Second 24-hour highway service centre approved in Gunnedah

The sub-division site.

The sub-division site.

Development has been approved for a second 24-hour service station on Gunnedah’s town fringe.

It is proposed the business be located within earshot of another new service centre, approved by council in August.

The latest development includes a service station, truck facilities, convenience store, two refuelling canopies and parking for up to 49 vehicles in a new industrial sub-division adjacent to the Kamilaroi Highway, north of Gunnedah.

It is near identical to the August approval of a 24-hour service station, convenience store and restaurant less than 500m away opposite the saleyards at the corner of Stockman Close and Kamilaroi Highway.

That approval caused a stir with some nearby residents concerned about increased traffic movements.

Council’s director planning and environmental services Andrew Johns said it was still early days for both developments, which require construction certificates before proceeding further.

“They might both go ahead,” Mr Johns said, highlighting the encouraging potential of bringing new business to town.

“[The developments] are certainly a positive thing for Gunnedah.”

Less thrilled were operators of nearby Inland Petroleum, an existing independent service station sandwiched between the two newcomers on the scene.

A spokesman expected their trade would be adversely affected by the developments, but said there was nothing they could do.

Developers of the the latest service centre forecast a two per cent increase in traffic within the surrounding road network and expect “industrial receivers” in nearby lots will provide a noise buffer to the nearest residential property 450 metres away.

First look: Plans for the second 24-hour service station off the Kamilaroi Highway near Gunnedah. This development is planned in a new industrial sub-division.

First look: Plans for the second 24-hour service station off the Kamilaroi Highway near Gunnedah. This development is planned in a new industrial sub-division.

The site is regarded as “potential koala habitat” due to the density of koala feed trees in the area, but not “core koala habitat”, as historical records do not identify the site as having sightings of koalas, according to the development application.

An enlargement of the sub-division service station.

An enlargement of the sub-division service station.

Australian Koala Foundation chief executive Deborah Tabart said a koala’s chance of survival in that area was already grim, because of its close proximity to the highway, but there was a way developers could help.

“From a marketing perspective, it would be great if they could advise motorists to slow down for koalas,” she said.

Gunnedah’s economic surge was not lost on Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson, who visited this week to announce nearly $2 million in state funding for a sewerage plant upgrade. 

Investment knocking: The site of the second 24-hour highway service centre planned for the Kamilaroi Highway in Gunnedah.

Investment knocking: The site of the second 24-hour highway service centre planned for the Kamilaroi Highway in Gunnedah.

Mr Anderson said while most regional centres with populations around 10,0000 were declining, Gunnedah was expanding.