ON HOLD: Wentworth Shire Council has a deferred a decision on whether to allow an On The Run Highway Service Centre to be built in Buronga. The proposed location of the site is immediately next door to the Sunraysia Petroleum-owned Shell Service Station.

By VINNIE RODI

PLANS to develop Sunraysia’s second ‘On The Run’ (OTR) Highway Service Centre in Buronga have hit a hurdle, with Wentworth Shire Council opting to defer a decision on whether to allow the development to go ahead.

Deferment of the decision was made to give OTR a chance to answer some lingering questions about the proposal – including clarifying legal issues around the use of a carriageway at the rear of the proposed site that was cause for concern for several Councillors.

Council’s motion also called on OTR to provide detailed plans demonstrating driveway design and location, internal aisle widths, parking bay dimensions and loading bays, while also calling on them to be in accordance with Austroads Guide to Traffic Management standards, to provide written legal opinion as to why development consent may not be required for the intensification of the easement for services and right of carriageway over the burdened adjacent land, or to submit a separate Development Application for the use of the easement for services and right of carriageway.

The decision itself took close to an hour to reach, with Councillors spending the majority of Wednesday’s ordinary meeting discussing the proposal, while also hearing from both the proponents and objectors to the development.

All Councillors – apart from an absent Wentworth Mayor Melisa Hederics (who had requested leave from the meeting due to personal reasons), Cr Jane MacAllister – who voted against the motion, and Cr Peter Nunan – who declared a pecuniary interest – voted in favour of deferring the decision.

Council heard from Phil Moir from the Peregrine Corporation, the organisation that runs and manages OTR, prior to reaching its verdict, with Mr Moir discussing the family-owned nature of the South Australian business, and the numerous economic benefits the franchise would bring to the area.

“We employ local people, and on numerous occasions have had people contact us saying they want us to come to their town,” he said. “We’ve had local contractors tell us they want to build this site.

“The interest in OTR coming to Buronga is huge, and I urge Councillors to listen to their local area.”

OTR is being supported by Fisher Planning in its development application, with owner and operator Warrick Fisher also on hand to address Councillors this week.

One of the main objectors to the proposal is Sunraysia Petroleum, which is being represented by James Golsworthy Consultants. As it currently stands, the proposed location of the OTR site in Buronga is next door to Sunraysia Petroleum’s Hendy Road Shell service station.

Sunraysia Petroleum director Steve Saunders also presented to Council, questioning the location of the proposed OTR site, the impact the site would have on local traffic conditions, and OTR’s legal right to utilise a carriageway at the rear of the neighbouring lots.

“I’m all for competition, but I don’t understand why they have to build the site right next door to my business,” he said. “OTR would need to utilise the entire carriageway, which is where we have extensive B-Double parking.

“I believe this would be detrimental, cause increased traffic, and result in not only congestion, but a loss of customers.”

Mr Saunders said he also has plans to extend his current site to include a supermarket, and was adamant that there was no room for both developments to proceed.

“Council needs to decide whether it wants one service station with an accompanying supermarket in the area, or two services stations. We can’t have both,” he said.

The proposed OTR development aims to construct a 395m2 control building, with a drive through and pick-up window, six petrol ‘filling’ spots for regular vehicles and three diesel filling spots.

Twelve car parking spaces are also proposed adjacent to the shopfront, with two longer car parks for trailer/boat combinations also included in the design. Four truck parking spaces are also proposed for vehicles up to 36.5m in length.

While Councillors this week considered the amenity, design and legal issues surrounding the OTR development, Council’s Director Health and Planning, Ken Ross, stressed that the public’s opinion of the development would also come into play.

Council received some 58 public submissions about the proposal during a public notification period, with not all in favour of proceeding with the OTR development.

Shire Councillors are expected to reconsider the proposal at their October meeting.