Caltex franchisee Milemaker Petroleum has applied to the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) to build a service station with 6 double-pumps on the land between the southern ends of Jetty Road and Portarlington Road.
CoGG has invited public comments on the proposal during the period 21 January to 7 February 2014. A plan of the proposal is shown above. The red triangle shows the property affected; the blue arrow on the right points to the location of the proposed service station; and the proposal includes plans for a road connecting Jetty Road and Portarlington Road across the property, but this isn't shown.
Details of the proposal are allegedly available from CoGG's web site, but today, at least, they weren't! Hard copies are available at all CoGG Customer Service Centres. For further information, contact Grant Logan at CoGG's Planning Department (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Milemaker’s application has been submitted by Contour Consultants Australia p/l of 4/580 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne.
Inviting comment while preventing it
The council’s handling of this application has been inept in three ways:
1. Unfair deadline for comment. CoGG has set a shorter period for public comment than it took to act on the application. The council received the application on 30 December 2013 and sat on it for 22 days (until 21 January 2014) before publicising it. Yet people wishing to comment on the application have only 17 days to do so – the closing date for objections is 7 February 2014.
2. Inappropriate timing. CoGG has invited public comment at precisely the time when a lot of local people are unable to comment because they are away on holiday. The council has a lengthy record of doing this - inviting local people to comment on planning proposals at times when many of us are absent from the area and, therefore, unaware of the proposals.
3. Inaccessible notices. While the council has discharged its duty to display notices advising of this application for a planning permit on the property concerned, gaining access to the notices requires you to pick your way from the road side over uneven ground and across a ditch along the property’s fence line. There are no road reservations, so drivers must park on grass verges that tilt towards the ditch. Consequently, reading the notices is virtually impossible for many types of people, including people with prams/pushchairs, elderly people who are unsteady on their feet and, of course, anyone with limited mobility.
For years, community associations (including those on the Bellarine) and individuals have criticised the council consistently for its handling of what it calls ‘public consultations’; and the council has ignored its critics just as consistently. This doesn’t inspire confidence that the council will act on comments about the proposed service station.
More detail about the proposal will follow once all the documents have been read.