Mayor Margaret Strelow
Mayor Margaret Strelow Chris Ison

Mayor speaks on cafe debacle

I HAVE tried to avoid publicity about my takeaway as much as possible - but it seems that that has been interpreted as a licence for innuendo and allegation.

Unfortunately, my simple desire to run a business (that has community service as its motive instead of profit) has become an ugly shadow of its true self in the imagination of a handful of people.

My original application for a takeaway and neighbourhood centre (which would be a meeting place for all of the local community) was approved by council after the elected members asked for expert external advice.

I have no answer that makes sense to me for why the council's own planners had not recommended its approval in the first place.

I have not had the discussion with them - and will not.

I guess I just have to take the word of a very highly respected planner who told me that we have some good people in our planning department at Rockhampton Regional Council ... just that this was "not their finest hour".

Four people decided to appeal the decision. The judge never got as far as looking at the case because there were flaws in the way I had done the original advertising.

He was convinced by the other side that there may have been some people who didn't know about the application (!) and so he asked me to do the advertising again and take the application back to the council for a new decision.

In the interim, I had been elected mayor.

It was a difficult decision - but I decided to scale back the application and ask for council approval for only the takeaway portion ... which is "as of right" in this zone.

The matter is now over.

Any further allegations should be referred to the appropriate authority for a full investigation.

If those making allegations are not willing to subject their charges to this process, I ask the community to judge them accordingly.

A notice in the window of Margaret Strelow's Chatroom Cafe.
A notice in the window of Margaret Strelow's Chatroom Cafe. Allan Reinikka


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