North Ballina BP manager Scott Smith and employee Tash Geyer are gearing up to offer a new 24-hour service to drivers now the Caltex Big Prawn complex has shut up shop on the other side of town.
North Ballina BP manager Scott Smith and employee Tash Geyer are gearing up to offer a new 24-hour service to drivers now the Caltex Big Prawn complex has shut up shop on the other side of town. Rebecca Lollback

BP steps in to fill Big Prawn gap

A BALLINA service station has wasted no time in filling the hole  left by the closure of the Big Prawn complex.

The North Ballina BP yesterday confirmed it has now started 24-hour trading.

Concerns had been raised that Ballina would be without an all-night service station once the Caltex at the Big Prawn complex closed, which happened at 6am on Monday.

Ballina is the only major stop for trucks and buses bet-ween Grafton and Chinderah.

However, Bruce Jones, the manager of sales and distribution for Reliance Petroleum, which also owns the Big Pine-apple BP at West Ballina, said the company could see a need to change the operating hours at the North Ballina BP to meet public demand.

“This is about catering for a need,” he said.

“We realised there would be a gap in the service if we didn’t do this.

“Over the course of the next six weeks or so, we will be also doing alterations to the interior of building to better cater for the 24-hour trade.

“We are looking at offering food in some form, but we need to do some renovation work.”

Mr Jones also confirmed that extra staff had been employed to work at the North Ballina BP.

But he said the service station would only stay open around the clock while it was viable, considering the Ballina bypass is scheduled for completion in 2012.

Lennox Head developer Chris Condon is planning to build a new service centre on the bypass at the Teven Road interchange.

With the Caltex at the Big Prawn now closed, Greyhound buses have moved the pick-up/drop-off point to the Tamar Street bus interchange.

Meal breaks are now taken at Chinderah, but a spokesman for Greyhound said that might be reconsidered if the North Ballina BP started offering food.

“The Ballina stop is something that we would prefer to stick with, because it works better for us,” he said.

“At the moment we will keep the meal break at Chinderah.

“But we’ll be keeping an eye on the situation and we’ll see what happens.”



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