Kiama Downs residents claiming victory

KIAMA Downs residents are claiming victory after plans to construct a service station at Bombo have been shelved indefinitely. 

Members of the Save Kiama Downs from Petrol and Fast Food Giants group.

Members of the Save Kiama Downs from Petrol and Fast Food Giants group.

Council had been seeking another petrol station in the Kiama area since the Mobil at Kiama Heights closed in 2003. 

The Glen Fulton Motors building on Collins Street recently began selling petrol to the public, resulting in competition for Kiama’s only fuel outlet, Addison’s Corner Garage.

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

A Facebook group called Save Kiama Downs from Petrol and Fast Food Giants was established, attracting more than 1300 ‘‘likes’’.

The group also started a petition opposing the proposal. 

Opponents cited traffic congestion and access, impact on other businesses and tourism, and its perceived visual impact among concerns, but said they didn’t object to a third service station in the area.

The matter was the subject of a Mayoral Minute at Tuesday night’s  council meeting.

Mayor Brian Petschler’s report included a recommendation that council seek RailCorp permission to undertake a geotechnical assessment of the land to determine the economic feasibility of constructing underground tanks; and investigate a possible site for a petrol station on the south western (Quarry) side of the Bombo overpass.

‘‘Council has over the past two years had discussions with several independent petrol retailers, who have investigated various sites,’’ the Mayor wrote. 

However, councillor Dennis Seage successfully moved that council reconsider its options for a petrol station, and not go ahead with the geotechnical survey.

Cr Seage said the motion sent a clear message that the council listened to its community.

‘‘When the decision was made to pursue this issue, Kiama was in dire straits; we had a dilapidated-at-best service station serving most of the people in the Kiama municipality,’’ Cr Seage said.

‘‘That changed... Glen Fulton has assured me the family business is here to stay.

‘‘The re-opening of Fulton’s has not only taken away the urgency of providing another service station, but has managed to satisfy council’s four-year delivery program regarding a second service station within the municipality.’’

Following the meeting, Cr Petschler said as the operator of the new Enhance station now appeared to be a permanent facility, and was not on the market had essentially ‘‘taken the issue off the page’’.

‘‘We have the two stations it seems, which was the objective we set out to achieve when we started this process back in 2009-10,’’ he said.

Cr Warren Steel said the current and past councils had been lobbied by the community to help establish a second petrol station.

He said he still felt Kiama needed another service station. 

‘‘If the people don’t want it, it doesn’t go there, that’s fine,’’ Cr Steel said.

‘‘If Fulton’s stays open that is great... But the council put a lot of work into it, it was a lot of effort, and to cop some of the criticism I thought was a bit low.’’

Cr Neil Reilly said with two petrol stations now at Kiama, council had satisfied community demands.

Group spokeswoman and Kiama Downs resident Natalie Allan was pleased with the outcome.

‘‘We’re very grateful council gave us their time and consideration, and look forward to future consultation with them if they’re interested in our opinion,’’ she said.  

Owner Glen Fulton said his intention was for a convenience store, and the process of submitting it to council for approval was under way. 

He said additional pumps and an automatic carwash could be added if there was adequate demand. 

“There is a provision available for an automatic carwash, but I won’t proceed until I know what demand is,” he said.

Cr Petschler said the council would continue to investigate potential locations for a petrol station, potentially within the future redevelopment of the Bombo Quarry, but such consideration would not be an immediate action. 

‘‘There’s a need for an on-highway type operation somewhere down the track, but there’s no urgency in the matter,’’ he said. 

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