Condon given six months for plans
LENNOX HEAD developer Chris Condon has been given six months to get plans for the proposed Ballina bypass service centre up to scratch.
A decision on the service centre, which would cost about $20 million and include a new Big Prawn, has already been deferred by Ballina Shire Council three times.
The proposal will go before councillors again this week.
With more than 5000sqm of retail space, Mr Condon’s service centre at the Teven Road interchange would be one of the biggest between Brisbane and Sydney.
It would comprise a petrol station, truck service centre, two food outlets (one with 50 seats and the other with 100 seats), an auto repair centre, two fast food restaurants, and car parking.
Mr Condon is still waiting for designs for a new Big Prawn, which would be also built at the site.
The council has recommended Mr Condon be given until July 31 to address var-ious issues with the project.
These include concerns the centre will not be big enough for B-doubles; that access will be ‘challenging’ for north-bound drivers; and that the layout of the centre is ‘confusing’. The council also says noise management issues have not been addressed.
If more information on the project is not available by July 31 the matter will be submitted to the August council meeting for a review and/or decision.
“Despite numerous revised plans to date, the site has not adequately designed and cat-ered for the required percentage of heavy vehicles the RTA requires within a service centre,” a report from the council’s regulatory services group states.
The RTA is also unhappy with the current plans.
It says it will only allow Mr Condon access to the service station from the bypass if certain changes are made, including parking spaces for at least 25 heavy vehicles.
The current proposal has 23 spaces.
The RTA also wants more information on how 26m-long B-doubles will be able to manoeuvre around the site.
But project planner Steve Connelly said the current application was ‘sufficiently comprehensive’ for the council to evaluate it and make a decision.
“I’m confounded by the concerns that it (the planned service centre) is not big enough for B-doubles,” he said.
“We’ve met with the RTA on a number of occasions.
“There is more than adequate land within the site tocater for the number of B-double trucks that they are now talking about.
“Certainly it’s easier for traffic heading south to access the site.
“It’s on the eastern side of the motorway.
“People coming from the other direction will have to leave the motorway to enter the site, in exactly the same way as they do at service centres up and down the highway route.
“I’m not really sure what else we could do.
“However, the council officers’ report has raised a number of matters which they are unclear about.
“I’ll be more than happy to provide the clarity they seek and will probably be able to do so within 15 days.”
Mr Connelly said he hoped the council would make a decision on the service centre at its March meeting.