BAUPLE: Residents say 'bring back the business climate'
LOOKING out past their iconic Nutmobile, Marc Bromet and his daughter Yolande remember the days when Bauple, the original home of Australia's Macadamia Nut, was thriving.
The old Macadamia House - which once housed a popular RV site for campers, a fuel station, cafe, grocery store and even a post office - won a regional tourism award from the Fraser Coast Regional Council in 2012.
But today, there's nothing but silence.
The store was forced to close in 2012 from what Mr Bromet calls "ongoing issues" with the council lease, including the scaling back of the free RV site that brought in backpackers and travellers.
"We made representations to council and to councillors about it," he said.
"There used to be 90 kids at the local school, now it's dropped to 30. We need more customers, not more commercial buildings.
"Before the lease was put into place, the town was sustainable. After it was put into place, it's no longer."
They describe their extensive consultation with council over the years, with community plans, petitions, lobbying to council "failing to go through". For the pair, it's always been about keeping the town alive.
Yolande said the town "deserves so much more than what's given to them."
"There are really good people in this community," she said.
A recent report tabled by the Fraser Coast Regional Council on December 1 outlined the potential economic and community development options available to the people of Bauple.
The report included liasings with the State and Federal Governments to establish the town back on the map, including methods of "proclaiming itself as the original source of the Bauple/Macadamia Nut."
But the Bromets dispute parts of the report.
"The word 'options' does not even appear in the index - I would be very sceptical of the report, given the committee hasn't answered what council directed them to provide," Mr Bromet said.
"The elephant in the room is the business climate that council has removed from Bauple, it's as simple as that. This report does not deal with it.
"Regarding the RV site, it doesn't provide you with options, and it doesn't tell you where the RVs are supposed to go."
Despite their criticisms, the Bromets insist they're not trying to be negative, and are acting in the interests of the broader community.
But they still have concerns with the economic climate in town, especially with time running out to market the town as the 'home of the original macadamia nut.'
"We're not negative; it's the business climate that has always remained the issue," Mr Bromet said.
"The business climate needs to return - we need to do it urgently.
"If anyone wants to challenge it, they should come into town and see it; there are businesses available, but no customers."
"We need more customers, not commercial buildings."