FOR a town of just a few hundred people, the general store is a lot more than the place you pick up your bread and milk.
It’s been a turbulent nine months for Woolomin general store owners, Shane and Kylie Douglas, who said the support of the small community has kept them positive through a tremendous ordeal.
The village’s only shop was thrust into spotlight in February when their underground tank storing petrol leaked into Woolomin’s groundwater supply.
On Tuesday, Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson announced the state government would provide $360,000 to help re-mediate the contaminated area.
“It means a future,” owner Shane Douglas said.
“Probably in the last nine months, it’s all been up in the air.”
In NSW, there is a “polluter pays” scheme for clean-up costs, but Mr Anderson said levels of contamination had risen in recent weeks due to persistent rainfall and a more urgent response was required.
“The money they were talking about was way out of our range,” Mr Douglas said.
“It may have meant the end of the shop.
“It’s something we didn’t want to think about.”
The Woolomin general store is the nearest shop for about 35km for the village’s 300 locals, Mr Douglas said.
The store is also the community’s post office, a pit-stop for travellers on the Fossicker’s Way and Chaffey Dam campers.
Mr Douglas said the support of Woolomin locals kept the couple’s spirits high during the tumultuous period.
“Everyone has been fantastic,” he said.
“I'd hate to go through something like this when everyone isn't on your side.”
Everything was going against the general store when it was revealed about 400 litres of fuel leaked into the groundwater supply, Mr Douglas said it was a “perfect storm”.
“It happened in the stinking dry of summer and everyone's tanks were empty,” he said. The financial assistance has provide relief for the Douglas’ who said “it feels like there is a bit of a future for the shop and the village”.