Council backs Mary St shutdown
GYMPIE Regional Council have defended the decision to close lower Mary St for eight hours during the Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton relay later this month, citing "security threats” among other concerns.
A council spokeswoman said considerations given to high volumes of traffic and the fact that the baton "cannot be delayed” on its way through town on Monday, March 26 were other key factors in the decision making process.
"The decision was made to close Mary Street between 6am and 2pm by Queensland Police, Main Roads and Council,” she said.
"The safety of the baton bearers, relay support staff, volunteers and spectators is paramount and due to style of parking along Mary Street and one way traffic, the risk of accidental vehicle impact was high.”
Responding to local business criticism of council's "ridiculous” decision to host a community celebration and concert at Albert Park instead of the CBD, the spokeswoman said the park was the most practical site.
"Albert Park was chosen due to the access needed to accommodate the number and size of the vehicles as part of the Queen's Baton Relay.
"Buses carrying school children will also be present and parking, space and safety needed to be considered.
"Council host events within the CBD to promote the area and increase foot traffic, such as 'Gourmet and Grooves'.
"The Queen's Baton is another opportunity to bring community into the area to witness this special event.”
Following on from criticisms by Lorraine Broadley from Gympie Toyworld and Dave Hetherington from Goodyear Jewellers, Stephen Garneys of Gympie One Stop Furniture said council had "missed an opportunity” in the CBD.
Goldburg's Outfitters owner Paul Vautier had a different view, saying he "wasn't worried” about loss of trade.
"I wouldn't say it's a major issue, but people here do have valid concerns,” Mr Vautier said.
The council spokeswoman said they will continue to negotiate with affected business owners on flexible developments.
"Council contacted local businesses once the route and roads information was confirmed.
"Council will continue to update as information comes to hand.
"Council has received feedback from residents and businesses both negative and positive regarding the Queens Baton Relay.
"[We] will continue to follow this through working towards the best possible outcome, understanding that as we work towards an outcome, not all areas of the Relay can be negotiated.”
Council previously said businesses in Mary St can "expect higher foot traffic” helped by a "free park and ride system” throughout the event.
See https://www.gympie.qld.gov.au/qbr for more information.