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Servo could soon shut

Tim Rowe

02/12/2006  ::  182  hits
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Ariah Park Sales and Service, the town’s only access to fuel, could close, forcing residents to drive 35km to Temora to fill up, because owner Noel Walker is crippled by debt. Photo: Kieren L Tilly
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Ariah Park may lose its only fuel outlet, due to petrol station owner’s large debt

ARIAH Park’s famous slogan “bowsers, wowsers and peppercorn trees” could soon be short circuited.
The town’s only source of fuel, Ariah Park Sales and Service, may be forced to close its bowser because its owner is crippled by debt.
Service station owner and local farmer Noel “Bluey” Walker said the business had been losing money for years.
He said he has kept the petrol station open as a community service, which employs an apprentice mechanic, his daughter, who manages the store, and his disabled grandson.
But Mr Walker could be asked to front court over a debt to an accountancy firm he says totals about $30,000. He claims it is money he simply does not have and an unfavourable court ruling could bring the service station to its end.
“The whole store doesn’t make any money, never has,” Mr Walker said.
“I work there in a honourary capacity running the NRMA on weekends.
 “Temora’s 35 kilometres away and there’s a lot of elderly retirees in Ariah Park who would have to travel to get fuel.
“It’s one more nail in the coffin. Any one with any brains wouldn’t take (the service station) over. We wanted to keep it going if we could as a community service.
“I will pay it back (the debt) – I just need time.”
Temora Mayor Nigel Judd, who lives on the outskirts of Ariah Park, said it might be time for Temora Shire Council to investigate whether it could help the situation.
“Up until a couple of years ago, Ariah Park had two fuel outlets; now we’re relying on the garage,” Cr Judd said.
“If we ever lose the Sales and Service, it’ll be a real blow … In these small towns the turnover (of the service station) may not be viable.
“But it’s an essential service … it’s not only the fuel, but it’s the NRMA depot for the town.”


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