A planned $4.5 million expansion of the Chinderah BP highway service centre remains on the drawing board after Tweed councillors allowed the company more time to provide detailed information.
Planning staff had recommended refusal because BP Australia had failed to provide further information on its combined development application and rezoning bid requested 16 months ago over flooding, noise, access and other issues.
The oil-giant subsidiary had sought to alter the existing service centre with extra diesel refuelling bowsers, 36 new truck-parking bays and extra car parking.
When told recently that refusal would be recommended unless the company provided the information requested in February last year by early last month, BP asked for deferral of any decision.
Crs Katie Milne and Dot Holdom opposed the expansion, arguing the existing service centre was already causing angst in neighbouring communities with noise and traffic issues.
Cr Holdom said the company’s delay in providing the requested information was ‘tardy in the extreme’ and traffic issues to do with the busy centre was ‘a constant worry to me’.
She told of how she nearly had a head-on collision recently with a four-wheel-drive vehicle travelling the wrong way on an access ramp to the 24-hour centre.
Cr Skinner, who operates a motel nearby at Chinderah, said the expansion had the capacity to treble the number of trucks in the area and the existing centre already ‘generated much noise and mess’.
He said it was in the wrong place and caused grief to locals but that could not be undone, but an expansion could be prevented.
But Cr Joan van Lieshout said the centre needed to expand as it was the first service southbound across the border, otherwise another one would open up further down the highway.
Cr Warren Polglase said if the Tweed wanted to show it was ‘business friendly’ it should allow the company more time to complete its application, and a reassessment would not cost council anything.