Stop Sign for Station

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Golden Bay residents Lisa Critchley and Kate Williams, with Tiare 4, Lucy 3, Hana 2.
Camera IconGolden Bay residents Lisa Critchley and Kate Williams, with Tiare 4, Lucy 3, Hana 2. Credit: Holly Thompson/ Sound Telegraph/Picture: Holly Thompson, Holly Thompson/ Sound Telegraph

Fears a proposed service station close to homes and childcare centres will be a cancer risk has seen Rockingham council recommend the idea be scrapped

A Joint Development Assessment Panel application to construct a 7/11 in Golden Bay was submitted at the beginning of February.

The application details a “fuel retailing building...including a service yard and bin enclosure area, two underground fuel storage tanks and an associated filling point to accommodate fuel tankers and a fuel canopy.” The application also included a gymnasium and a commercial tenancy building.

Community consultation for this proposal showed 90 per cent of respondents were opposed.

At a council meeting held last week, Cr Lorna Buchan put forward a motion, recommending JDAP refuse the application rather than defer it, as City staff had advised.

Cr Buchan said the residents of Golden Bay were “not against development”, but the location of the proposed petrol station was “concerning”.

She said the Environmental Protection Agency recommended a 200m buffer between all 24/7 service stations and sensitive land uses. Within 200m from the site there are two planned childcare centres, 130 homes, a primary school, an approved residential subdivision backing on to the service station and two family daycares operating from residential addresses.

“The Department of Health has given quite a considerable response, particularly in relation to the emission of benzene, a human carcinogen,” Cr Buchan said.

The department has shared concern surrounding potential negative health impacts on the community in general and young children in particular.

Golden Bay resident Nikki Lee lives about 100m from the proposed service station and also runs one of the home daycares.

“Benzene is a known human carcinogen, it causes health issues for children and adults, including leukaemia and bone marrow depletion,” Ms Lee said.

“We are expecting to have developments happening around us, but this service station does pose serious health risks.

“There would also be traffic build-up, with no easy access from the station back to the main road.

“What I envisage is a backlog of cars, people getting frustrated and accidents happening.”

Golden Bay resident Lisa Critchley, said most people who lived there did so for the natural environment that surrounded it.

“We live here because we love the environment and the clean air, and this service station just doesn’t enhance our community at all, it will pollute it,” she said.

“I think there would be a lot of people who may not even know about the health risks associated with benzene, it is not necessarily something that is easy to find out about.”

A third resident, Kate Williams, said “placing a service station down in the middle of a residential area is just not really appropriate.”

Cr Buchan said on behalf of residents, council should support her alternate motion. Cr Hayley Edwards said she would support it, but it had been a tough decision for her.

Cr Hayley Edwards supported opposing the project, but warned once council recommended the refusal, the final decision would rest with JDAP, a state government body.

The proponent would be able to take the matter to the State Administrative Tribunal, if JDAP refuses it.

The motion to recommend refusal was carried unanimously. Ms Lee said she would be at the JDAP meeting being held on Friday, to see what they decide.

The proponent, Planning Solutions, was contacted but declined to comment.

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