On any given day, dozens of famished Queensland truckies devour her famous burgers and chips at the rest area across the street.
But Tanya Hooper, owner of the busy Grantham Store, near Gatton, fears that could all change in an instant if the local Lockyer Valley Regional Council gets its way.
Against the overwhelming wishes of business owners and village residents, the council is planning to rip up a large chunk of well-used facilities because it says they’re not flood-proof and will cost too much to clean up.
“We’re not happy. We’ve got a constant supply of trucks, there’s three here now,” said a disgruntled Hooper, who has about 500 customers through the store each day, many of whom also pick up their free copy of Big Rigs from there.
“The truckies grab their lunch and go and sit on the tables in the shade to eat it and the toilet facilities are there for them as well. They can sit down and use the facilities without having to go out of their way.
“There is another set of toilets, but I wouldn’t use them.”
After the devastation of the 2011 Lockyer Valley floods in which 14 lives were lost in Grantham, and more flood damage in February 2022, Hooper says the council threat feels like the last straw.
“We’ve had a pretty rough time,” said Hooper, who like many other locals is preparing to roll up her sleeves and fight to keep the facilities where they are.
She’s collecting signatures at the store and throwing her voice into a joint village submission to council to state their case.
“I understand the reasoning for taking away the playground because the soft floor is very expensive, and obviously it gets washed away, but the table and chairs were mostly unaffected.
“The toilets obviously needed a little bit more but I would have thought a couple of hours work would clean them up and everything they’re talking about after a flood, other than the playground.”
Just down the road at the local servo, Grantham Fuels, the co-owner Belinda Barton can’t believe the council didn’t even bother with community consultation before first announcing the decision.
When two council officers came into the business to inform her of the changes ahead, she said the first words out of her mouth were: “Oh, my god, how many people can you piss off,” said Barton, who co-owns the service station with husband Scott.
“Our biggest concern is that we have a lot of people using the facilities as a fatigue stop.
“We also have access at our service station for B-doubles and trucks; the Lockyer Valley is the ‘salad bowl’ of Australia.
“There’s a lot of transport industry that go past here and utilise those facilities because you can actually pull up along the street.
“It’s going to affect us a lot if that’s all being pulled down.”
Cr. Janice Holstein, the council’s infrastructure portfolio councillor, told Big Rigs in a statement that council is undertaking a project to reduce the amount of park infrastructure that is vulnerable to flooding.
“Especially where there are better locations nearby for the infrastructure,” Holstein said.
“In Grantham, council will continue to provide and maintain both public toilets and parkland in close proximity to where trucks, tradies and travellers park when accessing local shops.
“Council acknowledges the issues raised by residents and is awaiting further feedback from residents which will be taken into consideration by council moving forward.”