Councillors put brake on station

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

The council had been seeking another petrol station in the Kiama area since the closure of the Mobil at Kiama Heights in 2003.

This meant Addison's Corner Garage was Kiama's only fuel outlet.

The Glen Fulton Motors building on Collins Street recently began selling petrol to the public.

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.

In response, a Facebook group called Save Kiama Downs from Petrol and Fast Food Giants was established, attracting more than 1300 "likes".

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.

Other concerns included hours of operation and the possibility of a fast-food outlet also being developed on the site. The matter was the subject of a Mayoral Minute at last Tuesday night's council meeting.

Mayor Brian Petschler's report included a recommendation that the 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.

Two concept plans had been prepared by Martin Morris Jones; one involving only a service station; and the other a service station and fast-food outlet. Council said they were not pursuing a fast-food option.

However, councillor Dennis Seage successfully moved that the 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 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."

After the meeting, Cr Petschler said because the operator of the new Enhance station now appeared to be a permanent facility, and was not on the market, it 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 still felt Kiama needed another service station.

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.

● See kiamaindependent.com for extended story.

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