Ashley Manicaros, 03 December 2015

PLANS to build a $10 million truck stop in Katherine have been shelved due to uncertainty from the Giles Government as the developer is set to lose $1 million.

Long-time Katherine businessman Dean David, 46, has construction permits to start building the project but government plans to build a bypass road could see the 2.5ha site become obsolete if traffic is diverted.

The first approvals to build the truck stop were issued in 2012. The first notifications of a bypass plan surfaced in July this year.

Mr David told the NT News he has a major fuel distributor prepared to sign a 30-year agreement but the conjecture of the bypass threatened the entire agreement.

“I could start building this truck stop tomorrow,” Mr David said. “But then in a time frame that no one can say it could all change and my site becomes obsolete.

“If I walked away today I would lose $1 million. Feasibility studies by the fuel companies themselves show what I am proposing could generate $20 million a year in revenue. All that is at risk now.”

The plans being floated by the Department of Transport infrastructure planning division are designed to meet future demand over 20 years.

Three options have been canvassed including linking any bypass into Bicentennial Rd. The other options include the bypass coming out near Uralla Rd or the S-bend past the weigh bridge.

Transport Minister Peter Chandler told the Katherine Times earlier this month he supported the most expensive options which are the Uralla Rd and weigh bridges routes and the plans could be “brought forward” depending on demand.

“To me, what makes sense, which would be the most costly exercise would be to run it to the new proposed transport hub,” he was quoted as saying.

“If you were going to have a major transport hub in Katherine, why wouldn’t you have the alternate route running from Stuart Highway to there?”

Mr Chandler stood by the remarks when contacted by the NT News and expressed “surprise” there was a truck stop project.

He said he had not met Mr David but would like a briefing on his project.

But Mr David showed copies of correspondence to Mr Chandler’s department and the Member for Katherine, Willem Westra van Holthe, on the issue.

Extracted in full from the NT News.