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UNDER THREAT: Motocross park fighting for life

ONGOING BATTLE: Gap Creek Farm's   Ben and Matt Window have started a GoFundMe campaign to try to save the family business.
ONGOING BATTLE: Gap Creek Farm's Ben and Matt Window have started a GoFundMe campaign to try to save the family business. Elyse Wurm

A MAJOR Southern Downs tourist attraction drawing thousands to the region could be closed in a week.

Gap Creek Farm is scrambling to raise funds for roadworks outside the business after being given a firm ultimatum by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Gap Creek Farm co-owner Ben Window said the business had been engaged in a battle with the department for more than a year, over the installation of a turning lane and reconstruction of a 120-metre portion of the Cunningham Highway.

The family business has been operating since 2013 and Mr Window said a condition of the development was they were required to insert a turning lane, which they agreed to do.

"We want one. We think it's a good, safe way to get people onto the property," he said.

Mr Window said after Main Roads approved the design for the new lane about six months ago, it then requested the business to do testing on the shoulder of the highway to assess its strength.

The business reportedly spent about $80,000 on testing and associated costs such as traffic control measures and Mr Window said engineers deemed the road safe.

But the department was not satisfied with the results, according to Mr Window, and ultimately determined the road must be updated at Gap Creek Farm's expense.

The cost of reconstruction of the road and the new turning lane has been estimated at about $170,000.

Ben and Matt Window from Gap Creek Farm.
Ben and Matt Window from Gap Creek Farm. Elyse Wurm

Mr Window said the business had also been told it could pay a $200,000 bond to the department to complete the work.

Mr Window said the business was told if it did not come up with the funds by next Wednesday, the entrance to their business would be blocked.

"After a year of dealing with Main Roads we're feeling pretty despondent about it because we've had our hopes up that we would have achieved the turning lane months ago," he said.

A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $3000 for the park.

 

Gap Creek Farm co-owners and managing directors Ben and Matt Window have started a GoFundMe campaign to try and save their family business.
Gap Creek Farm co-owners and managing directors Ben and Matt Window have started a GoFundMe campaign to try and save their family business. Elyse Wurm

A Main Roads spokesman said businesses were expected to comply with development planning permit conditions.

"Increasing traffic entering and leaving Gap Creek Moto means it must ensure the safety of all road users on this section of the Cunningham Highway,'' he said.

Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said improving access to the park was part of the development approval and the council had been patient with the business.

According to the council minutes from the August general meeting, the council resolved to take action against Gap Creek Farm for non-compliance with the development approval.

"While it is regrettable for them from a commercial perspective it is a safety issue," Cr Dobie said.

To make a contribution to Gap Creek, visit gofundme.com.

Topics:  department of transport and main roads gap creek farm motocross road works southern downs regional council



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