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Reprieve for truckies’ diner

03 Dec 2012

Reprieve for truckies’ diner Image

Truckies can breathe a sigh of relief with the news that the Ports Diner Roadhouse is here to stay for at least another two years.

Earlier this year, the diner, which is located on Footscray Rd just outside of Docklands, was at the centre of a dispute over potholes.

Large potholes had developed in the diner’s extensive car park, which provides parking for up to 130 trucks.

For the past five years the Port of Melbourne has rented the land for the diner from VicTrack.

But neither party was prepared to foot the bill for the costly repairs to the car park.

Brothers Tass and Forty Koumakis, who own and operate the diner, had been prepared to pack up and leave when the port’s lease expired in September.

The closure of the diner would have been disastrous for the truck drivers who regularly visit the port.

The diner provides the only facility near the Port of Melbourne where drivers are able to park, rest, eat and shower.

Customers had been signing a petition to keep the diner open and truck drivers had threatened industrial action if it was allowed to close.

However, recent discussions have led to a resolution for the diner owners.

Tass Koumakis said VicTrack had repaired the potholes and had agreed to maintain the land and pay outgoing costs such as electricity.

He said VicTrack had guaranteed them another two years at the site.

The diner had operated rent-free under the Port of Melbourne but will have to pay rent to VicTrack to continue to operate at the site.

VicTrack has also called for expressions of interest for the development of a permanent truck service-centre at the former Melbourne Fish Market site on Footscray Rd.

The proposed service-centre will include parking, amenities and retail.

“Given the high volume of traffic on Footscray Rd, the 2.7 hectare site is a logical place for this type of facility,” Public Transport Minister, Terry Mulder said.

“Importantly, the centre will allow truck drivers to take a decent break to help make sure they manage fatigue at the wheel,” he said.

Mr Koumakis said the diner would be interested in operating at the proposed site for the permanent facility.

Mr Mulder said it was expected that the development of the new facility would be completed by mid-2014.

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