KORUMBURRA had its own ‘Montague Street’ moment last Wednesday night, March 2, when a Woolworth’s truck dislodged a cantilever veranda over the shops at numbers 11 and 13 Commercial Street.
The incident, which occurred at 11.19pm, has caused serious inconvenience for the two businesses operating at the sites, Elders Real Estate and Korumburra Quality Meats, and also for shoppers tramping up the infamous Commercial Street hill.
But the driver of the truck, who reportedly parked his prime-mover and articulated trailer in the vacant parking bays in front of the shops before using the ATM at the Commonwealth Bank, may not have been at fault.
Police from Leongatha and Wonthaggi, who were called to the scene, said the driver parked his truck without incident, but collected the overhanging veranda as he drove off, causing extensive damage not only to the veranda but also to the structure of the buildings, forcing out part of a brick wall on the side of the butcher shop.
However, it appears that the veranda may have been protruding out from the other verandas in the street, over the line of the kerb and channel, above the parking bay.
Police stayed at the scene into Thursday morning until safety fencing could be erected.
The site was later inspected by South Gippsland Shire Council building officer Matthew Patterson.
Sergeant Dale McCahon said police members had spoken to the driver at the scene and taken down details of what had happened, but indicated that no charges would be laid.
The incident has caused significant disruption for the traders directly affected, for those further up the street and also for shoppers, needing to walk out on to the road to access the area.
Korumburra Quality Meats butcher, Geoff Whykes, who has only been operating the business for a couple of months said the damage to the shop came as quite a shock and had understandably affected trade.
“But we’re not going to throw the towel in,” he told the Sentinel-Times last week.
“People have been fantastic, our customers and the other traders.”
The butcher shop traded on through the disruption and Geoff has urged customers to make phone orders for delivery to 56581081 until the shop is reopened for business.
“They are working at it now, trying to get us up and able to trade on a temporary basis but I’d say it will be a couple of months before it all gets fixed.”
Don Olden at Elders in Korumburra said it was business as usual, apart from the occasional power outage, while the shops were repaired; in Elders’ case trading out of the back door, off the carpark in Little Commercial Street.
Shire building officer Matthew Patterson has provided the following response to queries about the veranda being located over the kerb:
“It is Council’s understanding the veranda was originally constructed as an awning around 40 years ago and the decorative veranda posts, which are not structural, were added in 1997.
“A building permit will be required prior to the veranda being reconstructed. Council permission will be required under regulation 507 of the Victorian Building Regulations 2006 if the new veranda is proposed to be within 750mm of the kerb. Impact on traffic will be considered if Council is to allow the veranda to be setback less than 750mm from the kerb.”