NO CONCESSIONS: Roundabout Tours co-owner and driver Clive Sandison is running out of options to keep his business in Gympie.
NO CONCESSIONS: Roundabout Tours co-owner and driver Clive Sandison is running out of options to keep his business in Gympie. Jacob Carson

Is this the last stop for Roundabout Tours?

A POPULAR coach and tour business in Gympie has been given to the end of the year to shut its doors and move on following a zoning dispute.

The co-owners of Roundabout Tours, which has been operating in town for nearly 10 years, said the news came as a shock.

"According to what we've been told from (the) council, this all started when somebody made a complaint about our coaches," said business co-owner and driver Clive Sandison.

"We've never had any major problems with our business before this," Clive Sandison says.

Roundabout Tours is based at the home of Clive and wife Kathy, and the criticism is that the business operates in a residential area.

The Sandisons have lived at the property for nearly 40 years, and are dismayed at the idea of leaving their family home.

"As it was explained to me, we have to run our business from a designated transit zone," Mr Sandison says.

"But as far as I know no such zone actually exists here in Gympie, and it would cost tens of thousands of dollars to change - money we don't have," he says.

The services Roundabout provides are popular with local community groups and schools, and retiree and seniors organisations.

Having recently spent $300,000 to expand their fleet, Mr Sandison says it would be impractical on several levels to uproot his business.

"Aside from the cost we have a life here, we have family - it's not just a question of moving to another shire," he says.

"I'm nearly 70 too; realistically I'm only going to be driving for a few more years."

Attempts by the business to negotiate with the council had been unsuccessful.

The Sandisons have been given until December 31 to close and find another place to house their business.

According to Mayor Mick Curran, the date for the Sandisons to move their business was originally earlier in the year, but had been pushed back to allow Mr Sandison to find a suitable alternative.

"It is clear here that the surrounding neighbours are not happy with this business being run in a residential area," Mayor Curran says.

"We have to listen to the complaints of our residents and balance up their rights with our support of local business."

Few facilities in town can accommodate the larger coaches in the Roundabout fleet.

"We really don't have a lot of options left," Mr Sandison says.

"We're running out of time," he said.

Gympie Times


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