News

Store's closure is a bad sign for Somerset Dam, say owners

DOORS CLOSED: Former Somerset Dam General Store owners Taff and Deb Courtney.
DOORS CLOSED: Former Somerset Dam General Store owners Taff and Deb Courtney. Kate Czerny

SOMERSET Dam - a place long-regarded as a tourist destination for fishing, water sports and beautiful scenery - is in danger of becoming a "ghost town".

That is the concern of former Somerset Dam General Store owners Taff and Deb Courtney who have had to close the doors on their 58-year-old business.

Mrs Courtney said the store had long been an integral part of the community, and provided locals and tourists with groceries, fuel and a postal service.

"If residents want to collect their mail now, they will have to travel more than 30km to Esk or Toogoolawah," she said.

The grandmother said declining tourist numbers and increased rent and bills were some of the factors which forced the store's closure.

She said a food van permit had been granted by the Somerset Council and Seqwater, which had negatively impacted the business.

ALSO MAKING HEADLINES TODAY ...

Men to face penalty for kidnap and horrific abuse of victim

59-year-old hurt in explosion at Flinders View residence

QT's name and shame: This week's drink drivers

"We were a seasonal business and relied on the holiday trading to see us through the year. But those were the times when the food van operated," she said.

Mrs Courtney said the campsite near the store had also seen a seasonal low last Christmas with about a dozen campers visiting the site.

She said the campground had recently been granted a 30-year private lease which would see it turned into "another expensive commercial enterprise".

She said the land had previously been granted to the public for free access and used to attract a large number of tourists.

Mrs Courtney said the community was in dire need of more support from local government as well as Seqwater if it was to survive.

"We need these bureaucrats to take more of an interest in small country towns like this, otherwise they may not be here one day," she said.

"At the moment, Somerset Dam village now has no sewerage, no postal service, no mobile coverage and no community shop."

Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said he was disappointed to learn the store had closed but wanted to assure Somerset Dam residents the town had certainly not been forgotten.

Cr Lehmann said the council had been working hard to promote tourism in the area and Somerset Dam was one of the region's key tourist destinations.

He said Somerset Dam had always been a nice place to live and visit and the council was keen to keep it that way.

Mr and Mrs Courtney, who ran the store for the past three years, said they planned to return to the Sunshine Coast where they once lived. They said they were unsure what would become of the former store.

ALSO MAKING HEADLINES TODAY ...

1955 Holden FJ stands out at Show 'n' Shine charity cruise

Mayor on Monday: Great initiative on jobs

Topics:  mayor graeme lehmann, somerset dam




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Delays in Korean student murder case

Murder victim Eunji Ban was found in a Brisbane park early Sunday morning.

Murder accused still "unwell" according to lawyer

Dog attack victim was trying to save chicken

A photo of a dog barking for a story about problem dogs barking in Ipswich neighbourhoods. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

Council officers investigating early morning incident

Latest deals and offers

Mt Crosby Road and Warrego Upgrade

The Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety Mark Bailey with Member for Ipswich...

Woman cops $12,000 water bill

Bundamba resident Sherelle Taylor receiveda water bill for more than $12,000 after a leak was found in a pipe on her property.

Bundamba resident Sherelle Taylor received a water bill for more than $12,000 after...

Free mobile washing service for homeless

The Orange Sky laundry service offers free clothes and laundry services to those in need. QUU spokesperson Michelle Cull, resident Rickie Stuart and Orange Sky service rollout co-ordinator Alek Jacoby.

The OrangeSky mobile washing van sets up in Queens Park in Ipswich every Wednesday...

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked