Junee Shire Council

Council workers refused entry to Chemist over fencing dispute.

23 May 2017 4:15 PM -

Up to 190 Junee residents are being refused entry to the local Chemist as result of a dispute between the owner of the Junee Capital Chemist, Jane Gentle and Council over fencing at the old Wahs Garage site in Broadway.

Council consented to the short term erection of security fencing on the public footpath until April 2016, however the permit expired and Council requested Ms Gentle to remove the security fencing now illegally placed on public land. These repeated requests were not met. The owners were contacted via letters and attempts were made to meet face to face.

As a last resort, Council impounded the fencing after giving a final warning on 20 January this year.

In response, Ms Gentle who also owns the local pharmacy business, wrote to Council refusing entry to all Council employees, Councillors and their families unless the impounded security fencing was returned within one working day. Since this affects such a large portion of the community and there is significant media interest in the matter, a public response is considered appropriate.

On Friday, 19 May 2017 the Council received a letter from the owner of Junee Capital Chemist requesting that the security fencing be returned to them. The letter went on to indicate that all Council staff, officials and their families would be denied entry to the Junee Capital Chemist from Monday, 22 May 2017 if their request was not agreed to.

The consent for the erection of the security fence on public land expired in April 2016 and needed to be taken down because of impacts to footpath pedestrian traffic and because of its unsightly nature in a high profile public space, adjoining the Tourist Information Centre and also within Council’s Heritage Conservation Area.

General Manager, Mr Davis said “The Council was left with little choice but to impound the security fence. We are a rural community and of course we would prefer to try and solve matters like this without the need for impoundment. Due notice was provided on the 20 January regarding Council’s intention to impound the security fence and on the 30 January this year Council reluctantly stepped in and impounded it.”

“The owners want the fence back and the Council is keen for that to happen. They simply need to make arrangements to pick it up.”

The only formal request for the items to be returned was late last week, some three months after the impoundment, so it is difficult to understand how the matter is of such urgency now and how that is related to the actions taken by Ms Gentle to preclude people from her business.

“Some of our staff and their family members obviously require medical prescriptions to be filled from time to time. As the only chemist in town, their decision to exclude people from their business is unreasonable and places an unnecessary burden on them to travel to other towns to have them filled” Mr Davis said.

The Council attempts to be fair handed when discharging their duties and on this occasion has not used its legislative powers to issue fines nor charge release fees, even though it is entitled to do so.

Where to next?

The Mayor, Cr Neil Smith and Ms Gentle have agreed to meet to discuss the matter to try to bring about a resolution.

Contact Council

Address: 29 Belmore Street
PO Box 93 Junee, NSW 2663
Phone: 02 6924 8100
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