An estimated 2500 people rallied in Wangaratta’s central business district yesterday, protesting against the proposed Ryley Street Woolworths-Caltex 24 hour service station.
School children, parents with prams, young people and the elderly marched from Merriwa Park, along Ryley Street, down Ford Street and into Ovens Street, gathering outside the Safeway carpark to register their concerns about the location of the proposed facility.
Santa even made an appearance, carrying a sign saying, ‘They don’t fuel me’, and passing cars honked their support for the cause.
No Safeway Servo Community Group spokesman, Simon Quilty, said the turn-out was “way beyond” his expectations, with the vocal marchers at one point covering a stretch from inside Merriwa Park, along Ryley Street, to the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre in Ford Street.
“I think it sends Safeway a clear message,” Mr Quilty said.
“I’m confident council will vote against the proposal, and we are building a community war chest to fight at VCAT (the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal).”
Mr Quilty said he had fought to hold back emotions as he led the group, which chanted, ‘No Safeway servo no way!’.
Among the marchers was Angela Reynolds, with her children Dan and Jesse Hughes, and their grandmother Joy Hughes.
“The kids were very keen to march,” Ms Reynolds said.
“Dan is seven, and is very vocal about it.
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