PROTEST: The Water 4 Life ride and protest march stretched from Heritage Rose Gardens to Queens Park, Maryborough and closed multiple roads in the area which ultimately affected some businesses.
PROTEST: The Water 4 Life ride and protest march stretched from Heritage Rose Gardens to Queens Park, Maryborough and closed multiple roads in the area which ultimately affected some businesses. Valerie Horton

Road block hurts cafe

WHEN Dan Oakhill opened the doors of his Maryborough cafe on Father's Day, he was shocked to see Richmond St was closed.

That morning, the Water 4 Life Ride had more than 100 people protesting against coal mining and fracking in Wide Bay/Burnett leading to multiple road closures.

As a result, the owner of A Spoonful of Sugar said he lost a number of booked customers who were unable to get in via an alternative route.

Fraser Coast Community Group's, Bob Shields, said the road was closed in a bid to avoid a dangerous situation.

"Because the CBD was closed down and with all the road works that were going on, people were confused with road signs and caravans and 4WD's were going down Richmond St,” he said.

"Once they got into Wharf St, they could not turn around and it was creating a bottle neck and it became dangerous so QPS (police) told us to fix it.”

And to fix it, Richmond St was closed off to traffic.

A spoonful of Sugar Cafe's owner Dan Oakhill was disappointed to be caught out by road blocks, that prevented booked patrons from getting to the cafe.
ROAD BLOCK: A Spoonful of Sugar Cafe owner Dan Oakhill was disappointed to be caught out by road blocks which prevented booked patrons from getting to the cafe. Valerie Horton

Maryborough Police Senior Sergeant Tony Cole said the protest organisers needed approval to close the requested roads as they were owned by council but the final decision was made by police who had to deliver a permit.

He said Richmond St was not one of the roads approved to be closed.

However, the permit issued stated "if it is necessary to effect, police may temporarily prohibit, or divert traffic and pedestrians as outlined on this notice”.

The time and duration of individual road closures will be determined by the Police in attendance.”

Sergeant Cole said police officers approved the last minute closing of Richmond St but it was the event's traffic controllers who monitored the area.

He said it was not always council who has to approve the closure of roads as not all roads were owned by council.

With the interest of Dan Oakhill's trade at heart, protest organisers encouraged those involved to grab a coffee at A Spoon full of Sugar.