THE proponents of a whiskey venture voted down by the City of Launceston on Wednesday say they were “incredibly shocked” by the decision.
Adam Pinkard and Adam Saunders had planned to establish a single malt whiskey distillery at their site on Garfield Street in South Launceston.
The site could also be used to distil gin, vodka and moonshine whiskey.
The pair say they spent up to six months on their development application with the City of Launceston, and expected it to be approved after council officers recommended the project.
“We thought if the people who have been doing the investigation to the enth degree have said they recommend that it does go through, we were fairly confident then that it would go through,” Mr Pinkard said.
Mr Pinkard said the pair had spent close to $20000 on the project, including upgrades to the building they will no longer be able to use and the application fee to the council.
“At the end of the day if we can’t be here we’ve got to find another location somewhere, but we’re very hesitant to look within the Launceston council area,” Mr Saunders said.
Alderman Janie Finlay put forward a simple refusal motion on Wednesday, saying the knock-back was due to issues around rezoning the site rather than the proposal itself.
Mr Pinkard and Mr Saunders said they thought the council could have added a condition to the rezoning, to restrict the building’s use to a distillery, rather than the other uses provided for by the resource processing zone.
Despite the rejection, Mr Pinkard said the response the pair had received from the community since Wednesday’s decision had been “incredible.”
They have received an offer from a farm owner to set up on site, as well as an expression of interest to use a historic property and offers of help from councillors from other municipalities.
A change.org petition in support of the project has been created, and on Thursday evening had 48 signatures.