STREET NAME WIN: This street will be renamed to honour one Southern Downs family’s history. Picture: file
STREET NAME WIN: This street will be renamed to honour one Southern Downs family’s history. Picture: file

Resident wins battle in street name beef with SDRC

ONE Warwick resident has won his fight to have a street renamed in recognition of his family's history, with the dispute even sparking a new council policy.

Ben Hoffman was outraged by its lack of reference to his ancestors in the naming of Witches Lane, saying his family tended the surrounding land for more than a century.

Developers submitted the name as one of three options for the new road in June 2018, with Lillirie Lane and Janes Lane making up the other alternatives. 

An SDRC spokeswoman said the final decision in Witches Lane was made by former Mayor Tracy Dobie and Deputy Mayor Jo McNally in line with council policy, as the other two proposed names were considered unsuitable under the Australian standard.

Not to be deterred, Mr Hoffman petitioned the council to have the road renamed to reflect great grandfather Donald Browne and his family's connection to the area.

"For a road to be named and not acknowledge the heritage and the pioneering people of the district is, in my opinion, a disgrace and extremely disrespectful," Mr Hoffman said.

"I would like to see the name changed to Brownes Lane or Rd, but most importantly I would like to make sure that the council put in place measures so this doesn't happen again anywhere in our region."

Mr Hoffman's wish was granted when it reached Southern Downs councillors at last week's ordinary meeting, with the council voting unanimously to send alternative name "Chaff Cutters Lane" out for community consultation. 

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Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley was the strongest advocate for the name change, which he said perfectly captured Mr Hoffman's family and the community's spirit.

"They're a very innovative family, involved in cutting chaff, cutting wood, and working at the sawmill," Cr Bartley said.

"In our policy, we do not name non-constructed roads, but the difficulty is the community have already named them, so when a name goes on them that doesn't meet their agreement, it's back to the drawing board.

"We've suggested previously we need to review the policy in regards to road-naming, to make sure we go back to the broader community always."

Councillor Jo McNally was also in favour of revising policy to avoid further disputes and their financial burden, while Mayor Vic Pennisi said this case was "democracy at work".

"If there is a mistake, there's our democracy that allows you to change it. I think this is democracy at work, and demonstrates we can change things if the right process is followed."

SDRC did not indicate when the public consultation process would be finalised. 



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