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The planning proposal to accommodate the proposed service centre at the southern entrance to Maclean will most likely be supported at next week’s CVC meeting. Logistic issues highlighted in submissions will be addressed at the development application stage. Image: contributed

Maclean service centre

Geoff Helisma

At the June Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting, councillors unanimously supported an application to rezone land for a proposed highway service centre, adjacent to the Maclean’s southern interchange; at next week’s CVC meeting councillors are likely to endorse the proposal.

During the intervening time, CVC received seven submissions, one in support and six opposed.

The supporting submission stated, “It is most important that this proposal goes ahead, otherwise most highway travellers will just drive straight past our area without stopping.”

However, the submission also noted that “visitors to the service centre could never realise that our town was actually just beyond the hill” due to its east-of-the-highway location, and advocated providing “significant tourist information … to make people realise the town is there”.

Staff recommended in its assessment of the submission to make “no change to the planning proposal”, because any logistical “details will be considered with any development application [DA]”.

Staff itemised concerns raised by six of the submissions:

  • Concern about flooding impacts on nearby properties and nearby roads and access;
  • Concern about potential impacts on the environment from spills and contaminants associated with the highway service centre;
  • Stormwater treatment and the need to incorporate best practice water sensitive urban designed stormwater quality;
  • Potential precedent for rezoning and development in this vicinity;
  • Potential impacts on nearby residents from light (both service centre and trucks/vehicles), along with noise from braking and accelerating trucks, especially through the 24/7 operation; and,
  • Concern about the proliferation of fast-food outlets and associated impacts on health and wellbeing of residents and the nearby high school, obesity, roadside littering and the like.

The details of each of these concerns will be addressed at the DA stage, staff wrote, recommending “no change to the planning proposal”.

In relation to any issues that are overseen by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), staff wrote that “advice from the EPA and council’s environmental health team have not raised any concerns, and they are confident the issues will be properly considered and addressed at the DA stage, including any impacts from a major flood”.

In relation to containing and disposing of forecourt wastewater, CVC’s senior environmental officer advised that CVC has a “specific” requirement that rules out two of the EPA’s three “available options” – discharge to the environment via a Class 1 oil separator, discharge to sewer via a trade waste agreement, or, collection in a containment tank that is pumped out via vacuum truck when required with the contents disposed of at an appropriate facility.

Staff pointed out that developers of the service station at the Treelands Drive and Yamba Road intersection had installed a Class 1 oil separator, “in the hope that discharge would be approved via a modification” – councillors rejected that application.

Staff advised councillors in relation to the planning proposal that “the initial proposal to discharge service station forecourt wastewater via a Class 1 oil separator to the stormwater system is not supported,” and that the “applicant has confirmed via email that this advice can be accommodated at the DA stage.”

Regarding traffic issues and the footprint of the proposal, Traffic NSW (TfNSW) advised that “any future DA will need to include an updated traffic impact assessment”.

“TfNSW notes that the subject site is comparatively smaller than sites accommodating [service centres] along the Pacific Highway,” staff advised councillors.

“Consideration will need to be given to the effective use of available space to manage conflict between light vehicles, heavy vehicles and pedestrians.

“Future options are available to reconfigure the site compared to the indicative plans provided at the rezoning stage and council officers can work with the proponent and TfNSW to optimise the site and minimise any internal conflicts [within] the site and manage impacts for surrounding residents.

“Given the assessment and advice from TfNSW this is not a reason to decline or delay the planning proposal.”