’Disbelief’ as Rainbow Beach free air pump canned
Four-wheel drivers are desperately lobbying to have free tyre pumps reinstalled at a popular car wash after the State Government forced it to remove the only option.
Rainbow Beach 4WD Underbody and Complete Car Wash has been filling up 800,000 tyres per year at the popular beach for 20 years.
The company moved its pumps to nearby vacant land two years ago to free up carwash bays for paying customers, as some motorists were taking up space to use the free pump only.
But the Government has now forced the company to remove its pumps, saying no application had been received to use crown land.
"What we were doing, while it was a bit cheeky, was free public infrastructure on public land and that was zoned for future industrial works, and was already cleared," pump owner Scott Elms said.
"It was only ever to be an interim solution for us, it was never to be a permanent solution - and I wasn't doing it for our own personal gain. I was doing it for the public."
Four-wheel drivers frequently visit the area to drive on beaches in Cooloola and Fraser Island National Park.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service receive permit fees from visitors and advise motorists to lower their tyre pressures when driving on the beach.
Mr Elms said the State Government had a duty of care to supply a free facility to reinflate tyres to keep travellers safe once they returned to the roads.
He said State MP Tony Perrett and others had joined a petition lobbying the Government to provide a free service.
He said it cost the car wash up to $10,000 a year to supply free air.
The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy said establishing permanent services or structures on crown land was prohibited.
"Establishing services or structures which permanently occupy state land without permission is prohibited," a spokesman said in a statement.
"To date, the pump owner has not applied to the department for tenure."
Should there be free tyre pumps at Rainbow Beach for 4WDs?
This poll ended on 02 August 2020.
No, 4WDs shouldn't get special treatment.
I'm not sure.
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Mr Elms said the business had offered to lease the land to continue running the pumps but were told "no".
"We're in disbelief that the Palaszczuk Government wouldn't have at least given us the time of day, to have a roundtable discussion," he said.
Mr Perrett and Gympie Regional Council mayor Greg Hartwig have been contacted for comment.