Landholders are fighting to stop an aqua park development at Airlie Beach.
Landholders are fighting to stop an aqua park development at Airlie Beach. Contributed

Legal battle over Airlie aqua park moves closer to home

THE legal stoush between a group of landowners and Airlie Beach's new aqua park has begun with lawyers fighting over whether the case should be heard in Brisbane or Townsville.

At the first day in court in Brisbane, a judge ordered the case be transferred to Townsville despite some lawyers saying it was too early to decide.

A group of about 15 landholders, two who live in Airlie Beach and the others who live in other areas including Melbourne, Gold Coast, Sydney and Moranbah, have taken to court the Port of Airlie's aqua park at Boathaven Beach, its developer Jason Ford and Whitsunday Regional Council.

The landholders are fighting for the aqua park development to stop and for the land to return to the state it was before.

The case was mentioned at Brisbane's Planning and Environment Court for the first time on Wednesday when Judge Michael Rackemann ordered the case to be transferred to Townsville.

Michael Conner, who represented the group of landowners, said it was a bit too early to know whether the matter should be heard in Brisbane or Townsville.

He said once more documents were filed, the court would be in a better position to decide where the matter should be heard.

But Judge Rackemann found in favour of the aqua park's legal team, who wanted the matter to be heard in Townsville because it was in the locality.

Judge Rackemann said Airlie Aqua Park, Mr Ford and council were all closer to Townsville and that none of the landowners lived in Brisbane.

"If a site inspection is required that can more expeditiously be done from Townsville," he said.

"At this point in time, the balance would appear to lie heavily in favour of the matter being transferred to Townsville."

- APN NEWSDESK


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