The exhibition period for the proposed service station on the corner of Yamba Road and Treelands Drive has been extended until June 3.
Clarence Valley Council will re-exhibit the Westlawn Property Trust’s development application (DA) –for the Coles/Shell service station – after it was discovered that the wrong date (May 6) for the close of submissions was printed on the A4-sized advertisement at the site.
Meanwhile, Caltex service station proprietor Brett Croft has distributed petitions around the town, calling for support from people opposed to the proposal, and set up a Facebook page, STOP Coles Express Service Station Yamba.
When the Independent met with Mr Croft at midday last Friday, his petitions had collected 425 signatures in 48 hours – an online petition had collected 147 signatures.
Clarence Valley Council confirmed that it will accept the paper petitions; however, it will not accept the online petition, when it considers the DA at the relevant council meeting.
At the February council meeting, councillors amended its code of meeting practice to only accept “written petitions from persons that have a direct interest in the Clarence Valley Local Government Area, such as residents, landowners, and business owners”, and that the petition “must” include the “name, address, phone number or email address, and signatures in original writing of each [of the] petitioners”; and to exclude electronic petitions from consideration.
Under the heading ‘Why should we stop this?’ on the Facebook page, Mr Croft points out that “there are 5 [five] Service Stations in Yamba, each one is locally owned and operated, all profits are kept and spent in the Community of Yamba”.
He told the Independent that, apart from there being “no need for another service station” that he was opposed to the Coles and Woolworths “duopoly”, which he perceives to be “in conflict with locally-owned businesses”.
He is also opposed to the service station’s proposal to operate 24 hours a day, which he said would result in providing a meeting place for “drugs, drunks and hoons”.
On the discount fuel that would become available to Yamba motorists, he said the idea “sounds good, but at what expense”?
“At the end of the day this is unwanted and unnecessary,” he said.
“Prime commercial real estate in Yamba is at a minimum and we should be putting it to better use than for a business that is designed to boost the pockets of a CEO rather than the local family man.”
Mr Croft said he did have a personal conflict of interest, being the person who initiated the campaign – his business is also on Treelands Drive and is open from 6am to 10pm daily.
However, he said: “I know competition breeds business, but in this case it’s Wesfarmers/Coles, and I’m all for progress, but this is a big company coming to town with an unfair advantage.”