Kallista fuel fear

The site of the proposed service station in Kallista. 211709 Picture: GARY SISSONS

Kallista residents and business owners are fuming at the proposed development of a petrol station in the town’s main street.

A planning application for 80-82 Monbulk Road, Kallista, seeks to use the site to develop a service station with a convenience store. This development would include vegetation removal and alteration of access to a road.

The planning application was advertised in early July for two weeks.

Kallista resident Jes Chalmers said advertising during school holidays and Stage 3 Covid-19 restrictions meant less people would be aware of the proposal.

“Most of the shops have been closed or running on a reduced schedule during this time meaning that residents have not had the visibility of the planning submission reducing our chance to have a unified voice in objection,” she said.

Ms Chalmers also raised numerous other concerns about the proposed petrol station. She said it posed a risk to the community due to its extreme fire risk and proximity to important local sites.

“It is questionable as to how Council could accept such a proposal placing an entire community in further risk of fire and allowing a significant combustible fuel-based business to be placed directly within our main shops, near a significant forest, school and kindergarten,” she said.

“The safety risk that this poses to our community is unquestionably high.”

Kallista Organic Market owner Marty Brock said it was inevitable that local businesses would be impacted if the development went ahead.

“Having a petrol station right next door to our organic grocery store will be detrimental to our business, we do feed a community and I believe customers will not be happy purchasing produce that could be tainted with the fumes from petrol,“ he said.

“I also believe it will affect surrounding businesses. Between us, The General Store, The Kallista Deli and Mad Raven pizza, we are the heart of Kallista and it could have dire consequences for all of us.“

A petition on change.org which calls on Yarra Ranges Council to stop the development of a petrol station in Kallista has also received 380 signatures so far.

Yarra Ranges Council’s director of planning, design and development Kath McClusky said the advertisement for the planning application met legislative requirements.

She said submissions on the application would be accepted until a decision was made by the council.

“Notification was in accordance with the requirements of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, with two signboards erected on the site at 80-82 Monbulk Road in Kallista and community members in the immediate surrounds were notified of the application in writing,” she said.

“To date we have had strong community engagement, with over 120 submissions received on this planning application.

“We encourage submissions on planning applications to be submitted as soon as possible, so they can be addressed in the decision-making process.”

To make a submission, visit yarraranges.vic.gov.au/eplanning and type in either the site address or application number YR-2019/904.