Gull concerns raised
Fears a new un-manned petrol station would mean a ‘‘desolate concrete space’’ for Tokoroa’s main drag have been countered by developers opening the door to working with local council on the area after originally scuttling their plans.
A controversial proposal for a 24-hour un-manned Gull service station alongside SH1 in Tokoroa had its resource consent hearing on Friday.
South Waikato District Council attended the hearing to defend their original plan of working with landholders Raukawa on using the site as part of a possible revamp of Leith Place.
The day- long hearing was overseen by independent commissioner Alan Watson.
Mayor Neil Sinclair was adamant there had always been a plan for the ‘‘Blue Building’’, the old bus station on Bridge St, which would be demolished if the station were to go ahead.
Sinclair said there had been past discussions about the building with Raukawa.
‘‘ It is evident that the blue building has always been part of council’s thinking for the development of the central area,’’ he said.
Morrissey’s clothing store owner Larry Sullivan, focused on the future.
The Leith Place business owner said his surprise over the plans announced last year were followed by ‘‘disappointment’’.
Although he was worried over the station becoming a ‘‘desolate concrete space’’ he was just as concerned over traffic safety.
‘‘I have witnessed hundreds of driver errors and a number of accidents in this area over the years and now to add a fuel station’s entry and exit to this area will without doubt cause added errors and accidents,’’ he said.
Representing Gull was planning consultant Tracy Hayson and Gull retail development and sustainability manager Karl Mischewski.
Raukawa iwi development chairwoman Vanessa Eparaima was in support of Gull’s proposal.
And she said the blue building’s involvement in the Leith Place development was never a sure thing.
‘‘I’m aware there has been discussions in place, in our view they have been aspirational and there has been no formal discussions,’’ she said.
While Raukawa had seemingly turned their back on the collaboration with the council, Mischewski said there was still a chance to work together.
In the proposed plan there would be vacant land.
‘‘We’re still open to the idea if they want a super loo or information centre . . . if the council potentially don’t get their way, we’re still happy to work with them,’’ he said.
Mischewski said although the council does not see any economic benefit for the town in the way of employment he believed Gull could cover other areas.
He said the ‘‘low prices’’ will create a ‘‘ripple effect’’.
‘‘We think there will be a significant benefit in terms of lower fuel prices . . . miraculously the other fuel prices will drop.’’ Street lights have claimed top spot for complaints. The South Waikato District Council received 445 service requests in the last financial year. The requests were up by 62 on the previous year. Of these requests, 94 per cent were dealt to in the required time frame. Vandalism of street lights has also been an issue. Some were damaged by stones thrown at them. The replacement of lights that are not able to be repaired is about $3000. A $10,000 speed monitor purchased in 2009 has been found useful. The cost of the Australian imported device was split between the South Waikato District Council and ACC and has been used district-wide, recording speeds of up to 173 kilometres per hour.