One of Australia’s wealthiest suburbs is angry after a commercial pilot parked his huge boat on a residential street and left it there for days.
Laureen Ong noticed on Saturday that a vessel about six meters long was parked outside her Mosman home in Sydney’s Lower North Shore.
The boat owner had asked Ms Ong’s husband if he was blocking their entrance, and when her spouse said no, he left the boat and drove off.
But as the days passed, Ms Ong’s frustration grew over the vessel blocking her view of traffic when she backed out of her driveway, and then because it apparently interfered with construction work on her property.
Ms Ong took to a local Facebook group in a bid to find the owner and demand that he move the boat immediately.
This large boat parked outside a house in Mosman, on Sydney’s lower north shore, has sparked controversy after being left on the street for several days
Homeowner versus boat owner: Laureen Ong (left) told Daily Mail Australia she had no problem with the boat owner – pilot Palle Luneo (right) leaving his boat on her street – but wanted him out of his driveway
‘Please move your boat! If you are the owner or know the owner, I demand that it be removed immediately,” she wrote.
“We have construction work on my house. So far, he has made two huge deliveries with a difficult-to-unload crane.
The post sparked outrage – with several locals blaming the owner for abandoning the boat on the suburban street.
The situation escalated a few hours later when the owner of the boat – REX Airlines First Officer Palle Lunoe – hit back, noting that his boat was legally parked and saying that the locals concerned “have a little too much free time. “.
‘To all upset Mosmanites – this is my boat. I am happy to acknowledge it,” he wrote.
“The trailer is legal and the boat is legally parked. It is a registered vehicle and therefore has every right to be parked on the road.
“I spoke to the owners of the house on the left. They are happy with it. The people in the house on the right came out of the driveway as I parked it there and they refused to stop to talk about it.
“That said, I’m happy to move him if he [sic] causing inconvenience. Although a simple pleasant request would have sufficed.
Residents said they were worried because the boat was obscuring their view of oncoming traffic as they pulled out of their driveways
The boat trailer is parked on a slice of sidewalk between two driveways
“Honestly, you should read the fuss this has caused. You might have a little too much free time.
The boat has left locals divided, with some saying Mr Lunoe’s post – which garnered more than 860 reactions – gives “a glimpse into the minds of the…rich”.
“Seriously, just because you’re lucky enough to live in one of Sydney’s most expensive suburbs doesn’t mean you have the right to never be inconvenienced in the slightest way,” read one response.
‘In fact, it’s your boat that parks it in front of your house or pays for a mooring. Common courtesy,” someone else commented.
Ms Ong told Daily Mail Australia that neither she nor her husband thought Mr Lunoe planned to park his boat outside their house for five days.
Pictured: Construction cones outside Ms Ong’s home, where work is underway on the front stairs
“My husband thought he was only parking her for a short while and it wasn’t like she was going to stay here,” she said.
“Everyone assumed he was fixing something or doing something, but I guess that wasn’t the case.
“He didn’t say it was going to last five days. [If he did] my husband would obviously have said something.
Ms Ong said she had ‘no beef with him – I understand that everyone has to park their boats and trailers, and people have parked them on the street – that’s fine”.
“My big problem was getting in and out of my driveway, I couldn’t see and the bus stop is right there,” she said.
“They fly and so I have to be very careful and I can’t see when I go out [of the driveway] with my children.’
Ms Ong said she was unable to use her garage as it was now full of building materials which could not be put in the right place.
She said she contacted the council first but they were unable to help her, so she decided to first try to personally track down Mr. Lunoe instead.
Mr Lunoe, who lives in a flat 2km away, bought his boat three months ago
However, while she felt his message was polite and reasonable, she said he appeared to be “very upset” and “unfriendly” towards her.
“I wanted to find him to ask him and the only way to do that was to post the message, but he took it offensively,” she said.
“I was very surprised at how he reacted to us and we tried to talk to him on the phone and not make it ugly. It was obviously a misunderstanding.
Ms Ong then updated her original post to explain her reasons for wanting to move the boat
‘But [the phone call] just wasn’t pretty. He was not happy and said “your wife ruined everything”.
Ms Ong said she spoke to Mr Lunoe on Tuesday and he agreed to move the boat later that night.
However, she said he texted her saying he couldn’t do it anymore for personal reasons, but promised to do it the next morning.
As of 3pm on Wednesday, the boat had still not been removed and Ms Ong said she had not heard an update from her on when it would be recovered.
Ms Ong said there were other areas on the street that did not block driveways where he could have parked.
“He could just park it around the corner. There are spaces there where it doesn’t clog aisles or bother anyone,” she said.
But Mr Lunoe, who lives 2km from the car park in an apartment, said he was not one of those people ‘who buy a boat and leave it there for six months’.
He said he was happy to move the boat, which he has owned for three months, but it makes him realize that “no one is more polite”.
‘All she had to do was write ‘who owns this boat?’ online,” he said.
Mr Lunoe is seen on a seaside trip
“It caused a huge stir.
“If it had construction work, I would have just come to move the boat.
“But everyone gets 500% angry and acts pretty extreme, and the whole community gets involved 600% angry.”
Mr Lunoe said he had no argument with the owners and was sure they were “nice”.
But he thinks we “live in a community, which means people have to live with other people in mind”.
“People increasingly believe they should be able to live in a community, but they should have the right to be upset if something bothers them,” he said.
‘…As if nothing could affect them.
“You have to wonder if I’m really embarrassing someone into creating an uproar when all they have to do is drive a little slower out of their driveway.”
Mr Lunoe said he told Ms Ong’s husband at the time of filing that he would get his boat back within a week.
According to social media posts, Mr Luneo enjoyed a trip to the Whitsundays earlier this month, sharing a photo from another boat.
He claimed to have been contacted by “hundreds of people” offering his support for the saga, and even council members asked him to be a public defender of misconceptions about legal boat parking in the area.
At 5.30pm on Wednesday, Mr Lunoe told Daily Mail Australia he had recovered the boat.
Registered boat trailers can be parked legally on a residential street for up to 28 days, but the issue remains controversial among Mosman residents.
Earlier this month, Mosman Council decided to impose four-hour limits on nine parking spaces in Mosman Bay to address the problem of boat trailer parking in the area.
Boats are commonplace on the streets of the suburbs, whose median house price is $5.3 million, with data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics putting the average weekly household income in 2021 at $2,892 a week.
In August, ATO data released by Canstar revealed that Mosman was the sixth-richest suburb in the country.
Pictured: A meme has since appeared online in response to the boat saga