Community petition fights against ‘unacceptable’ road closure
A petition driven by one small community near Warwick has proven instrumental in opposing an "unacceptable" permanent road closure, one which was also staunchly opposed by councillors.
Southern Downs Regional Council received a request from the owners of Maydan Feedlot in October last year to permanently close part of TV Repeater Road in Bony Mountain, which currently runs between the property's two parcels of land.
The report tabled at the ordinary council meeting on Wednesday stated the applicant "anticipated the road closure would simplify on-site operations and reduce any potential safety hazards".
SDRC infrastructure officers notified the applicant they had "no objection" to the closure the next month, with the application then lodged with the Department of Resources and opened to public consultation until March 25 this year.
The road closure was met with fierce opposition from various community members, including the 23-signature petition filed by Martin and Karen Shepherd stating the partial road closure would "cause considerable inconvenience and costs" to residents.
"It would also impede the response time of any emergency services required by the community," the petition read.
Further complaints contended the closure would cut off residents west of Bony Mountain during flooding, and the alternative route along Yankee Gully Road could be rendered "unpassable" by heavy rainfall.
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The original recommendation put before Southern Downs councillors on Wednesday suggested they advocate for the closure, despite the evident community opposition.
This course of action was strongly opposed by all representatives, many of whom said they had received worried phone calls from community members alongside the petition.
Councillor Cynthia McDonald "strongly disagreed" with the permanent closure due to its direct impact on residents, and said the removal of any emergency route would be "unacceptable".
"If it was a road that wasn't being used, I would be happy for it to go ahead and close, but I think in this case enough people have indicated they use it regularly and I think it's needed in that community," councillor Sheryl Windle agreed.
Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley and councillor Cameron Gow also voiced concerns that the closure would likely force SDRC to upgrade Yankee Gully Road, which would come at further expense to ratepayers.
The discussion also prompted councillor Jo McNally to suggest a review of road closure application policy.
Councillors eventually voted unanimously for an alternate motion recommending SDRC advise the Department of Resources of their objection to the potential road closure.
The final decision on whether TV Repeater Road will be closed remains with the state government.