By Jeremy Sollars
Business owners and residents opposing the building of a new Bunnings outlet on the Condamine River flood plain in Warwick are vowing to press ahead with a legal fight against the hardware giant and Southern Downs Regional Council.
The council approved a new Bunnings store on vacant land at the corner of Condamine and Canning streets – behind KFC – in late 2016, and many surrounding landowners feared that the huge building will worsen future flooding in Warwick.
Real estate agent Helen Harm, who has been one of the key objectors to the proposal, believes many people do not realise the building would effectively be “a 3.8 metre high island in the middle of the flood plain”.
Bunnings plans to move extensive fill onto the site to construct the building on, which Mrs Harm and others believe would significantly increase the flow of water in the event of a major flood.
They are also concerned about truck movements to and from the site in the vicinity of Warwick East State School.
The council negotiated a series of conditions of approval with Bunnings – none of which were about the use or placement of fill on the site – relating to setbacks, landscaping and other issues.
The Free Times incorrectly reported on 2 February that the council had backed down on requirements for the new Bunnings to be set back six metres from Condamine Street and three metres from Canning Street, that the building height be capped at 9.5 metres and a reduction of the floor area by 177 square metres.
Mayor Tracy Dobie has said these requirements will remain in place, along with landscaping along both street frontages.
Mrs Harm said a legal appeal against Bunnings would be filed in the Planning and Environment Court of Queensland next week by herself and co-objectors.
“A lot of people seem to think Bunnings will be on pylons and there will be car parking underneath,” she told the Free Times.
“This is not the case – this will be a massive island in the river flood plain and we will fight this as long as it takes for Bunnings to recognise that an island is going to be detrimental to flooding.
“It will set a precedent and there will be island after island after island going into the future.”
Mrs Harm said she and other objectors had engaged the services of a specialist town planning lawyer to lodge the court appeal on their behalf and would provide further community updates about the progress of the legal action.
A spokeswoman for Bunnings told the Free Times they expected to start work on the site “around the middle of 2017”.