New BP plan must ad­dress con­cerns

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - War­ren Hately

Shire of­fi­cers have met BP Aus­tralia to dis­cuss ton­ing down its pro­posal for a 24-hour ser­vice sta­tion on the south­ern out­skirts of Cowaramup.

Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor Dale Put­land told the Times plan­ners would wait to see the amended ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore de­cid­ing if the pro­posal re­quired fur­ther ad­ver­tis­ing be­fore go­ing be­fore coun­cil­lors for a vote.

“The Shire’s sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment team shared all com­ments made dur­ing the pub­lic sub­mis­sion pe­riod and re­quested the ap­pli­cant ad­dress as ( many of those con­cerns) as they can,” Dr Put­land said. “The ap­pli­cant in­di­cated that they are will­ing to look at ap­pear­ance, screen­ing, hours of op­er­a­tion, ac­cess and size.

“How­ever, they also made it clear that BP will only let them go so far with the changes.”

The Shire would only know the ex­tent of re­vi­sions once the pro­posal was re­sub­mit­ted.

Res­i­dents have op­posed plans for the BP sta­tion and as­so­ci­ated Wild Bean Cafe, say­ing the de­vel­op­ment would be an eye­sore and un­fairly hin­der ex­ist­ing Cowaramup traders.

Protest group Cowaramup Says No mem­bers at­tended this week’s coun­cil meet­ing to ques­tion mem­bers about the pro­posal.

Group con­venor Anne Parker said the BP ap­pli­ca­tion was be­yond the size and scope ex­pected by res­i­dents and was not in tune with the in­ten­tion of the Cowaramup Vil­lage Strat­egy doc­u­ment, which in­forms growth around the town cen­tre.

“Based on the coun­cil’s fail­ure to con­sider en­vi­ron­ment and her­itage re­gard­ing the (win­ter di­ver­sion) cy­cle track, we are not con­fi­dent that they can make hard de­ci­sions,” she said. “The pro­po­nents have in­di­cated that they are only pre­pared to go so far in re­vis­ing their sub­mis­sion.

“For ratepay­ers and res­i­dents of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River Shire to have con­fi­dence in the coun­cil, the feed­back of the lo­cal com­mu­nity who will be im­pacted by the de­ci­sion must be para­mount in de­ci­sion-mak­ing.”

Shire pres­i­dent Ian Earl said coun­cil­lors were ham­strung by the pro­posal be­cause re­fus­ing it would lose the lim­ited con­trol the Shire had to mod­ify the de­vel­op­ment.

He said ar­gu­ments that the 24hour BP would be needed for truck driv­ers were in­cor­rect be­cause trucks would re­fuel at de­pots where fuel was cheaper.

Graf­fiti sprayed on Bus­sell High­way this week ar­gu­ing against the BP sta­tion raised the ire of longterm res­i­dents, who said the mes­sage should be com­mu­ni­cated through of­fi­cial chan­nels.

BP Aus­tralia de­clined to com­ment.

A rally will be held at Pi­o­neer Park on Fe­bru­ary 19, from 10am to noon, to voice op­po­si­tion.

Pic­ture: War­ren Hately

Cowaramup Says No pro­test­ers say the fuel sta­tion plan will test the coun­cil’s en­gage­ment.

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