PEOPLE POWER: The Warwick developments that stirred community controversy and objection.
PEOPLE POWER: The Warwick developments that stirred community controversy and objection.

The most hated Warwick developments of 2020/21

From servos to council works, Warwick residents haven’t been silent on their disapproval over these big-ticket developments.

Work has started on some of them, despite failed campaigns by residents, and the fight continues this year on others.
Check them out here:

EIGHT MILE OVERPASS

While some championed it as a needed safety measure, many called it a waste of money.

The commencement on the $25 million overpass occurred Thursday, with works expected to be completed within one year.

The project will see a single-lane overpass installed, connecting traffic travelling on the New England Highway from Toowoomba to the Cunningham Highway toward Warwick.

The development is expected to support 50 local jobs while under construction.

Many readers quickly complained about the highly-awaited progress.

“Waste of money. Not a thing wrong if drivers took care and weren’t so bloody impatient,” Collin Chevalley said.

$4 MILLION GALLERY UPGRADE

It would be a massive long-term boost to the Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery’s safety and collection but not everyone is behind this development.

Councillors in January voted on a range of options for a revamp to the Weerona Park site, including a minimal $250,000 upgrade, a ‘modest’ $1.5 million grade, the recommended $4 million expansion, or a new site costing $12 million.

The $4 million option was narrowly voted in after fierce debate.

Readers also used social media to share their opinions that the money should go toward more pertinent issues.

“What about water, more important,” Kerry A. Perett said.

SERVICE STATION AND FAST FOOD OUTLET

Three pre-existing homes were removed to make way for this ongoing site.

A 200sq m fuel station on the corner of Albion and Percy Sts was approved in 2019 but construction only started last year.

Many residents said they were fed up with an influx of service stations and disappointed by the news.

“Just what we really needed another bloody servo. Money should be going towards investing in a water pipeline … Warwick needs water security,” Jacquie Wenmoth said.

“We used to be a town with pubs everywhere who’d have thought that would change to garages,” Tom Brown added.

MARYVALE PARKLAND

While residents east of Warwick desperately wanted progress on the Maryvale Railway Reserve, there was one feature in the $3.98 million that drew ire.

Plans to kickstart progress on the highly-anticipated revamp included a small community building, significant road upgrades, a railway playground and a pathway for cyclists and pedestrians.

But it was the submission’s proposal for seven caravan spots that had several community members up in arms.

Resident Belinda Peel would be a neighbour to the short-term stay spot and said the plan would ruin the “slow-growing, quiet community”.

Rhonda Badby said attention should be focused on medical facilities over “big-city” developments instead.

At the stage, no money is allocated in the 2020/21 SDRC budget toward the project.

ALEXANDRA Dr SERVO

It seems service stations are a hated topic in our community with another causing widespread debate in December.

Southern Downs Regional Council locked horns with developers CivTech over the potentially huge infrastructure costs of the 9 Alexandra Dr’s approved plans.

CivTech proposed SDRC subsidise and waive the site’s rates for at least five years to offset a major water main realignment.

SDRC firmly opposed the developer’s requests.

“I don’t think there’s reason to cut corners or cross our fingers and hope something goes wrong with underground infrastructure,” councillor Stephen Tancred said at the time.

CivTech is yet to indicate a timeline for the development.

BOTANICAL GARDENS

A $47 million price tag for Stanthorpe Botanical Gardens shocked by readers and councillors in October.

The eight-staged proposal would include a cultural precinct, cultural building, village green, Jean Harslett Wetlands, event precinct, indigenous story gardens, community hub, and Anzac memorial gardens.

But councillors were hesitant to move forward without community consultation.

“There is a huge budget implication to us. It’s a lot of money, it’s a whole heap of money and as I’ve said in these chambers before – is it our core business and should we be focusing on it?” Mayor Vic Pennisi said.

NEW GLENNIE HEIGHTS CHURCH
They say religion is a taboo topic and in the case of developments, this is even more pertinent advice.

Many readers were shocked to see the approved plan of a 51—53 Hawker Rd worship hall.

The application was placed by Warwick Gospel Hall Trust No. 2, a Plymouth Brethren Christian Church organisation.

The organisation was formerly known as the Exclusive Brethren.

Readers again said they were frustrated by a lack of diversity in works.

“What about entertainment for the young ones?! Maybe give them something to do instead of nasty stuff?! We have enough churches,” Marg Taylor said.

“Cause the joint didn’t have enough churches,” Jesse Main added.

SALEYARDS DEBATE WAGES ON

One of the most contentious developments is a discussion over Warwick Saleyards upgrade.

Since the release of Wiley’s masterplan for a new site in 2020, SDRC has been deciding whether to renovate, replace, or completely relocate the McEvoy yards.

Debate has so far waged between necessity and focusing on water-related spendings.

“Money would be better spent on water without that there are no sale yards or town,” reader Jillanne Watson said.

“To do nothing generally results in going backwards. The current site has outlived its efficient use and the increased needs of OHS and animal welfare (cover from elements),” former Southern Downs councillor Rod Kelly wrote.

Facing alleged councillor conflicts and widespread public opinion, the Warwick Saleyards business case, including financials, is expected to go before SDRC later this month.

TRUCKING ROAD PLAN

A controversial road upgrade that would benefit the Warwick trucking industry was voted down by Southern Downs Regional Council in December.

The East St development was meant to create a new route for B-double and heavy vehicles to reach the industrial estate, including constructing an unformed section of road.

The decision to halt plans was moved by Cr Andrew Gale who was reminded of opposed community consultation in 2017 and 2018/19.

“I remember it quite clearly. There was considerable angst in relation to this being a route for heavy vehicles,” he said.

ST MARY’S SERVO

For lovers of history, this demolition was particularly contested.

NRG Services developer lodged plans to build a controversial 3151sq m Mobil service station on St Mary’s former squash and tennis courts.

The decision was initially deferred by Southern Downs councillors due to a dispute, but later approved in an almost unanimous council decision, after the developer revised road safety factors.

Adamant objectors Ruth and Peter Friis claimed it would cause distress for their Guy St and Acacia Ave tenants and potentially pose significant health risks.

But as of this week, this site is fully demolished as development paves on.



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