'Waiting for an accident to happen': Car dealer angers nearby resident

JOHN Davis Motors is creating a major road safety issue by continuing to illegally unload and load cars into Edward Street in breach of the business’ development conditions, according to resident Claire Lutkie.

Miss Lutkie has lived in Edward Street since 2006 and has contacted Orange City Council numerous times about the business regularly breaching the condition. 

She wrote to Minister for Local Government Don Page this week, forwarding photos of numerous days when cars were being unloaded and asking him to crack down on the business and its “blatant disregard” of the rules, after being disappointed by the council’s response.

She is concerned about the danger created when truck trailers filled with cars block Edward Street when unloading and loading.

“I’m waiting for an accident to happen,” Miss Lutkie said.

“I’d like to see enforcement [of the development conditions].

“The council hasn’t done anything about it.”

According to the development conditions attached to the business’s ongoing operation, all loading and unloading “must be carried out within the confines of the John Davis Mazda site during normal business hours and shall not be undertaken on a public road at any time”.

Council spokesman Allan Reeder said unloading cars from a large car transporter was a problem faced by every large car dealer in Orange.

“Orange City Council encourages these businesses to operate safely and not inconvenience drivers,” he said.

“Orange City Council routinely investigates complaints about the operation of businesses in Orange and where necessary ensures they are complying with consent conditions.”

Mr Reeder said besides Miss Lutkie’s written objections to changes to John Davis Motors’ operations in 2010 and 2011, the council had not received complaints about the cars being unloaded in Edward Street until Friday.

“Council staff will respond to the complaint received on Friday afternoon and will investigate the matter,” he said.

Ben Davis, who is the dealer/principal of the family-owned business, could not be reached for comment on why the business unloaded cars on the public road.

Councillor Davis declined to comment.

Miss Lutkie said some days cars were unloaded from trucks at 8am, blocking the street and forcing cars to drive on the wrong side of the road to get past.

“It causes chaos,” she said.

“It’s hard to suck up from someone with his [Orange mayor John Davis’] position in local government.

“They’re not ignorant to the planning process and they’re not immune.

“They treat it like its their private street and it’s not.”

She said other residents felt “beaten down” after years of failed attempts to have the council enforce the rules, but she had not approached the business.

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