The development of a highway service centre along the Pacific Highway at Bulahdelah has become more certain.
At the June strategic committee meeting MidCoast Council resolved to complete an internal assessment of the planning proposal for a highway service centre at Bulahdelah and bring back a report in relation to seeking a gateway determination for the project.
Council also requested a letter be written to Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) advising it was reviewing the Great Lakes Highway Service Centre Strategy of 2004.
At the time council noted the commitment of the proponents to enter a planning agreement for township improvements and that the planning agreement be developed with the Chamber of Commerce and community after a gateway determination was issued.
To assist towns which were by-passed following the Pacific Highway upgrade the former Great Lakes Council, with funding from the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority, developed and adopted the Great Lakes Highway Service Centre Strategy (HSCS) in 2004.
The strategy does not support out-of-town service centres in Karuah, Bulahdelah, Coolongolook or Nabiac.
The Great Lakes LEP 1996 was amended in 2014 to reinforce this position, making highway service centres prohibited in rural zones.
In a report presented by special projects co-ordinator, Richard Pamplin said trade in Bulahdelah decreased markedly following the by-pass.
“It is understood that trade has now begun to increase, albeit well below previous levels as Bulahdelah redefines its market and businesses adjust,” Mr Pamplin wrote.
“While a rationalisation of businesses has occurred, new businesses have also been attracted to the town – for example a national franchise Oliver’s which is normally found in highway services centres has been operating in the town since late December 2017.”
The proposed site was located adjacent to the Bulahdelah north interchange on the eastern side of the Pacific Highway.
Consistent with HSCS, both Coolongolook and Nabiac have evolved into highway service towns establishing a number of highway trade orientated business.
A court approved centre north of the Nabiac turn-off has yet to be developed, while a DA has been received for a northbound centre at Coolongolook.
Also at the June meeting, council deferred consideration of a planning proposal application for a Tea Gardens Highway Service Centre to the September meeting to allow the proponent an opportunity to address access issues raised by the RMS.
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