20/12/2016 - 12:41

Dunsborough community concern over Puma plan

20/12/2016 - 12:41

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A planning stoush has emerged in the seaside town of Dunsborough over a proposed Puma fuel station on one of the last vacant development blocks on Dunn Bay Road.

The proposed Puma Energy site.

A planning stoush has emerged in the seaside town of Dunsborough over a proposed Puma fuel station on one of the last vacant development blocks on Dunn Bay Road.

The plan has been in the works for more than a decade, with the site bought in 2002 for the purpose of developing a shopping centre and a service station.

Landowner DCSC Pty Ltd, which counts Primewest director Jim Litis as one of its significant shareholders, went ahead with construction of Dunsborough Centrepoint Shopping Centre (DCSC), but until 2014 had not reached a suitable agreement to build the petrol station at Lot 108 Dunn Bay Road.

In 2014, DCSC signed fuel distributor Puma Energy to operate the station, paving the way for the lodgement of a development application in early 2015.

But the southern joint development assessment panel rejected the plan in December of that year, on the basis that it did not fit into the City of Busselton’s planning strategies.

The DAP also said the station would likely have a detrimental impact on the visual and pedestrian amenity of Dunn Bay Road.

DCSC appealed against that decision at the State Administrative Tribunal, which ruled in August last year that the proposal constituted a convenience store rather than a petrol station, and sent the plan back to the DAP for another assessment.

In November, the DAP again rejected the proposal, again on the basis that it did not adhere to town planning guidelines.

Another appeal over the DAP’s rejection of the plan will be heard by the SAT on February 1 next year, but a grassroots campaign against the project could result in the land being sold before the development goes ahead.

One of the locals active in the Puma2Go action group is photographer Christian Fletcher, who told Business News that the community was considering banding together and buying the plot.

“At one of the meetings we had, one of the developers said the land was for sale if we wanted to buy it,” Mr Fletcher said.

“So we thought we’ll crowdfund it, we’ll get the community together and we’ll buy the damn land and turn it into a park or something like that.

“Ultimately, the town folks want to retain the individual, village feel that Dunsborough is starting to get.

“The shire is working hard to get the place looking good and planning it right, and this sort of flies in the face of everything they want to do, and in the face of everything that the community is looking for.”

Mr Fletcher said the action group wasn’t opposed to Puma opening a facility in Dunsborough; rather it was more concerned about its location.

He said the community group was also in talks with a landowner at Dunsborough’s industrial area to facilitate an alternative deal for Puma.

“You don’t need petrol stations in the centre of town; that’s where you walk around, you want to go to restaurants, you want to have nice parks, that just makes sense,” Mr Fletcher said.

“But three petrol stations on the main street in such a small town, that’s just ludicrous.”

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