By Jeremy Sollars
Southern Downs councillors have deferred a final decision on a proposed service station at the corner of Guy and Wood Streets in Warwick until a special meeting scheduled for Friday of this week.
Residents have put forward mixed views on an application by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba for a 24-7 service station to re-develop the site of the St Mary’s Tennis Pavilion and squash courts.
At their May general meeting held today – Wednesday 27 May – a number of councillors raised concerns about the plan, primarily relating to traffic and safety.
Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley said he is “very, very concerned” about the potential for motorists to “rat-run” down Acacia Avenue and around the block back to Wood Street to access the servo if they miss the entry.
Entry to the servo is proposed to be off Wood Street and exit on Guy Street.
Cr Bartley said his concerns relate to the busy nature of Acacia Avenue and its proximity to both St Mary’s School and the parking area at the back of St Mary’s Catholic Church.
Cr Andrew Gale said he has concerns about queuing of traffic on Guy Street where exits from the service station are proposed, while Cr Cynthia McDonald said the Wood/Guy Street intersection is an identified traffic “black spot” in Warwick.
Cr Sheryl Windle said there is only one other service station in the Warwick area on the left of the highway through town and the new servo would be convenient for travellers and visitors in particular.
Council officers have been tasked with reviewing a range of traffic conditions following today’s council meeting and the service station application will be on the agenda of a special council meeting this Friday 29 May.
Officers noted that the Department of Transport and Main Roads have approved the access arrangements and that the council has a statutory timeframe to make a final decision on the proposal, with Friday the latest a decision can be made.
The officers also pointed out that developers can legally challenge conditions on any approval imposed by councils and that councillors must be prepared to defend conditions in court or through lengthy negotiations if they choose to vary conditions proposed by council officers.