Andrew Potts, 18 April 2016

PETROL prices could fall on the Gold Coast as a wave of new service station developments sweep the city.

More than 15 development applications have been made for new or expanded facilities in the past year as major fuel suppliers expand their business operations both in the city’s centre and the northern growth corridor.

And more could be coming according to development industry experts who say the development boom will bring more people and a greater demand for services, which range from petrol pumps to convenience shops.

The RACQ predicts the new boom will lead to a drop in petrol prices for motorists as major operators Caltex, 7-Eleven, Puma Energy and United Petroleum expand their interests on the Glitter Stip, eyeing off either existing sites or empty developable land.

“This hopefully represents a boom for the Gold Coast resulting in strong competition and when there is greater competition prices can be lower,” RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith said.

“They are no longer just service stations but are more convenience stores that also sell fuel and we are seeing far more of them.

“There has been a real shift in the past 10 years in the idea of what a servo can do.”

The Gold Coast has more than 100 service stations to cater for the near 600,000 residents compared with Brisbane which has nearly 300 for its 2.3 million people.

It comes after a number of stations closed across the Gold Coast in the early 2000s as a result the changing economic climate and independent operators being bought out by major chains.

However, there are fears that the increased number of facilities across the city will add to the congestion on major arterial roads.

The Mermaid Beach Community Association, which opposes a proposed United Petroleum Station on the Gold Coast Highway, has warned that the increased traffic would impact on already busy roads.

Unlike some major high-rise projects, service stations are not generally required to pay additional infrastructure charges to the council.

Of the 15 service station development applications made to the Gold Coast City Council since April 2015, most now includes cafes, takeaway locations and convenience shops.

A takeaway Zaraffas coffee shop is planned for a new station at Molendinar, while a redevelopment is proposed for an existing BP facility on Ashmore’s Cotlew St which would add a convenience shop and cafe seating.

Australian Automobile Association figures show Gold Coast motorists on average paid less of unleaded petrol than those in other Queensland centres such as Townsville, Gladstone, Cains and Brisbane.

Council planning boss Cameron Caldwell said city hall did not make decision lightly on approving the developments and was mindful of their potential impact.

“They have transformed into what is effectively a new form of convenience shopping which includes petrol,” he said.

“Council is mindful of the impacts that these developments can have, particularly on any nearby residential areas.

“Often now these projects represent a community hub of sorts.”

Extracted in full from the Gold Coast Bulletin.