AFTER several months of battling community pushback, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) has confirmed that the proposed site of the new Cannonvale Fire Station, on the corner of McArthur Drive and Banksia Court, has been approved.
Notification for the proposed fire station initially commenced on Wednesday, September 28, with a sign placed on the land advising how submissions can be made.
QFES also held an Open Day, at the Jubilee Pocket fire station, on November 12, where they offered a plethora of information about the proposed fire station and welcomed residents’ feedback.
Since then, neighbouring residents have held community meetings and launched a petition against the station, citing negative impact upon the current housing crisis, heavy traffic, noise, and light impacts on neighbouring residential dwellings; and lack of community consultation by QFES.
Member for Whitsundays Amanda Camm MP previously spoke out against the station and in support of community concerns over noise and light impacts on surrounding residents.
Ms Camm also criticised the consultation period, saying that the Queensland Labour government didn’t take community input seriously.
“Towards the end of the year, it had become apparent that the government and its Ministers had become arrogant and were no longer listening to the people,” Ms Camm said.
“Community consultation had become just a box-ticking exercise.”
Banksia Court resident Phillip Smailes led the charge against the fire station location and is now feeling rather defeated.
“I don’t think there’s much more we can do when the council aren’t really concerned about it,” Mr Smailes said.
“This is the problem with having councillors who don’t live in the area.”
The petition against the station, which had the full support of Amanda Camm, received 128 signatures.
“That didn’t carry much weight,” Mr Smailes said. “People around here (Banksia Court and McArthur drive) aren’t really happy about it, but the petition didn’t get enough signatures. It is a shame, but it’s basically lost, I suppose.”
Division Four Councillor Michelle Wright has been previously vocal in her position that council should not delay the process of the fire station any further, pointing out that neighbouring towns, including Bowen, Collinsville and Proserpine, all have fire stations in residential areas.
“It’s going to supply a greater service for the community in that area, so I definitely support anything that’s going to help people, families and their property – it’s got to be a good thing,” Cr Wright said. “It’s there to protect and support the community, it’s an essential service and it’s a necessary part of the community. We (Whitsunday Regional Council) have had a few meetings where we’ve opened the doors for the public to discuss this, we have had meetings with members of the public who had concerns.”