FCO tourism manager is fifth high-profile departure
ANOTHER manager at Fraser Coast Opportunities has quit the tourism and economic body, days after publicly supporting the Enzo's on the Beach development application.
Tourism manager Robbie Cornelius is the fifth high-profile name to leave the organisation since July, following the exits of enterprise manager Scott Rowe and board members Glen Winney, Theresa Craig and David Hay.
On October 4, Mr Cornelius, who was acting general manager of FCO while David Spear was on holidays, sent a letter to councillors and the president of the Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce Tim Powers, publicly supporting the controversial proposed expansion of Enzo's on the Beach.
The cafe is owned by Enzo Andreuzzi, whose wife Danielle works alongside Mr Cornelius as the marketing manager at FCO.
In a letter seen by the Chronicle, Mr Cornelius urged councillors to support the proposed development of the popular beachside cafe.
"We hope that the development application submitted by Enzo's on the Beach is reviewed favourably and subsequently approved," he wrote.
Mr Spear, who returned from holidays on Monday, said he was not aware and didn't approve of Mr Cornelius's letter supporting the Enzo's development before it was sent.
However, he denied there was a conflict of interest, despite Ms Andreuzzi working at FCO.
"I don't believe so in this instance," he said.
"Her employment with this organisation is irrelevant to the specific directions in our strategies that we're supporting."
But on Tuesday, Mr Cornelius tabled his resignation to Mr Spear and cited personal aspirations for his departure.
Speaking to the Chronicle, Mr Spear remained on the front foot, reinforcing that Mr Cornelius's resignation was not related to the letter he had sent.
"Absolutely unequivocally not," he said.
"Two separate issues - this is a personal decision.
"Robbie has chosen, after five-and-a-half years, to pursue his aspirations in private business and also to have a well-earned break.
"I'm sad to see him go and I've encouraged him to stay."
In the letter, Mr Cornelius also dismissed critical comments from Enzo's neighbouring businesses.
"It is understood that numerous small businesses in the Scarness precinct are opposed to the development, on the grounds that they themselves will lose business and that the facility may encourage drunken behaviour and result in vandalism," the letter read.
"This is an incredibly narrow view which Fraser Coast Opportunities fundamentally disagrees with."
The Chronicle could not contact Mr Cornelius late on Tuesday afternoon.