is a public document and filed with Council with the appellants named.
  
It includes five pages of objections, including: “the development is contrary to good town planning principles”; “the shelter is inconsistent with Council’s intent for the Craiglie industrial area”; and “it does not support the Port Douglas tourism and marine industries.”

Under the Planning Act 2016, the Planning and Environment Court hears appeals against decisions on planning and development applications, protection for environment and coasts, marine parks, conservation areas and more.

The appeal is available on the Council website

Meanwhile, there has been significant goodwill and support despite the future of Paws and Claws hanging in the balance.

“I would like to thank Animal Welfare Cairns for supporting us through all of this and contributing $250,000 towards the purchase of the property.

“I would also like to thank the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for their contribution of $300,000.
  
"Without both of these players we would not have been able to complete the purchase. Of course, thank you to each and every donator that has given to the association over the many years,” said Kerr. 

 

 


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