Corowa residents, including many living close by to land recently approved for a 24/7 car wash, are furious that Federation Council didn’t oppose the development application at last week’s meeting.
Land in John and Bow streets near the soon-to-be upgraded skate park was rezoned five years ago, paving the way for the venture and making it the second car wash in town.
Council received 43 objections with most residents saying they were not against a second car wash, just the location.
One of the first objectors to the development was Corowa resident Margaret McDonald who is about to move into her newly-built home on the corner of John and Bow streets, opposite the planned car wash.
Mrs McDonald sent council her house plans and letter of objection back in February when she saw the development application first advertised but did not get a response at the time.
The only communication she received was a letter of receipt in May.
Mrs McDonald’s main concerns are that the business will be operating 24/7 and that the exit in Bow Street comes directly across from her bedroom window.
“The lights will be on all night and that’s only the start of it,” she said.
Construction of her home started in June and she plans on moving in next weekend.
Mrs McDonald said she would have made adjustments to her house plans had she known for certain that the car wash was definitely going to go ahead.
“I would have suggested maybe the applicant help pay for double glazed windows to start with to keep the noise and lights out,” she said.
“The curtains and blinds are already done and they are not a real block-out material because I didn’t realise this car wash was going ahead.
“Given that this has taken so long to go through council, I am quite disgusted really.
“I don’t have any confidence in the council as a whole in making decisions now.
“I have spoken to councillors Fred Longmire and Gail Law and thanked them very much for voting against it.”
Mrs McDonald said the most disappointing part of it all was that council had dismissed all of the public’s objections.
“For 43 objections to be brought before council and for them to say it met all the legal and environmental requirements is absolutely ridiculous,” she said.
Council received 43 objections but at its October 17 meeting councillors voted 5-2 in favour of the development, with Pat Bourke later telling the Free Press he would have voted in favour had there needed to be a deciding vote.
Cr Shaun Whitechurch declared a pecuniary interest.
The development application is subject to 24 conditions, including operating within the NSW noise legislation and complying within the guidelines for outdoor lighting.
One of the other conditions is that all stormwater and surface water discharging from the site, buildings and works must be conveyed to the legal point of discharge by underground pipe drains to the satisfaction of council.
No effluent, polluted or wastewater of any type may be allowed to enter the council’s stormwater drainage system or any road, stream, river or other waterway reserve.
Another objector is long-time Corowa resident Pat Brody who was also an observer at the monthly council meeting.
“I was completely stunned that the decision was made to approve the car wash,” she said.
“This has been on the radar since February but has been left off the agenda until now and the question why has to be asked.
“Three of the new councillors do not live in town and I believe they are unfamiliar with the demographics and local situation.
“Over 40 opposition submissions have been dismissed.”
Pat said the problem was not with a second car wash, but with the location.
“I have changed my mind about buying property in John Street and sympathise with residents of the area,” she said.
“Traffic movement has not been properly addressed and the whole ambience of the green space will be lost.”
Meanwhile, the Corowa Skate Park Committee is concerned Federation Council has approved the development application which will be right next door to the Corowa Skate Park and on land that is located within a residential and popular community recreational space.
Skate Park Committee Spokeswoman Ellen Lewis said placing the industrial facility in the proposed location would undoubtedly forever alter the way the park area was perceived by the community.
“This development will have a major impact on the functioning of the skate park and the local neighbourhood, particularly in relation to the safety and security of the many children and youth who access the area daily,” she said.
There is now talk of residents starting a petition against the development.
Peter Atkins and James Webb, who are the applicants of the car wash development, saw a business opportunity about four years ago and purchased the land.
“We did our research in terms of purchasing the block and the Corowa Council at the time believed it was feasible provided that the development application was approved,” he said.
“We are fairly confident that the town could do with another facility.”
Mr Atkins said its consultant had read through all of the objections and believes many of the concerns have been addressed in the conditions imposed on the development application.
“The council engineer appears happy with the application,” he said.
Mr Atkins said the venture was about investing in the town’s future so that the town can grow.