Council crackdown on marquees leaves restaurant on brink
A HARDLINE approach by Toowoomba Regional Council to a simple white marquee has left a popular Toowoomba restaurant on the brink of closure.
Council recently cracked down on Weis Restaurant for an unapproved marquee that it had been using for weddings and other functions for more than 12 months.
The restaurant owners were told to get appropriate approval.
Yesterday, after following the necessary process, Weis Restaurant's application to use the tent permanently was rejected due to noise and neighbourhood overlay concerns.
Six of 11 councillors supported a recommendation that the application be rejected.
A push to have the decision deferred until next year was also defeated.
The ultimate fate of the marquee will be decided at the council's ordinary meeting next Tuesday.
Planning and development committee chairman Cr Bill Cahill said there had been a show cause notice for the marquee for some time.
"It's been an illegal activity for 12 months.
"Council did the right thing today.
"As a councillor, you need to be able to accept the facts of the report without fear or favour."
Cr Geoff McDonald was in favour of the application.
"The discussion and debate at the committee meeting today indicates that next week's ordinary meeting of council will see a close vote on whether to agree with council officers' recommendation to refuse the application," he said.
The company Pohlmans owns Weis Restaurant and its chief operating officer Ross Cronin said he was disappointed with council's decision.
"I'm shocked by the result, we're putting up a beautiful asset for the community that will generate income and employ people and they voted against it," he said.
"The viability of the restaurant is threatened by this result.
"The wedding market is after something innovative like what we have.
"We have the only air-conditioned marquee in Toowoomba.
"It's silk lined, has chandeliers and is a beautiful marquee set amongst pristine gardens.
"The restaurant business is tough and we're in the process of making some changes at Weis Restaurant.
"We have to move with the times and one of those things is the marquee.
"Without something like that it makes business difficult."
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Weis Restaurant owner John Pohlman said the two main issues of noise and neighbourhood overlay had been addressed.
"We covered the noise issue and ticked all the boxes in our massive application which has cost us in excess of $50,000," he said.
"We had a noise consultant up there and we constantly monitor the noise levels.
"The other was heritage overlay.
"If you go up the street in a few months' time you're going to see a big development, a stone's throw from Weis.
"Many people objected to that while only two people objected to our application."
He said most of the arguments from the council staff were subjective.