NOT SHUT: The Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre’s cafe and function rooms will reopen according to council, as it faces backlash for its decision to temporarily close them.
NOT SHUT: The Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre’s cafe and function rooms will reopen according to council, as it faces backlash for its decision to temporarily close them.

Petition launched to save popular Gatton cafe

THE decision by council to close its popular local cafe has sparked outrage among the community, with a petition launched calling for the decision to be reversed.

The Lockyer Valley Regional Council made the decision to cease operations at its Staging Post Cafe in Gatton, in a closed meeting on Friday.

The council claimed the decision would ensure the council-owned business did not compete with local private businesses struggling to get back on their feet as restrictions began to ease.

Initially, a decision on the cafe's ultimate fate was to be made at a later date.

READ MORE: Four major Lockyer Valley events cancelled for 2020

Community members claim the council has already begun "decommissioning" the cafe, but the council has now pledged it will re-open in the future.

The decision sparked backlash on social media, and a frequent customer at the cafe even started a petition demanding the council reverse its call.

Mr Trammell, who request his first name not be used, said his family regularly visited the cafe and said it was an important local facility.

"Every day we're not at work, we're down walking the dogs or exercising around the lake … and then we'll go for breakfast at the cafe," Mr Trammell said.

"So many people use the lake … you get so many different types of people go there, whether they're exercising or taking the kids to the park."

READ MORE: Cafe and conference centre closed by council

The cafe forms part of the Lockyer Valley Function Centre, which was also closed at the same meeting.

Mr Trammell said the business serviced an area where there were limited cafes and restaurants.

"There's nothing else on that side of town. All the businesses over that side of town use it for lunch," he said.

While the council had said a permanent decision was yet to be made, Mr Trammell claimed work had already begun to shut it down for good.

"I heard yesterday from someone who's in the loop a little bit that they're already decommissioning it all and emptying it all out," he said.

He also took umbrage at the lack of consultation with the community before the decision was made.

"I think there should have definitely been a lot more consultation with the public," he said.

"To just turn around and say no we're not going to reopen it, I think that's really poor on the council's behalf."

READ MORE: Mayor hopeful for region's quick recovery

Lockyer Valley Region Council was contacted for comment but did not directly address the claim a "decommissioning" process had already begun.

The council instead directed the Gatton Star to a release in its Valley Voice publication.

Deputy Mayor Jason Cook pledged the function centre and cafe would reopen in the future and council would "consider options" for the operation and management of the cafe and function rooms.

"This will be following a review of the cafe's operating model, and at a time when local cafes have had ample time to recover from COVID-19 restrictions," Cr Cook said.

"We understand the cafe and function rooms hold fond memories and are an important meeting place for residents and visitors of the Lockyer Valley.

"We will keep the community informed on plans to reopen, once the review is finalised."

Anyone wishing to sign Mr Trammell's petition can do so HERE.


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