IT’S large, “good looking” and in the ideal location for locals and travellers alike, according to Ballina mayor David Wright.
The $26 million BP Travel Centre at West Ballina was officially opened yesterday, just a little over two years after the DA was approved for it in December 2017.
The new 24-hour travel centre also contains a truck drivers’ lounge, with a kitchen area, showers, washing machines, television and other convenience amenities.
There are four sites for other commercial tenants, including McDonalds and KFC, and two other unconfirmed vendors, while BP’s signature Wild Bean cafe is currently open for takeaway purposes only due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements.
Cr Wright said the opening of the new highway service station could bring big benefits to the area.
“The good thing is the whole highway upgrade will help keep people safe as they travel, and having the station where it is will help break up the journey between the Queensland border and Grafton,” he said.
“It’s in the ideal location, and it will be a great incentive for tourists to come into town, which is a win-win.”
Cr Wright said there would be an information kiosk within the facility, which he hopes will encourage travellers to venture into Ballina and beyond.
He said as well as providing boosts for tourism, he was pleased to see the station offering “substantially” cheaper fuel.
According to Fuel Check, the service station’s opening day boasted prices of only 129.9c per litre for E10 fuel, compared to 139.7c at Caltex East Ballina and 139.9c at BP North Ballina and Caltex Woolworths Ballina for the same type of fuel.
Cr Wright said if the station continued to offer cheaper fuel, it would remain popular with travellers and locals alike.
“Fuel prices are a big thing at the moment. Here in Ballina as soon as one station drops their price, everyone flocks there,” he said.
“If they (BP) can maintain lower prices I think it will make the others competitive as well.”
The travel centre supplies E10, 95 and 98 unleaded, as well as diesel, premium diesel and LPG.
In a statement, a BP spokesman said the company looked forward to servicing the local community.
“The BP Ballina site will be open 24 hours a day and, when we are back to normal operations, will include a range of products and services specifically selected to provide convenience for our customers,” the spokesman said.
He said the fully-operational service centre would employ about 200 people.
Extracted from Northern Star