Susan River fish farm stays afloat

THE SUSAN River fish farmer fighting the Fraser Coast Council over permission to harvest fish on acreage that already has a government permit has been told he may have to wait up to nine months for the go-ahead.

“I went into the council on Thursday to make sure I wasn’t hearing things over the phone when I called them on Monday,” Peter Penrose told the Chronicle yesterday.

“The officer told me again on Thursday that my material change of use application would take from “four to nine months”.

“That’s more than double what the mayor Mick Kruger told the Chronicle before Christmas.

“I have a (Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries) permit to cover 5.3 ha on my property and if this council will get its collective act together I can start my business and give jobs to as many as 65 people.”

“We’re looking at four months to get this through,” Mr Kruger told the Chronicle on December 23, after talking with council officers.

“The officers told me they will give (Mr Penrose) all the support they can.”

But Mr Penrose says he no longer trusts the council.

“I was ready to pay my $6179 to get that material change of use but I fear if I do wait around for up to nine months to maybe get it and maybe not, then the council will hit me with this sort of bureaucratic stone walling every time I want to do something to improve my fish farm.”

Mr Kruger said on Thursday that once Mr Penrose had his MCU he would only need to apply for building permits in the future if he wanted to add a shed.

“And it might not take nine months to get the MCU.”

Mr Penrose said the officer he has been talking with at DPIF is as puzzled as he is over the council’s attitude.

“I’m still in shock and disbelief but I am going away now for a couple of days to consider my position on whether to persist with the council and trust that they will end up doing what the mayor said they would.”

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