One councillor did not mince their words on why the plans for a prime piece of Woolgoolga real estate should be refused.

Plans for a 24-hour service station and fast food outlet on a prime piece of Woolgoolga real estate have been knocked back.

Coffs Harbour City Councillors voted unanimously to refuse the Clarence St development application on Thursday evening, after Crs John Arkan and Sally Townley both raised a motion that it be rejected outright.

It came after a total of 136 public submissions were received on the controversial plans, with only three in support.

Brisbane-based company BTC Properties had proposed a $5m Mobil service station and fast food outlet be built on the corner of Clarence St and Solitary Islands Way, at the ‘gateway’ site of the Pine Lodge Motel.

BTC Properties’ Steve Jones told Councillors he had been holidaying with his family in Woolgoolga for the last 17 years and recalled how he needed to purchase Panadol for his children late at night, but nothing was open.

“That’s when I first got to know the area and I thought hey, it would be good to see this area develop over time,” he said.

The proposal was earmarked for the site of the Pine Lodge Motel.The proposal was earmarked for the site of the Pine Lodge Motel.

“One of the pluses we see in this development is the 24-hour convenience of being able to go buy a loaf of bread or milk, or get a packet of Panadol in the middle of the night, and we see that as something that’s lacking in the community at the moment.”

Despite Mr Jones’ address, the pollution hazard and the potential for the fast-food restaurant to attract anti-social behaviour were just some of the concerns raised in objection.

But the most prominent concern was arguably traffic congestion, with Woolgoolga’s roundabout on Solitary Islands Way described as already being unsafe.

Cr Townley did not mince her words when debating the issue, labelling the proposal a “recipe for disaster”.

This was particularly due to the proposal outlining that fast-food workers would be responsible for conducting traffic control for semi-trailer fuel tankers as they reversed through the busy commercial site.

Cr Sally Townley raised a motion to reject the proposal outright.Cr Sally Townley raised a motion to reject the proposal outright

“I feel like this development application had got a really fundamental flaw in that it just doesn’t fit on the site,” she said.

“The staff supervising this are possibly 19 or 20-years-old … I won’t sign my name to a condition of consent that we are going to say semi-trailers are going to drive backwards through a fast food premises.”

Cr Townley said that there were more fitting commercial possibilities for the gateway site, pointing out fossil fuel service stations were not the way of the future.

Her concerns were echoed by Cr Arkan, who further argued that councillors needed to focus on upgrading infrastructure in the area before approving development applications.

“For us to not be conscious and aware of what we’re offering as councillors in regards to infrastructure, and willy-nilly approve developments such as what we’ve got here, that’s not an appropriate response.”

When put to the vote, Crs Townley, Arkan, Tegan Swan, Michael Adendorff and Keith Rhoades voted unanimously to reject the DA. Mayor Cr Denise Knight and Cr Amos declared conflicts of interest and did not vote, while Cr George Cecato was on leave.

Extracted in full from: Coffs councillors refuse Woolgoolga service station and fast food proposal | Daily Telegraph

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