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Byron Shire
March 29, 2023

Just what Ballina needs, another petrol station

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Despite the objections of a large number of neighbours, including Ballina Toyota, Ballina Shire Council has given the green light to a new 24 hour Mobil service station on 485 River Street, West Ballina.

Proceedings opened with deputations in support of the project (from Stephen Moore, who said he was very much looking forward to building a service station in town to lower fuel prices and improve convenience), and against, from local resident Ralph Moss, who said there should be no new developments in the area until drainage and flooding issues were resolved.

Proposed Mobil DA site, Ballina
The site as it looks now, from above.

Cr Phil Meehan said the DA was to demolish the old car yard (across Sunset Avenue from Ballina Toyota) and create a 24 hour service station.

While noting Ballina Council had received 35 written submissions from locals opposing the DA, he said noise, safety and traffic concerns would be addressed.

‘History will tell us that we are in a position as a council where the reality is that we must approve the DA because it is approvable,’ he said – unless it was decided the DA was not in the public interest.’

Cr Eoin Johnston concurred, saying Ballina Council would be ‘dancing with the devil’ (of future court action, and approvals from above) if they refused the DA, although he understood the concerns of locals about a 24 hour petrol station being plonked in their midst. He said it was not in the public interest and he didn’t understand the necessity.

‘I just don’t see that this is a essential service to the community,’ he said.

Cr Rod Bruem said the DA met all council requirements and there was no legal reason for refusal. Despite there being several other petrol stations nearby, he said it wasn’t a ‘valid argument’ to say there were enough petrol stations in Ballina already, suggesting that the new station would lower fuel prices.

‘It couldn’t come at a better time in terms of people struggling with their household budgets, and for people in this region who often commute to work.’

Ballina Shire Cr Nigel Buchanan. Photo supplied.

Limit the hours?

Cr Nigel Buchanan said he was ‘on the fence’ with the DA, which had residential dwellings on two sides, and he was concerned about the number of locals who had made their opposition known in writing.

Cr Buchanan wondered why it needed to be open 24 hours when there was another 24 hour petrol station just down the road?

The debate revealed that fuel delivery hours would be limited to between 7am and 10pm. Staff said drainage issues could be safely dealt with.

It also transpired there would be no provision for electric car charging at the new facility, due to technical limits of the local grid.

Cr Kiri Dicker said she didn’t think the proposed petrol station would contribute anything to the community, or lower fuel prices, but represented a significant conflict with residential areas. ‘However,’ she said, ‘it seems that we don’t have any grounds to oppose it.’

Some councillors wondered if the hours of the new facility as a whole could be curtailed, but a proposed amendment to limit the opening hours failed, attracting only the support of Crs Cadwallader, Simon Chate and Nigel Buchanan.

The original motion to accept the 24 hour Mobil station was then supported by all except Cr Eoin Johnston. Cr Eva Ramsey was not present.

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  1. Hilarious how some people in power are just not getting it. Fossil fuels will go the way of the dinosaurs soon. Why do we need another petrol station? How about some electric vehicle charging stations Ballina Council. Pull your head out and stop contributing to the deaths of even more people.

    • Cathy, 100%.
      And this from SMH Newspaper 24/2/2023, “Pollution from traffic killing more than crashes” by Patrick Hatch

      “Traffic pollution may be causing more than 11,000 deaths in Australia every year – a figure five times higher than previously estimated and 10 times the number who die in road crashes.

      Leading health groups say urgent action is needed in light of growing evidence that suggests rates of heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, diabetes, childhood asthma and early death caused by road pollution have been vastly underestimated.

      An expert position statement to be released by the Melbourne Climate Futures centre at the University of Melbourne today says Australia has no robust figures about the true health impact of pollution from cars, trucks and other vehicles to guide policy decisions.

      Fine particulate matter released from vehicle exhaust pipes can cause a range of respiratory, neurological and cardiovascular diseases as well as adverse birth outcomes and diabetes.

      Various estimates have previously suggested this exhaust-pipe pollution causes no more than 2000 deaths a year. But the new expert position statement says Australia has never considered the impact of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from vehicle emissions.

      ‘‘What we’re finding now from international studies is that they’re both important, and in particular, we’ve underestimated the harmful effects of nitrogen dioxide,’’ said Dr Vicki Kotsirilos, a GP and an associate professor at Western Sydney University.

      The estimate is based on the findings of a New Zealand government study released last year that considered effects of NO2 from vehicle pollution for the first time.

      That peer-reviewed research found 2200 people die prematurely in New Zealand every year due to the pollution – a conclusion the research team said startled them.

      Applied to Australia, the findings suggest vehicle emissions cause 11,105 premature deaths. Last year, 1187 people died in crashes on Australian roads.”

      • There is a direct correlation between the amount of fossil fuels a population uses, and life expectancy. This can be seen throughout the world and time. Before fossil fuels, your ancestors life expectancy was half of yours.
        Pre-industrial rates of heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, childhood asthma and early death due to burning dung, green wood, or pretty much anything they could get their hands on to make fire, were responsible for a literally countless numbers of deaths every year. The rise in population did not drive the rise in coal use. Coal use drove the increase in population. China just commissioned another 12 coal fired mega plants, just one of which could solve Australia’s power shortages and power bill blowouts


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