With picturesque views of the harbour, multi-million dollar homes and a nearly non-existent crime rate, you’d be forgiven for thinking locals in Sydney’s Mosman had little to complain about.
But well-heeled neighbours living in one of Australia’s richest suburbs are at loggerheads over the issue of boat parking, after a commercial pilot left his six-metre-long boat on the street outside a harbourside mansion.
Locals are split between those who support the pilot, saying he has the right to park anywhere he wants, those who deem leaving a boat outside someone’s house ‘rude’ – and those who have opted to see the funny side.
The woman who lives in the plush $5million Mosman home, on Sydney’s lower north shore, launched a scathing attack via the community’s Facebook group on Saturday, claiming it was blocking her view of traffic when she left her driveway and urging the owner to move it.
Laureen Ong’s post set off a chain of fury among locals with hundreds of commenters raging about who was in the right, while others made jokes about the uproar in the leafy, well-to-do neighbourhood – flooding the group with memes.
The situation escalated when the owner – pilot Palle Lunoe, who lives 2km away – hit back, noting his boat was legally parked and declaring that concerned locals ‘have a little too much spare time’.
One of Australia’s richest suburbs, Mosman, has erupted after a commercial pilot parked his 6metre-long boat on the street outside a harbourside home (above)
Several negative comments slammed Mr Lunoe for leaving his boat in front of the multi-million-dollar home and said he should pay to moor it
His message triggered utter outrage among some, with residents slamming him for ditching the boat in the suburban street, where it stayed for five days.
‘If you can’t afford the mooring, don’t have a boat. Or at least dump it outside your own property,’ one person wrote.
Another person commented: ‘Just because something is legal it doesn’t mean it’s right. It’s about respecting your neighbours and community.’
‘If you can’t store your caravan or boat on your own property in a storage facility or your driveway then don’t get one,’ a third said.
But not everyone agreed, with many hitting out at the ‘entitlement’ of some locals.
‘Seriously just because you are blessed to live in one of the most expensive suburbs in Sydney doesn’t mean you’re entitled to never ever be inconvenienced in the slightest way,’ one person said.
Another wrote: ‘I don’t own a boat but you’re Mosman’s Napoleon! I stand by you – vive la revolution!’
As the increasingly heated debate intensified others found the humour in the situation with one man calling the drama a ‘neighbourly disagreement between the Have’s and the Have Yachts’.
Some Mosman locals ignored the hot debate and instead made jokes about the situation (pictured, a tee shirt designed in honour of the boat saga) while others slammed the park
Homeowner Laureen Ong (above) called out Mr Lunoe for parking his boat in front of her home and blocking construction workers
Some locals were irate about the issue, saying people shouldn’t buy boats unless they have somewhere to store it
One person shared a photo of a T-shirt designed with the words ‘not in our Mozman’ printed on the front with a photo of a giant helicopter hauling away the unwanted boat, claiming he would soon be selling merchandise.
‘At this point I’m looking forward to the 4-part ABC miniseries,’ a third joked.
Memes and comical pictures also flooded the page with one user posting a photo of his dog ‘Captain Scruffles’ wearing sunglasses behind the helm of a boat asking locals ‘if anyone had any sneaky tips on where I can park my boat in the area?’
Originally, Mr Lunoe had asked Ms Ong’s husband if it was blocking their driveway and, when her spouse said no, he left the boat and drove away.
But as the days progressed, Ms Ong’s frustration grew over the vessel blocking her view of traffic when she reversed out of her driveway, and then because it apparently hampered building work on her property.
That’s when Ms Ong turned to a local Facebook group Mosman Living.
‘Please move your boat! If you are the owner or know the owner I am requesting for it to be removed immediately,’ she wrote.
‘We are having construction work done on my house. It has made two huge deliveries with a crane hard to unload supplies so far.’
Under-siege from fired-up social media users, Mr Lunoe agreed to move it but couldn’t resist a few digs of his own.
‘To all the upset Mosmanites – this is my boat. I’m glad to own up to it,’ he wrote.
‘The trailer is legal and the boat is legally parked. It is a registered vehicle and therefore has all rights to be parked on the road.
One Mosman local poked fun at the situation by pretending his dog was looking for a street to leave his boat on (above)
The boat trailer is parked on a slice of kerb between two driveways
‘I spoke to owners on the house on the left. They are happy with it. The people in the house on the right exited the driveway as I was parking it there and they refused to stop to chat about it.
‘Having said that, I’m happy to move it if it [sic] causing inconvenience. Though a simple pleasant request would have sufficed.
‘Honestly you should read over the commotion this caused. Perhaps you people have a little too much spare time.’
Ms Ong told Daily Mail Australia that neither she nor her husband had thought Mr Lunoe was planning to park his boat out the front of their house for five days.
‘My husband thought he was only parking it for, like, a short bit and it wasn’t like it was going to stay here,’ she said.
‘Everyone just kind of assumed he was fixing something or doing something, but I guess that wasn’t the case.
Laureen Ong told Daily Mail Australia she had no issue with the boat owner – pilot Palle Luneo (pictured) leaving his boat on her street – but wanted it moved away from next to her driveway
Other light-hearted commenters joked about the situation or pointed out that Mr Lunoe’s boat is allowed to be parked in front of the property
Pictured: Construction cones outside Ms Ong’s house, which has work being done on the front stairs
‘He didn’t say that it was going to be five days. [If he did] my husband obviously would have said something.’
Ms Ong said she had ‘no beef with him – I understand everyone has to park their boats and trailers, and people have been parking them in the street – that is fine’.
‘My big problem was in driving in and out of my driveway, I couldn’t see and the bus stop is right there,’ she said.
‘They fly by and so I have to be really careful and I can’t see when I am getting out [of the driveway] with my kids.’
She said she first contacted the council but they were unable to help so she decided to first try to personally track down Mr Lunoe instead.
Ms Ong later updated her original post to explain her reasons for wanting the boat moved
However, while she felt her post was polite and reasonable, she said he seemed to be ‘very upset’ and ‘unfriendly’ towards her.
‘I wanted to find him to ask him and the only way I could was by making the post, but he took it offensively,’ she said.
‘I was very surprised the way he reacted towards us and we tried to talk to him over the phone and not make this ugly. It was obviously a misunderstanding.
‘But [the phone call] was just not pretty. He was not happy and said “your wife blew this all out of proportion”.’
Ms Ong said there were other areas on the street that were not blocking driveways where he could have parked.
Mr Lunoe said he does not have a quarrel with the homeowners and is sure they are ‘nice’.
He claimed he has been contacted by ‘hundreds of people’ offering him support over the saga, and even council members had reached out asking for him to be a public advocate for misconceptions about legal boat parking in the area.
As of 5.30pm on Wednesday, Mr Lunoe told Daily Mail Australia he had collected the boat.
Registered boat trailers can be legally parked in a residential street for up to 28 days, but the issue remains controversial among Mosman locals.
Earlier this month, Mosman Council resolved to impose four-hour limits on nine parking spaces in Mosman Bay to address boat trailer parking in the area.
Boats are commonplace in streets throughout the suburb which has a median home price of $5.3million, with Australian Bureau of Statistics data placing residents’ average weekly household income in 2021 at $2,892 a week.
In August, data from the ATO released by Canstar found Mosman was the sixth wealthiest suburb in the country.