Servo powers down

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on February 7, 2019

THE new Shell service station near Albany’s most notorious roundabout has had its opening date pushed back a month due to a delay in power connection.

Rod Booth, director of Perth-based Aurora Petroleum Pty Ltd, told The Weekender that his new service station, trading as Shell 5 Ways Albany, was meant to open on February 20.

But a delay in Western Power’s work has changed the date for the Albany Highway station.

“I don’t see us opening before March 20,” Mr Booth said.

“They’ve [Western Power] still got to do some work…they haven’t finalised the power.”

A Western Power spokesperson stated that the electricity company is in the process of finalising a “safe and reliable” underground grid connection.

This will require significant earthworks that may disrupt Albany Highway drivers and the company is awaiting approval to proceed.

“The underground cable connection will require excavation machinery and a large crew presence to work close to a critical roundabout on Albany Highway for an extended period of time,” the spokesperson said.

“The section of highway has heavy traffic use during the week as a key node for transport in the region and specifically is a junction for road trains hauling freight and delivering freight in the area.

“To operate safely in this environment, we are currently waiting on approvals from a third party to allow us to work near a complicated and busy section of Albany Highway.”

The spokesperson said this situation had delayed the original commissioning date of February 20 but work would commence on February 18.

Mr Booth has hired seven staff from Albany, Denmark and Mount Barker to operate the service station that will trade from 4am to 10pm, seven days a week.

He is unaware of who plans to move into the proposed lunch bar still under construction next door.

“I have no idea,” Mr Booth said.

“That’s under the developer.

“I’ve been asking but they can’t tell me, so I’ve given up asking.”

Weekender research last month ruled out Fresh Trading Co, Gloria Jean’s Coffees and Coles Express as potential occupants of the lunch bar site (‘Trio says ‘no’’, 17 January).

Proponent Peter D. Webb & Associates director Nik Hidding said he was “not permitted” to speak with media about the project.

Mr Booth said he wished to expand his Aurora Petroleum Pty Ltd operations down south, as he currently operates roadhouses and service stations in Kununurra and Narrogin.

This led to his decision to occupy the vacant site near Bunnings.

“We wanted to grow in the South West,” Mr Booth said.

“But we have no other expansion plans at this stage.”

The service station faced controversy due to its location near one of WA’s worst roundabouts, which was listed as sixth in the state and second in regional WA as a risky intersection in the RAC 2016/2017 Top 10 Risky Roads survey.