A proposed microbrewery in the Brisbane suburb of Wynnum has received mixed reviews from locals following a public consultation, but a majority of respondents have backed the plans.
Residents have responded to the consultation of the proposed brewery by Mark Lawson’s Lightbrim Pty company, at a site on Fox Street which has been empty since 2011. The location was formerly home to a seafood market. It is one of two proposed breweries in the bayside suburb, and according to early design concepts, will be called Lawson’s Landing.
The proposed development included a refurbishment of the existing buildings into a seafood restaurant with a microbrewery. It will have a capacity of between 100 and 300 people according to its initial development applications. The developers launched its public consultation at the beginning of September.
However while there have been a number of objections, it seems a majority of the letters posted to the Brisbane City Council planning portal were in favour of the development, despite reports by the Courier Mail.
79 letters of the 110 submitted so far were in favour of the application, and 31 opposing it. Five of these letters opposing the project were signed by multiple people – adding up to 27 individuals to make a total of 53 people opposed, while a letter signed by two people in favour brings the numbers up to 80 individuals in favour.
The negative responses were largely related to factors including noise pollution in the quiet suburb, the availability of parking, and the potential odours from the brewery aspect of the build.
A written objection letter stated that the new site will be “an isolated entertainment venue in a quiet, tranquil place”.
“Wynnum Creek boundary and jetty are in a poor state of repair and will only deteriorate further with increased traffic and usage,” said another.
Founder Mark Lawson said that a lot of the objections raised were related to a misunderstanding about the site, and a lack of information about what the company had done to mitigate these issues.
“As soon as people see there’s a brewery [going in] they think it will be like Yatala [CUB’s brewery site] or a hotel.
“The reason you go for a hotel licence is because it allows you to do so much more with your venue – it’s a misconception of what we’re actually trying to be.”
Lawson said that the team behind the brewery had preempted these concerns, particularly regarding noise and parking. He said the development team had implemented mitigating measures following testing, including 10mm-thick acoustic glass on the windows to minimise noise disruption, noting the proximity of Wynnum train station and the potential for courtesy buses to ensure sufficient parking, also mentioning the existing on-site car parking capacity.
“For most of the week it’s not going to have 300 people in it, probably very rarely. There’s a lot of thought gone into it,” he explained.
“[We’re installing a] small Braumeister kit, the emissions that come out from those things are so minimal – within 10 metres of the site there will be no emissions at all.
“We’re part of the community, we don’t want to be something no one wants, there, if no one wanted it we wouldn’t do it, we’d probably just sell the site.”
Supporting arguments were varied, with some respondents saying that it would be good for tourism in the area, it would help the local economy, and that the neighbourhood needs to be rejuvenated, noting the long-term lack of an occupant at the “eyesore” site.
“I am also excited to see the jobs it can create for the locals and the domino effect for the surrounding businesses.
“This waterfront business may attract attention for not only locals in the area but maybe highlight to the rest of Brisbane Wynnum is a great location to visit,” one respondent said.
Lawson said that even though it’s been a “rollercoaster” with the development application, he was optimistic.
“It’s looking fantastic. The area so badly needs it. Wynnum need jobs and development to move it on – it’s just stuck.
“Wynnum is a changing area and you can see the developments going up in the CBD, there’s a lot more population living there – it’s not the Wynnum it used to be with an older demographic.
“We’re going to make a local product out of Wynnum that’s hopefully as good as any beer around and people will hopefully be proud of that.”
Lightbrim’s development application for the site is finalised and in with the council, and Lawson said he expects to hear back by the end of the year.