Coonalpyn BP is being forced to close in October.

FORCED OUT: Coonalpyn BP lessees Debbie and Sean Thompson are being forced to close up shop on October 31 this year. Photo: Nick Grimm.
FORCED OUT: Coonalpyn BP lessees Debbie and Sean Thompson are being forced to close up shop on October 31 this year. Photo: Nick Grimm.

Coonalpyn motorists will have to make a minimum 60km round trip to Coomandook to purchase their fuel when their town’s only petrol station is forced to close later this year.

Debbie and Sean Thompson lease the BP on Railway Terrace from the Peregrine Corporation and were recently advised their lease would not be renewed when it expires on October 31st.

Mrs Thompson said the notice came at 3.10pm on July 31 in the form of a phone call, and she instantly knew something was wrong.

“It wasn’t the usual lady that I dealt with, so I just felt sick to my stomach and I was right,” she said.

Mr and Mrs Thompson have held the lease for around two and a half years and they had never doubted their level of business. 

“Business has never been bad and no one in town can remember a time when it wasn’t a BP. It will be a real shame for the town to lose it, especially after all the work that’s been done to get things happening again,” he said.

Both Mr and Mrs Thompson believe the site could be extremely important for Peregrine, but said they are not surprised of the action.

“This is just another case of the big corporation bullying their way into a smaller community and forcing them to do what they want,” Mrs Thompson said.

Life-long Coonalpyn resident Sue Mickan said the community relies on the BP, and she is concerned about the upcoming summer with no service station. 

“Working with the CFS, we don’t have any fuel storage so we’re in here quite a lot. It’s the same for the police and the ambulances too,” she said.

“If there are fires or other emergencies, I think emergency service will really struggle. Where do we go from here?”

All parties were of a similar mindset when it came to Coonalpyn’s future. 

“This will kill the town. It won’t happen overnight, something like this will take time, but it certainly will be the nail in Coonalpyn’s coffin,” Mr Thompson said.

Peregrine Corporation Business Development Manager Phil Moir said it was a commercial decision, and it was always the company’s intention to close the Coonalypyn BP when The Bend Motorsport Park opened. 

“We believe the significant investment and services we will be offering at Motorsport Park will meet the needs of the local community as well as the passing traffic,” Mr Moir said.