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Roadhouse owner considers closure after ‘harassment’ from council

The owner of a remote roadhouse in NSW has said she is considering shutting up shop because of “harassment” from her local council.  

Kim Grace, who has owned and operated the Grey Gum International Cafe on the Putty Road for the past 13 years, erected some gazebos without permission from Singleton Council.  

She said the gazebos were originally covered with canvas, but after storms blew the canvas off most of them, the roofs were replaced with Colorbond steel.  

“Since I put new roofs on the gazebos, the council has classified them as ‘hexagonal structures’,” Grace explained.  

“I didn’t ask the council permission to build them, but they are not hurting anyone!” 

One of the “hexagonal structures” on the property, with a Colorbond roof.

She said the gazebos are providing much-needed shade for her customers, in an exposed rural area.  

“I said to the council, what do you want to happen?” she added. 

“Do you want truckies and motorbike riders to have to sit in 45C heat when they take a break, get heatstroke and then go back on the road?”  

Grace said she was forced to pay $7300 by the council after they discovered the gazebos on her property.  

“They made me get a $5,500 auditory report and then they charged me $1,800 to read it,” she said.  

“I asked to see the legislation explaining why I had to do that report and I never got it.”  

She she has been “extremely stressed” by her dealings with the council, to the extent that she has considered selling her property.  

“I don’t know why they are picking on me,” she said.  

“I’m a nobody in the middle of nowhere. 

“I rang a real estate agent today and said ‘Just put it on the market’.

“I don’t want to sell, but I am just so stressed by this.”

The gazebos before the canvas was damaged by bad weather. Image: Grey Gum International Cafe

Grace her business plays an important role for those travelling through the area. 

“We do Stop, Revive and Survive, and we’re a base for emergency crews and firefighters during bushfires,” she said.  

“Helicopters use my property as a landing pad if they’re called to traffic accidents on the Putty Road.  

“I provide 24/7 toilets and free overnight stop-overs, and I have a satellite phone and a defibrillator. 

“We do a really good job here. I think I’m just easy pickings for the council.”  

Singleton Council told Big Rigs that they received a development application from the Grey Gum Cafe to extend its trading hours in February 2023, with a revised application submitted in August 2023.   

A spokesperson said: “As part of the assessment of the application, Council staff inspected the site and identified a number of compliance issues, including unauthorised buildings and the management of waste and effluent that must now be addressed. 

“Council has granted an extension of time to comply with these requirements.” 

The spokesperson said that the council referred the Grey Gum Cafe’s revised application to NSW Police and Liquor and Gaming NSW at the time of lodgment, but it has yet to receive a response.  

“Council has a responsibility and a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of the community and is working with the Grey Gum Café to address the concerns that have been raised,” they added.  

Grace said there are no issues with waste disposal on her property.

“We don’t get any waste removal provided by the council, so we burn our rubbish in a pit at the edge of our property,” she said.

“The council wanted us to put in a load of bins and get it sent away every weekend. But we just can’t afford that.

“We rang the EPA and they said as long as we were not burning anything toxic, it’s fine.” 



The post Roadhouse owner considers closure after ‘harassment’ from council appeared first on Big Rigs.

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