Developer addresses concerns on servo plans
THE developers behind the proposed Woolgoolga Service Centre have come forward to respond to a number of concerns locals have had with the multimillion-dollar project.
Brisbane-based company BTC Properties has lodged a development application with Coffs Harbour City Council to construct a service station and food and drink outlet on the corner of Clarence St and Solitary Islands Way at the site of the Pine Lodge Motel.
Executive director Will Griffin said the development would create more than 100 ongoing jobs for locals, as well as 300 during construction, at a time when the Coffs Coast has seen an 11.2 per cent rise in unemployment since Covid-19.
“This development will create critical employment for young people in the area – employment that is year-round and offers valuable business experience and training in the process,” Mr Griffin said.
The application had initially caused a stir as it had suggested a McDonald’s restaurant would be located at the site.
Mr Griffin has clarified that McDonald’s was one operator that was spoken to, but the inclusion of the company’s branding was an error and the plans have since been amended. At this stage discussions are underway with prospective operators and the community will be notified once a decision has been made.
There has been debate from locals regarding traffic and pollution concerns. Mr Griffin said a deceleration lane on Solitary Islands Way would create safe access to the site.
He said access by heavier vehicles, including fuel tankers and rubbish collection, would be limited to the driveway on Clarence St outside peak traffic hours where special provisions would be made for access, reducing the chance of delays along Solitary Islands Way.
“We asked traffic and road safety experts to investigate how the development would impact traffic and risk of accidents to ensure what we are proposing is safe and doesn’t create traffic headaches, particularly around the roundabout.”
“Technical experts in environmental impact, including air quality, noise, light and waste management took a look at the likely impacts of the development on nearby businesses and residents, and we amended the original plans … to ensure the best result for everyone.”
Mr Griffin said the development was not of the scale seen in large service centres on the Pacific Highway.
“This project is for serving the local community and visitors to the town. The only larger vehicles people will see onsite in an average week are deliveries of goods or services into the businesses – the same as so many other businesses in Woolgoolga.”
Pending approval, construction is due to begin in the second half of 2020.
This would involve demolition of the existing structures, and construction of a service station building and fuel canopy, a drive-through food and drink premises, parking for 54 cars, landscaping works and an upgrade to Solitary Islands Way to provide access to the site.
Mr Griffin said that in addition to the employment opportunities, the development would improve ‘convenience’ for consumers through the provision of essential goods and services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and would enhance the aesthetics of a key entry to the town through new ‘welcome’ signage and landscaping.
“Our aim with this project has always been quite simple – to invest in Woolgoolga and its local economy through the creation of two businesses that provide essential services 24/7, much-needed year-round employment opportunities for young people, and with the extensive landscaping planned for the site, create an enhanced and welcoming entry point to the town,” he said.