Business owner takes on Bunnings in court
A WARWICK woman has taken on Australia's biggest hardware chain with court action in a bid to stop the retailer building in the city's flood zone.
Real estate agent Helen Harm has vowed to fight on after Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) approved the development of a Bunnings Warehouse last year on a flood plain near her Fitzroy St business.
Mrs Harm said she lodged a legal appeal against Bunnings Group and SDRC in the Planning and Environment Court of Queensland last month and has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover legal fees which she estimates could top $30,000.
"I am looking at the first phase costing about $15,000 for an independent flood study and legal fees and so far residents and business owners have donated a few thousand dollars to the fund,” Mrs Harm said.
Bunnings planned to build a 9000sqm island on a vacant Canning St block and a hydraulic study by engineering group Jacobs showed the development would have no major impact on water levels which SDRC based its approval on.
But Mrs Harm believed an independent study she is seeking will show the development could put businesses and residents in jeopardy during floods.
"Residents are worried the development could take up 20% of a major flood zone, and all the studies done since major floods in Queensland have said same thing, 'Don't build on the flood plains'.”
The development was due to start in June but could not go ahead until the court outcome, Mrs Harm said.
She has the moral support of business owners in the area including Alan Olsen of Olsen's Home Timber and Hardware.
Mr Olsen said he backed Mrs Harm's move to take on Bunnings but did not want to risk throwing good money after bad.
"We don't like the development decision but Bunnings has experience and size and we are too small to take on its bureaucracy and lawyers in something that could get very emotionally draining,” Mr Olsen said.