Errol and Linda Rheinberger, Louise Ward, and Paul Kowalski from Gracemere are opposed to a 24/7 service station and truck stop being built on this vacant block of land near the Gracemere Overpass. They are concerned about flooding (inset shows water over the site in 2013) and heavy trucks turning.
Errol and Linda Rheinberger, Louise Ward, and Paul Kowalski from Gracemere are opposed to a 24/7 service station and truck stop being built on this vacant block of land near the Gracemere Overpass. They are concerned about flooding (inset shows water over the site in 2013) and heavy trucks turning. Michelle Gately

Residents angry over 24/7 truck stop planned for floodplain

GRACEMERE residents are up in arms over an application for a 24/7 fuel station and truck stop on flood prone land.

The development is proposed near the intersection from the Capricorn Hwy onto the overpass directing traffic to the Gracemere Industrial Area.

Although land is zoned as rural and close to the industrial precinct, residents and business owners are concerned about flooding at the site and the volume of heavy traffic which would be turning into the truck stop.

The proposed service station and truck stop would include light and heavy vehicle refuelling, four 90,000L double walled underground storage systems, a tanker refuelling area, truck parking area, and a shop.

Paul Kowalski, part of Gracemere Industry Inc, has lived in the area for 21 years and seen water cover the proposed site in multiple floods.

The last time the site flooded for several days was 2013.

Mr Kowalski was at the planning and regulatory meeting where the development was discussed, along with residents Errol and Linda Rheinberger and fellow Gracemere Industry Inc member Louise Ward.

Councillors heard the fuel storage and bowsers would be covered by water in a one-in-100 year flood, but dispensers would be dry.

The site of a proposed 24/7 service station and truck stop near Gracemere was under water during the 2013 floods.
The site of a proposed 24/7 service station and truck stop near Gracemere was under water during the 2013 floods. Contributed

"My concern is that this opens the way for anyone to build anything in any floodplain,” Ms Ward said.

The group were also worried about the volume of heavy trucks, including B-triples, that would turn into the service station from the west.

A $50 million overpass was built in 2013 to close two high-risk level crossings and avoid long queues of large trucks turning into the industrial precinct.

"The overpass was built with considerable community lobbying to allow safe access,” Ms Ward said.

"The proposal takes away the purpose of the overpass.”

Cr Ellen Smith spoke passionately against the proposal, saying she could not support such a development on low-lying flood land.

Traffic and vehicle safety was also a major concern for Cr Smith, who chaired the planning and regulatory committee where the application was debated.

"I am always in favour of good developments, especially in Gracemere,” she said.

"This is a great development, but in the wrong place.

"I have spent a good part of my life (30 years) working in fuel depots and service stations, and i cannot support a service station that has its bowsers and especially its underground tanks subjected to known mapped and identified flooding.

"I acknowledge that underground tanks are conditioned to be tied down to prevent them rising to the surface in a flood event, and a detention basin has been conditioned to catch contaminants, which to me, looks good on paper, but I fail to see how all contaminants, especially from the truck parking area will directly flow into the detention basin.

"The commentary even states that not all contaminants especially in the truck parking area will be captured.”

The proposed site would have three road frontages (Wy Wurry Rd, Malchi Nine Mile Rd and the Capricorn Hwy), but the main entry and exit points will be on Wy Wurry Rd.

A light vehicle area will have space for six vehicles to refuel at any one time and up to 18 queuing, while the heavy vehicle area will have space for three vehicles to refuel and three to queue.

The associated shop would include a food and drink service, indoor and outdoor seating, and storage.

Full 24-hour, seven day a week opening hours were proposed.

Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow spoke in favour of the development saying the site was "ideal”.

"I'm comfortable we're going to meet Australian standards (for turning lanes) and all of those issues have been ticked off,” she said.

Flooding issues were addressed in a report presented to council, which stated that there would not be any impacts on surrounding properties due to proposed earthworks.

Council officers recommended the application be approved by the committee and three of five voted in favour of it.

The committee's approval will be subject to further debate at the general council meeting next week.



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