As the first thing drivers see of the village of Wallendbeen, the derelict shop and former petrol station at the cross-roads of the Olympic Highway and Burley Griffin Way leaves a lot to be desired.
There's "HOT BBQ" sign, and faded Coke and fuel signs out the front, but anyone pulling into the crumbling driveway will be disappointed - the place has been deserted for a year and a half and is fit only for demolition.
Wallendbeen residents had high hopes early last year when a development application was approved for a new $4-5 million service station at the site.
It was envisaged the 24-hour station, with separate truck and car areas, a convenience shop, takeaway or sit-down hot food, and a lounge and amenities for truckies, would provide a much-needed boost for the village.
Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council released details of the proposed development on February 20, but little has been heard of it since.
Last July, Australian Community Media contacted the Sydney developers, and was told that progress had been slow because the company had responded to a new business opportunity in northern NSW. A director of Property Cloud Investments Pty Ltd, Dhiren Patel, said the opportunity to buy a service station at Glen Innes had arisen at short notice, fitting neatly with the two other stations the company operates, in Tamworth and Guyra. However in the 12 months since then, Mr Patel has been uncontactable. Australian Community Media and members of the Wallendbeen Community Association have tried many times to call Mr Patel, but the phone rings out. Last year Mr Patel said the company had started getting the documentation needed for a construction certificate for Wallendbeen.
"We welcome the interest from the local community and we'll be sure to keep people informed when we take the next step," he said.
One rumour circulating is that the builders of the huge new complex on the Hume Highway at Coolac will move on to build the Wallendbeen facility as soon as they have finished their work there.
Mr Patel said Wallendbeen would be the first site his company had developed "from scratch".
"We welcome council's approval and the interest from the local community, but we can't tell you at this stage when construction will start or finish." A post office business used to operate from the building until the end of January.
Australia Post told residents they would have to get their mail from Cootamundra until a street-corner delivery could be arranged, with residents putting up their own letterboxes.
Residents, however, have established a community postal agency.
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