By Jeremy Sollars
Plans for a new 24/7 service station on the site of the St Mary’s Tennis Pavilion and squash courts at the intersection of Wood and Guy Streets in Warwick have been approved at a special council meeting held earlier today, Friday 29 May.
Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley and Councillor Cynthia McDonald voted against the approval after a debate over a variety of concerns first raised at the May general council meeting on Wednesday, where the final vote was deferred until today.
The majority of councillors voted in favour of several amendments to the approval – with the exception of Cr McDonald – including additional signage to direct traffic and speed bumps to slow vehicles exiting the service station on Guy Street.
The applicant is the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba which owns the tennis and squash courts and associated buildings, which have been approved for demolition. No timeframe has been given for commencement of construction of the service station, with council approvals valid for four years.
Cr Bartley expressed concern over the loss to the community of three car parks on Guy Street if the plan proceeds and suggested the applicant compensate the council financially but no amendment was made to that effect.
Likewise Cr Andrew Gale proposed a “channelised left turn” or slip lane on Wood Street to access the entry to the service station but this was not adopted, with council officers advising Wood Street is a highway under the control of the Department of Transport and Main Roads which had approved the design as it stands.
Cr McDonald said additional representations made to council by an adjoining landowner – who objected to the original application – and received since Wednesday should be considered but officers advised it was received outside the statutory timeframe for objections. The landowner had raised concerns about the impact of vehicles, noise and fumes on residential property they own nearby.
Comparisons have been made with the approval of the Caltex/Woolworths service station at the intersection of Albion and Grafton Streets, where changes to vehicle access were made after its approval due to concerns over vehicle movements and traffic queuing.