Murrumbateman residents are rallying around their long-standing service station and convenience store following news a second service station could be built just five minutes up the road.
Catalyze Property Consulting said the new service station on Longrail Gully Road, north of Murrumbateman, will encourage growth for the village by providing jobs for locals and supporting tourism and freight transport along the Barton Highway.
However, residents say the BP branded petrol station and Friendly Grocer on East Street, Murrumbateman, fronting Barton Highway, sufficiently service locals and motorists between the nearby town of Yass and Canberra.
“The service station in Murrumbateman could become obsolete and for what – calling it progress,” said one resident, who wished to remain anonymous.
“I don’t believe in cutting down a small or established business for the benefit of some.”
Wayne Alford said it didn’t make sense to have two service stations in Murrumbateman given motorists can also refuel 15 minutes away in Yass, or 20 minutes away in the Canberra suburb of Nicholls.
“If someone wanted to stop, I’d rather they support the pub or IGA [Friendly Grocer] than a corporate monstrosity,” he said.
Murrumbateman BP and Friendly Grocer manager Avy Bajwa said it was “really good” to have the community’s support.
“I’ve been the manager since 2016 and we really love our locals,” he said. “I try to keep them happy by keeping our fuel prices low. It’s really good they have backed us.”
Mr Bajwa said his business was also thinking about expanding as the Barton Highway gets busier, with more people choosing to live in Yass and commute to Canberra.
He said Murrumbateman BP is in a difficult location for caravans to turn around and that they were considering building a high-flow diesel pump on the corner.
“It will also be good for locals because there are a lot of four-by-four vehicles around here, and farmers get all their fuel here,” said Mr Bajwa.
However, Murrumbateman BP could be cut off from Barton Highway traffic altogether if the proposed bypass from Vallencia Drive to the Gounyan Curves realignment goes ahead.
In this case, Murrumbateman resident Amanda Halliday said the second service station outside Murrumbateman will be beneficial, especially as the Barton Highway will have been duplicated by that stage.
Yass Valley Council is currently assessing the planning proposal which seeks to amend the Yass Valley Local Environmental Plan 2013 to facilitate a highway service centre on land zoned RU1 Primary Production.
The site is located on the western side of Barton Highway and has been used for grazing until now. The highway service centre will have a footprint of about two hectares.
“The unique characteristics of the site are as a result of upgrades to the Barton Highway and land resumption,” said Catalyze Property Consulting. “The landowners have been left with an unusual lot in that it is of modest size and has direct frontage to the Barton Highway and indirect access from Longrail Gully Road.
“In addition, it is conveniently located between Murrumbateman and Yass to provide a rest point for motorists and truck drivers without causing any amenity impacts on neighbouring residential properties.”
Ecological, Aboriginal due diligence and traffic assessments have been completed and the planning proposal is on public exhibition until 5:00 pm on Monday, 7 June, 2021.