The campaign to stop a 24-hour Puma petrol station in the centre of Dunsborough has had a boost, with a new regulation banning convenience stores from selling fuel.
The City of Busselton’s new definition of a convenience store came into effect this month with its publication in the government gazette. Under the new definition, which is the same as the state’s definition, convenience stores mean: ”premises— used for the retail sale of convenience goods commonly sold in supermarkets, delicatessens or newsagents”.
The city’s old definition included the phrase ‘but including the sale of petrol."
In August 2016, the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) ruled Puma’s proposed six bowser petrol retail operation was a convenience store due to the old definition in force at the time.
Last year City of Busselton changed its definition of a service station to match the state government's definition. This allows for the selling of “goods of a convenience nature”. These two definition changes mean an operation like that proposed by Puma would be classed as a service station. In central Dunsborough this would be a discretionary use, making it much easier for the City to refuse it.
Given the change in law, the community group Puma2Go is calling on Puma to drop the convenience store charade and move the development to the Light Industrial Area. The group points out that the term “convenience store” does not appear anywhere in the Puma Energy website. "It would appear Puma’s operation in Dunsborough would be its only convenience store in Australia," said Tony Sharp, a group spokesperson.
Puma2Go is also calling on the developers, DCSC, to not proceed with the development as it is clearly against the wishes of the community and now runs counter to town zoning law. As some DCSC investors are also investors in the proposed alternative site, “we call on them to move the petrol retail operation there and use the land in the centre of town for a more jobs-positive use," the Puma2Go spokesperson said.