Portobello petrol sales to resume next month

Petrol sales are due to return to Portobello after a five-year hiatus. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Petrol sales are due to return to Portobello after a five-year hiatus. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
A service station in Portobello will soon be back pumping petrol, bucking a trend of the closure of small petrol stations.

Allied Petroleum said yesterday an unmanned 24-hour forecourt would open in mid-April at Portobello Motors - a site where fuel stopped flowing about five years ago - after resource consent was granted recently.

Otago Peninsula Community Board chairman Paul Pope called the move ``positive'' for an area experiencing increased tourism traffic, and a population that had to drive to the city for petrol.

The station is owned by Jack Clearwater, who said while extra tourism traffic was in part behind the move, returning petrol to the site made economic sense.

The non-notified consent was granted late last month to re-establish fuel sales in conjunction with an existing vehicle repair workshop.

The application said Portobello Motors wished to reactivate fuel sales ``to provide fuel to the local community and the growing tourism market on the peninsula''.

The consent decision said the proposal included two existing underground tanks holding 5000 litres of 95-grade petrol, 15,000 litres of 91-grade, and a new above-ground 10,000 litre diesel tank.

Allied Petroleum petroleum division marketing manager Brett Haldane said the company was ``interested in supplying fuel to communities, and will pursue opportunities where we feel there's enough local support to make investment possible''.

``We felt that was the case at Portobello.''

The investment did not rely on tourism, ``but we do hope the availability of fuel in the community helps to enable more tourist visitors to the area for everyone's benefit''.

Asked if more sites might be added in Otago, Mr Haldane said the company was interested in developing its network of sites.

``So if the right opportunity to service a community and/or passing commercial transport presents again around Otago then, yes, we'd consider further investment.''

Mr Pope said he had been at the garage getting a warrant of fitness, or talking to staff, and ``you'd be amazed at the number of tourists that turn up at the garage looking for petrol''.

Mr Pope said he understood there had been petrol pumps there since 1955, until the last few years.

In the past there had been a petrol station at Macandrew Bay, but ``not for decades''.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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