New pub, restaurant planned for popular tourist destination

KNOWN best as an ice-cream and sunscreen pit stop destination, an ionic Somerset Dam business will evolve into an up-market restaurant and tavern.

The Dam Shed, on the bank of picturesque Somerset Dam, has been a fixture at the popular tourist destination since 2015 but the owners have grand plans to turn the family business into something else.

The plans include a restaurant venue and licenced bar that will sell food drinks as well as take-away liquor and entertainment.

The development is planned to cash in families and holiday makers staying at the holiday park or holiday houses in the village.

More than 130 people signed a petition in favour of the business expansion and 15 signed a petition against the plans.

Development application documents before Somerset Regional Council show parking is already a challenge at the dam village, and business owners often have to ask holiday makers to move their cars from unsafe places.

"The village was developed and built in a different era when regulation and compliance were not as robust as current standards. Parking in Guldbransen St can be a problem," the application reads.

"The introduction of a new Bed and Breakfast facility and the letting of houses has contributed to this issue. The street is regularly overloaded with visitor cars that have nothing to do with the commercial premises and the applicant often asks street visitors to move their vehicles so that customers can park safely at the commercial premises."

The owners plan to provide seven onsite car parking spaces, one disabled space and six motorbike spaces. 

They need to find another four spaces to meet conditions under the Somerset Regional Planning Scheme.

Somerset Regional Council this month approved the development allocation in the popular Somerset Dam Village.

Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said the dam was one of the big tourist drawcards and the third-most visited Seqwater recreation site.

"It was inevitable that someone was going to invest in a tavern for Somerset Dam with its obvious attractions and we noted the applicant's point that the village is around 25km from existing licenced premises at Kilcoy, Esk and Toogoolawah," he said.

The Haynes family bought the business in 2015 with plans to expand into a hotel and tavern style offering.

Alan and Christine, together with son Steven, have been the expansion for months with plans to make the most of school holidays, tourists, grey nomads, family day trippers, long weekends and the peak season from Spring to Autumn.

The Haynes family are among the 54 permanent residents who call Somerset Dam Village home.

"When we bought the shop we thought this would be a really good place to put a family style tavern," Steven said.

"It's always been the plan."

Steven said the business would still sell snacks, fuel and takeaways but the tavern would run alongside.

"We are keeping those things but adding to the business," he said.

"We are focused on being a really family orientated venue who are coming to play sports and that type of thing.

"We just want to help the whole community out here."



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