The proposed demolition of the Big Prawn with the Caltex Truck Stop and Transit Cenetre at Ballina next year will cause chaos for truck drivers like John New on weekly runs.
The proposed demolition of the Big Prawn with the Caltex Truck Stop and Transit Cenetre at Ballina next year will cause chaos for truck drivers like John New on weekly runs. Doug Eaton

Big Prawn an ideal break spot

TRUCK driver John New stops at Ballina's Big Prawn every week on his trips from Forster to Brisbane.

He said it is an 'ideal place' to have a break.

“The road is really wide and there's lots of parking, so it's pretty easy for trucks to stop at the Big Prawn,” Mr New said.

“I would stop there every week. I check the load, go to the toilet, have a drink and a break. There's plenty of room and we can get off the road.”

But if plans to demolish the Big Prawn are approved by Ballina Shire Council, Mr New said he would no longer stop in Ballina.

“I guess I'll just keep going because there's nowhere else to stop,” he said.

“There will be nowhere between Grafton and Chinderah where trucks can stop. Sometimes we stop at Woodburn, but generally that's only late at night, because it's too busy during the day. So I guess I will have to drive straight through to Chinderah.

“It's disappointing that they want to get rid of it (the Big Prawn). How will we know we're in Ballina if it's not there? It's a landmark and it's convenient.”

Hernes Freight Service general manager, Kevin Talbot, agreed that getting rid of the Big Prawn would mean truck drivers would have nowhere to stop for the three-hour drive between Grafton and Chinderah.

“There is nothing else,” he said.

“The Government is bringing in all these laws that require drivers to stop every few hours, but now there will be nowhere for them to do that.

“The Government must supply more rest areas along the highway. We cannot have these new laws if we don't have the infrastructure to support drivers.”

Lennox Head developer Chris Condon is planning to build a new service centre once the Ballina bypass is finished at the end of 2012.

But the Big Prawn could be demolished as early as next year.

According to NRMA Motoring and Services, up to 30 per cent of all fatal heavy vehicle crashes are linked to fatigue.

WHAT WILL YOU MISS ABOUT THE BIG PRAWN? Phone 6624 3266 or SMS 0428 264 948

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