MAYOR Peter Blundell has refuted claims of "morally and legally questionable" talks between the council and owners of the Cherrabah resort east of Warwick.
Councillors last week voted to delegate power to the mayor and to acting chief executive officer Andrew Ireland to negotiate with the Joyful View Garden Real Estate Company over conditions imposed by the council on Cherrabah's expansion.
Joyful View has approval to turn the sleepy bush venue into a mini-city of 2000 residents and as many tourists, but has lodged a legal challenge against council requirements including a fire station and road upgrades.
Cr Jamie Mackenzie has claimed private "without prejudice" discussions were held between councillors and staff and Joyful View representatives before being authorised by a council vote.
"Without legal representatives present, any form of discussion is morally and legally questionable and risks dangers, especially without council's backing," Cr Mackenzie said in a statement.
"I was the only representative to endorse a motion at the July meeting to no longer support in principle the controversial development at Cherrabah.
"Aside from the court debate, a message needs to go the State and Federal Governments which may still overturn the approval."
Cr Blundell confirmed he and senior council staff had met with Cherrabah's owners before the July general meeting but said prior legal advice had been obtained.
"Once it has been established there is no legal reason not to hold such a meeting, it should be clearly outlined to all parties that any such meeting is held on a 'without prejudice' basis," the mayor said.
"This is the process that was followed in the case of the recent Cherrabah meeting.
"Any suggestion that the officers have acted incorrectly or inappropriately is refuted."
Cherrabah plan includes:
- 913 house lots
- five-star motel