Polling booth a 'nightmare' for Hanson Rd businesses

VOTING early would be considered careful planning for those wanting to avoid the queues, but for some businesses on Hanson Rd this week has been a nightmare.

Jenny Falls from Gladstone Surgical and Health Equipment has been watching in horror as drivers pull out in front of b-doubles, the elderly attempt to negotiate the 'footpath' and those in wheelchairs are forced out onto the road to access the polling booth.

And she's not the only one put-out by the choice of venue.

Most of the businesses in the Spencer House building have been battling traffic, people using their staff parks and voters' cars blocking the loading zone.

Ms Falls' workplace is the business closest to the polling booth.

A NIGHTMARE: Jenny Falls says this week's pre-polling has been a nightmare for nearby businesses. Photo Helen Spelitis / Gladstone Observer
A NIGHTMARE: Jenny Falls says this week's pre-polling has been a nightmare for nearby businesses. Photo Helen Spelitis / Gladstone Observer Helen Spelitis

She said their customers needing to use the disabled parking spot had been forced to park outside the precinct and make their way back to the shop on foot.

"It's a safety issue and an absolutely disgraceful," Ms Falls said.

"This is not an ideal place to hold the polling booth. Why couldn't they have used the PCYC or the senior citizens centre where there is ample parking?"

The businesses weren't warned ahead of time that the booth, where about 10,000 people have already voted, would be so busy.

An official complaint has been lodged with the Electoral Commission of Queensland, but ultimately the choice of polling booths is the discretion of the Electoral Commission and the council.

ECQ Returning Officer Mark Larney said sites were rented for each election and next week there will be a de-briefing session to discuss the suitability for future elections.

However it comes down to which properties are available at the time, Mr Larney said.

"I recognise that while there is lots of car parking around the site, the close car parking is limited," he said.

"Every site has strengths and weaknesses and we felt this one was the most suitable from those that were available."

Meanwhile, furniture store Cash Traders next door to the booth has experienced one of their busiest weeks this year. 

They've sold TV units, lounge and bed suites and most importantly seen lots of new faces.

Manager Pat Roderick said they realised many people didn't know the store was there before.

"Hopefully it brings in some new regular customers," she said. 

The polling booth at 122 Hanson Rd is open until 5pm. 

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