Petrol station owners should lift games rather than complain
THE proponent of a 24-hour service station development application for Yamba says local petrol station owners should lift their games rather than complain about anti-competitive practices.
The executive managing director of Clarence Property Corporation, Peter Fahey, said claims the proposed Coles Express service station would provide unfair competition to existing service stations and was unwanted in the community did not stack up.
"They should be looking at the service they provide to their customers," he said. "Maybe they should look at giving their own stations a coat of paint.
"If they're having trouble matching prices, why not try to negotiate a better deal with their suppliers so they can offer discounted prices?"
Mr Fahey also noted some of the local service stations were in out of the way places.
"If you have a modern service station in a good position, offering the service people expect, of course it's going to be successful," he said.
He said the DA for two lots on the corner of Yamba Rd and Treelands Dr, opposite the Yamba Fair Shopping Centre, reflected demand from tenants for that type of development.
"When I spoke to Jan Ingram, the previous owner of the house on the corner, she said she had offers from all the four majors (petrol retailers) to buy her block," Mr Fahey said "She just wasn't ready to sell then.
"The house was already zoned commercial and we had the one next door rezoned to allow enough space for delivery trucks and turning circles and that type of thing.
"If it wasn't Coles Express one of the other majors would be there."
He said most Yamba service stations were charging too much for fuel.
"When you go out of town onto the highway you notice Yamba stations are always dearer," he said.
He also said the idea the majors gave their stations an unfair advantage did not add up.
"The Matilda at Yamba is always 8-12 cents cheaper than the others."
Mr Fahey said Clarence Property prepared a lot of DAs for councils and was confident this one would meet planning guidelines.
He said it was unlikely the station would be a 24-hour operation.
"The plan is to have the capability, but it will be driven by demand," he said.
"If there are no people using it between 11pm and 5am, why would you have it open?"
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EARLIER: A YAMBA businessman has taken to social media to oppose the development of a 24-hour service station in Yamba Rd.
The DA for a Coles Express service station on the corner of Yamba Rd and Treelands Dr has alarmed private service station owner Brett Croft.
Mr Croft this week created a Facebook page dedicated to opposing the development.
He said a 24-hour service station in Yamba was surplus to the community's needs and was driven by Coles marketing strategy to have Coles Express service stations near its supermarkets.
The proposed site is across the road from the Coles supermarket in Yamba <FZ,1,0,12>Shopping Fair. "There are five service stations in Yamba, each one is locally owned and operated, all profits are kept and spent in Yamba," he said.
"Each site employs several staff from the Yamba area.
"We have three sites within 1.8km. This new development would make four sites within 1.8km."
Mr Croft said there were also issues with property values for nearby residents and the heavy traffic the business would create would create safety concerns.
"During peak periods the intersection of Treelands Drive and Yamba Road is already heavy for traffic and queuing," he said. "The DA has the service station driveway entry on Yamba Road and the exit onto Treelands Drive.
"If the service station is allowed to go ahead, westbound traffic will be forced to take the path of least resistance which is Osprey Drive, this includes heavy vehicles."
Mr Croft said the development would damage businesses in Yamba.
"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 a business that is designed to boost the pockets of a CEO rather than the local family man," he said.