Opponents rally on Facebook

An image from the Save Kiama Downs from Petrol & Fast Food Giants Facebook page.

An image from the Save Kiama Downs from Petrol & Fast Food Giants Facebook page.

MORE than a thousand residents have taken to social media to vent their anger at what they believe is "petrol and fast-food giants" potentially being introduced into the Kiama municipality.

The council has been investigating a number of sites to be developed for service station purposes within or near the town centre.

Two concept plans were prepared by Martin Morris Jones; one involving only a service station, and the other a service station and fast-food outlet.

As the new Facebook group leave Kiama Council with no doubt how they feel about such an idea, the council has stressed its priority is for a petrol station with a possible convenience store attached, and not a fast-food outlet.

At the April council meeting, a report was tabled regarding the possible site for a service station complex on RailCorp-owned land at the corner of North Kiama Bypass and Riverside Drive, Bombo.

The council endorsed the forwarding of a concept plan (which confirms the land can be physically developed for a service station) to Property NSW, and that Property NSW be requested to facilitate the sale of the land to the council for this purpose.

On May 18, a Facebook group called "Save Kiama Downs from Petrol & Fast Food Giants" was established.

In under a week it had attracted more than a thousand "likes".

"This type of development does not belong in Kiama Downs," a post on the page read.

"Please inbox us your email address so we can provide you with information on how to stop the petrol and fast food giants infecting our community."

Group members also scheduled a meeting with the council on Monday to address concerns.

Group spokesperson and Kiama Downs resident Natalie Allan said a perceived lack of transparency and publicly available information was their main concern.

"There's obviously a big community concern about the proposal," she said.

Mrs Allan felt such a venture was unnecessary, given Kiama had two functioning service stations.

"We do not argue against the potential for a new site in the municipality, but we do argue strongly that planning and early community consultation is vital."

Traffic congestion and access, impact on other businesses and tourism, and its perceived visual impact are also among the group's concerns.

Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler said reports had led to misinformation being spread.

He said the council was not seeking a fast-food outlet.

Cr Petschler said the council wasn't hiding anything, and it had been a long-term priority to establish a further fuel outlet.

"All we've ever wanted was another fuel outlet.

"It may encompass a convenience store.

"No one has put any proposals forward for a fast-food outlet.

"We have to go through various processes to re-zone the land . . . then there has to be community consultation."

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