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Coast wedding venue fights to host more events

Owners at the The Old Dairy, Maleny, are appealing against conditions imposed on their development approval.
Owners at the The Old Dairy, Maleny, are appealing against conditions imposed on their development approval. Contributed

A FAMILY wedding on Ari Jelekainen's hinterland farm four years ago snowballed into a busy venture that has now had the brakes applied to get things right.

He lodged an appeal in December in the Planning and Environment Court against conditions added to a Sunshine Coast Council development approval to operate The Old Dairy, Maleny, as a function venue with short-term accommodation.

The appeal disputes restrictions limiting him to 30 events a year and that those events only be weddings.

But he hopes negotiations will put an end to the appeal going any further.

He bought the Bald Knob property about 15 years ago.

"It was a run-down old dairy when we got it," Mr Jelekainen said.

 

Owners at the The Old Dairy, Maleny, are appealing against conditions imposed on their development approval.
Owners at the The Old Dairy, Maleny, are appealing against conditions imposed on their development approval. Contributed

His family ran cattle on it but it was not enough to quit his engineering day job in Brisbane.

It was kept as a lifestyle property until his sister asked him if she could have her wedding there.

Mr Jelekainen said his carpenter father, as a wedding present, converted an old dairy into a bar for the function.

"We had that wedding then other people started asking."

He and his wife Joanne launched a website and had a lot of enquiries which led to a series of weddings.

They lodged an application with the council last year to have the property recognised as an approved function venue.

He said they also stopped hosting weddings.

"I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when we started the process," Mr Jelekainen said.

But he said overwhelming difficulty at the start had now eased.

He was happy to limit the venue to 30 weddings a year but wanted capability to host other functions such as fundraisers or mock weddings for suppliers to test their products.

"It is just trying to have a little bit of flexibility with what we are doing."

His eventual goal is to move his young family to Maleny and commute to a part-time role in Brisbane.

Getting his venue ready for functions is his immediate priority.

He doesn't expect to be ready to host functions again until March or April next year.

"We feel like we are going to get there."

Topics:  appeal function maleny planning and environment court sunshine coast council the old dairy venue wedding



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