Opportunity comes knocking and councillors knock it back

Council's rejection of the Woolworths service station application has divided public opinion.
Council's rejection of the Woolworths service station application has divided public opinion. Stuart Cumming

WITH several empty shops sitting in the main street and many residents looking for work, I am mystified as to why the Southern Downs Regional Council knocked back the application for the Woolworths service station.

Sure it is not a locally owned small business and all the profits will not be fed directly back to the community, but neither are profits of many other major franchises operating in Stanthorpe - all of which provide jobs and a boost to the local economy.

Not to mention the donations and sponsorship they provide to local organisations and sporting groups.

And while the service station itself might not employ a large number of staff, there is a good chance local contractors would have been used to build the service station.

Close to 190 people had objections to the development proposal.

This is a fairly small percentage of the Stanthorpe population and I have seen council applications with many more objections approved.

Another reason cited by councillors for objection was there was no need for another petrol station.

I don't recall there ever being a public outcry for more cafes, wineries or pubs in Stanthorpe, but if an application for a new one was put to council, I would hate to think it would not be approved because it might create too much competition.

I can understand the concerns of the parents whose children's daycare is situation behind the proposed site, but at the same time the site has been used as a petrol station for years before the childcare centre was built.

And with the council having no real planning reason to reject the application, my crystal ball predicts Woolworths will lodge an appeal and the council has a high chance of ending up in legal proceedings.

Which will be paid out of ratepayers' money.

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