‘We can’t give kids gas masks’: Parent’s servo woes

A concerned parent is pleading with Sunshine Coast Council to undertake air quality monitoring before a controversial petrol station in Maleny begins pumping.

Dr Adrian McCallum wants the council to put its "adult hat on" and agree to the testing at the site less than 100m away from Maleny State School.

Community members rallied in 2018 and 2019 against the development due to air quality and traffic concerns.

But the efforts of the No Fuel Opposite Our School Ever group and others were not enough to stop the Bunya St proposal.

The development was approved without public consultation after the council implemented planning scheme changes that made it code assessable.

Construction is now under way.

Backlash over proposed Maleny fuel station

New servo proposed to be built opposite school

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The 2024sq m site is set to be transformed into what the proponents argue is a much-needed service station.

An application for a service station was made previously on the site in December 2012, but withdrawn in April 2013, which Dr McCallum believed was due to public backlash.

"The community took a deep breath and hoped that was the end of it," Dr McCallum said.

Then in 2017-18 there were murmurings again that a similar service station would be built on that site.

"The community again rallied to some extent to fight that but unfortunately … there was no mechanism by which the public or anyone else could object to the approval of that development."

The University of the Sunshine Coast lecturer in science and engineering said the start of construction had reignited community concerns.

"I don't think anyone in the community is against development," he said.

"This is life we acknowledge that at the moment service stations are necessary to sustain our preferred means of transport."

Dr Adrian McCallum.
Dr Adrian McCallum.

The Maleny State School P & C member said while a service station was perhaps necessary in Maleny, the proximity to the school was a concern.

"The big question of course is was a service station necessary 40 yards over the road from Maleny's primary school with hundreds of students in there," Dr McCallum said.

"Noting also there's no airconditioning in that school, so their air comes directly through the windows directly opposite the service station."

Dr McCallum said he had approached the council at least six times since November last year to discuss air quality.

A council spokesman told the Daily the council was not approached by Dr McCallum during the assessment phase of the development application.

Dr McCallum said he had been looking at the Environmental Protection Act (1994) with regards to his concerns.

"They've (council) come back and said 'I don't think we have a requirement under the act'.

"We need to put our adult hat on an acknowledge that we cannot compare the levels during operation with those levels prior if we haven't collected the levels prior, so get on with the job and collect the levels prior."

Members of the Maleny community gathered to protest the proposed service station opposite the local primary school.
Members of the Maleny community gathered to protest the proposed service station opposite the local primary school.

The council spokesman said a member of the public could conduct their own air quality testing from a private allotment.

The spokesman said they would need consent from the relevant landowner before doing so.

"However, this development was subject to a rigorous assessment, including environmental health matters, while the Department of Transport and Main Roads assessed the traffic impacts," the spokesman said.

"The assessment considered the proximity of the school and other nearby uses, with a detailed air quality report demonstrating that the development would not cause environmental harm through airborne particles or emissions."

Dr MacCallum said he was tired of council "stone-walling".

"We need to go OK 'we're not going to give children gas masks', that's just not going to work."

The council spokesman said the development would use best practice environmental management vapour control technology and would be subject to ongoing compliance with air quality standards.


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