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to the People of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland from Glasshouse to
Kenilworth and west to Peachester.

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Traffic jam sends
message to locals

by Cameron Outridge

Protestors arranged a deliberate traffic jam outside the proposed Maleny Woolworths supermarket site on Wednesday.  They said it was to give locals a taste of the future.

Fellow protestors were instructed to turn right into the controversial site on the banks of Obi Obi Creek to mimic expected traffic movements and delays when the supermarket opens.  At times dozens of cars in each direction were held up. Despite the wait, many motorists honked their horns in support.

“This is what is going to happen.  This is what it will be like if this goes ahead,” organiser Lindsay Kruger said. 

However, the Planning and Environment Court last year was not so sceptical.

The future?  The demonstration caused some delays.

The Court accepted that estimated turning volumes into the site would be “quite small”.  Developers, Cornerstone Properties, estimated that at predicted peak times in the year 2012, 58 vehicles per hour would enter the site – or less than one a minute. 

“We don’t accept those figures,’’ said Mr Kruger.  “What they say will happen and what actually happens – in Buderim for example – are often two different things.”

Marchers lined the streets as the cars backed up.

The Court approved a two car protected right turn treatment for people entering the supermarket from the Landsborough side.  The Court also acknowledged that a right hand turn treatment was required for cars turning into Lawyer Street because of the adverse impact this would have on right hand turns into Lawyer Street.

Bill Bowden, a former independent supermarket owner from Brendale near Brisbane, said Woolworths had 110 car parks and they were going to employ 105 staff.  “Where are all the staff going to park?” he asked.  “It won’t work.   Plus people can’t turn right to get out of the supermarket.”

Mr Bowden envisaged cars would have to loop around Lawyer street to get back into town after exiting the supermarket.  The protest attracted the vocal support of marchers and people in cars but also had it detractors.   One businessperson in town was not impressed.  “They said the same thing about the Riverside Centre,’’ he said. “And there’s no traffic chaos now.” Another businessperson was upset that her clients had been held up coming in to town. “They were not happy,’’ she said.

Richard Mohan, centre with daughter Agnes, points out the trouble spot whilst talking to Joe Colreavy.

“They had an important meeting.”  Meanwhile Joe Colreavy said protestors were planning to cause chaos at a Coast Woolworths store.  “In the busiest time we plan to bus hundreds of people to a Woolworths supermarket.    Each person will buy one small article.   Now, it’s Woolies policy that if you’re not completely satisfied you can return your item.  So we’ll reassemble and then go back through and ask for a refund.   Every one of us.    There will be paper work involved.   It will hold them up for hours.”

Our thanks once again to Cameron & Tanya Outridge
of the Range News Newspaper for this story.