Wed­ding to close Quay St

Ho­tel irate at coun­cil over pri­vate func­tion ap­proval

The Morning Bulletin - - NEWS - Kerri-Anne Mes­ner kerri-anne.mes­ner@cap­

A WED­DING is meant to be a happy oc­ca­sion, but one wed­ding to take place on Rock­hamp­ton’s river­bank has caused some peo­ple’s blood to boil.

The wed­ding, on Septem­ber 30 on the re­de­vel­oped river­bank be­tween Fitzroy and Den­ham Sts, will lead to the clo­sure of that sec­tion of road for 38 hours af­ter Rock­hamp­ton Re­gional Coun­cil ap­proved a re­quest for the clo­sure from the wed­ding party.

Leigh Turn­bull said The Cri­te­rion Ho­tel owned by his fam­ily and run by his son Ryan would be im­pacted.

Mr Turn­bull said the busi­ness was im­pacted when Quay St was closed for other events like the Capri­corn Food and Wine Fes­ti­val, but the out­rage here was about it be­ing closed for a pri­vate event for 150 peo­ple ver­sus thou­sands.

“The lu­di­crous­ness of the coun­cil ... af­ter spend­ing $40 mil­lion to re­de­velop the River­bank and then to close it off to all traf­fic for a pri­vate wed­ding,” he said.

“That’s grand fi­nal time. There will be peo­ple ev­ery­where.”

Rock­hamp­ton Mayor Mar­garet Strelow, when re­spond­ing to the com­plaint, pointed out the Capri­corn Food and Wine Fes­ti­val was also a pri­vate event.

“(The) coun­cil re­ally strug­gled with mak­ing the de­ci­sion to al­low this once-off street clo­sure for a pri­vate event,” she said.

“It is the wed­ding of one of the fam­i­lies who are long­time prop­erty own­ers in Quay St.

“The ap­proval has been con­di­tioned to re­quire public pedes­trian ac­cess. We wish the bride and groom all the best.”

Mr Turn­bull said his son only found out about the clo­sure on Fri­day af­ter a note from the wed­ding party was dropped off.

The clo­sure will be from 7pm on Septem­ber 29 to 8am on Oc­to­ber 1, which is the last week­end of school hol­i­days.

Mr Turn­bull said af­ter mak­ing in­quiries, the ho­tel found out po­lice (who usu­ally were con­sulted about road clo­sures) were not in­volved, just Rock­hamp­ton Re­gional Coun­cil.

He said there was no con­sul­ta­tion, and no public no­ti­fi­ca­tion from the coun­cil about the clo­sure.

The coun­cil is­sued a road clo­sure no­tice af­ter The Morn­ing Bul­letin con­tacted the or­gan­i­sa­tion about the is­sue on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

“(The) coun­cil would not an­tic­i­pate that this would be a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence,” Cr Strelow said.

“Of course many of these prob­lems will be re­duced once Rod Laver Plaza on the lower bank of the river is com­pleted.

“We are also mind­ful that from time to time other prop­er­ties ask per­mis­sion to close the street for pri­vate func­tions, es­pe­cially around ho­tels and cafes (New Year, mar­kets and sim­i­lar cel­e­bra­tions) and (the) coun­cil tries to ac­com­mo­date them as much as pos­si­ble.”

Fol­low­ers of The Cri’s Face­book page com­mented on the clo­sure af­ter the ho­tel shared the coun­cil’s road clo­sure an­nounce­ment.

“That’s ridicu­lous that a public road could be closed for a pri­vate event. So what bigshot is get­ting the special treat­ment?” Andy Bernard posted.

Jean Holmes posted “So on a busy long week­end they are clos­ing off a ma­jor at­trac­tion (our re­vi­talised river bank) and re­strict­ing ac­cess and park­ing for lo­cal busi­nesses for a pri­vate func­tion. I agree not on.”

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