Controversy and confusion over plan to rename street
A LOCAL council is being forced to reconsider its plan to rename a road, following overwhelming objections from locals.
In late October, Somerset Regional Council called for feedback for its plan to rename Gardner Street South in Toogoolawah to Dumbirrbi Lane.
The purpose of the rename was to remove confusion caused by similarly-named roads in town.
It also aimed to simplify the situation for travellers and tourists who were looking to locate the town's recreational vehicle park, accessible from Gardner Street North.
By the due date, 26 responses were received by council, with all but one being objections.
The issue raised an unexpected level of confusion and controversy, with many people evidently misunderstanding the plan.
"Although council's public notice stated clearly that the proposal was to rename only Gardner Street South, the content of many of the objections indicates a perception that Council is proposing to rename both Gardner Street South and North," Acting Director of Operations Tony Jacobs said in his report.
Both Gardner Street North and Gardners Bridge would retain the historic family name.
"Objectors expressed concerns with both the proposed removal of an historically significant name from a named roadway, as well as the appropriateness and likely denigration of the proposed name Dumbirrbi," Mr Jacobs said.
Somerset Councillors were surprised by the level of backlash to the simple plan.
"I can't remember an issue like this attracting so much interest and attention. It's been quite divisive," Councillor Sean Choat said.
"We'd do well to listen to that community feedback, and learn from this. We got so fixated on one problem that we didn't consider other ways of dealing with it."
Council resolved to defer the issue until a later time, while further community feedback was sought and considered.