This photo shows both the truck and the sign it's parked in front of.
This photo shows both the truck and the sign it's parked in front of. Jacques Tranquille

Are these Australia's pettiest neighbours?

THE battle lines have been drawn up on the Great Northern Highway.

Chances are if you're driving along the western route, you probably won't notice the turmoil boiling away beneath the surface.

Instead you're likely just to see the Billabong Homestead and the Billabong Roadhouse side by side, both as places to fill up your truck, grab some grub, or rest your head.

But these small business owners, and neighbours are at war.

And things have finally come to a head in a move that some locals and social media users describe as "un-Australian".

Jacques Tranquille is the owner of the Billabong Roadhouse and has been for about 10 years.

The roadhouse itself has been around since 1962.

Next door is the Billabong Homestead and service station, owned by Greg Lockyer.

Greg bought the property, located halfway between Geraldton and Carnarvon, about two years ago.

Greg offered to buy the business next door, however Jacques said he wasn't ready to sell.

So Greg put in a new service station to compete and Jacques put in place plans to differentiate the two.

"Most people think we are the same operation, but we're not and we haven't been for quite a while," he said.

So, he erected two signs - one to the north and one to the south of his property - to make sure travellers knew there were two separate operations.

In response, Greg parked his truck in front of the sign, on the boundary of his own property.

His reasoning?

"His price board (the sign) is ridiculously bright," he said.

Greg says the "Las Vegas style" screen "blasts light into my area 24/7 so bright you can't even read what's written on the signage".

"It's a plain white truck, parked in front of his sign which blocks the light that comes towards my alfresco area," he said.

"You can still see the sign from my parking area, you just can't see it from where you sit at the front of the hotel."

 

SIGN OF UNREST: The truck parked in front of Jacques Tranquille's sign.
SIGN OF UNREST: The truck parked in front of Jacques Tranquille's sign. Jacques Tranquille

But Jacques said he offered to turn down the sign later at night and described the move as a "pretty un-Australian" way of competing.

"It's pretty much a blocking device to foil customers from seeing there's a second roadhouse," he said.

"It's hard enough running a roadhouse, (let alone) fighting a battle at the same time."

Shark Bay Shire chief executive officer Paul Anderson said he had received a complaint from the owner of the Billabong Roadhouse, however the shire did not have authority to require the owner of the property to relocate the parked vehicle within his property.

"It's a real twist of the law and hopefully it won't set a precedent for every man and his dog to get a sign up and block their neighbour's driveway or signage," Jacques said.

Mr Anderson also confirmed that the brightness of Jacques' sign was up to Australian standards.

Greg said he didn't understand what his neighbour's problem was.

"I retaliated on one occasion in two-and-a-half years and all I've done is park a truck there and I'm the biggest devil this side of the country," he said.

 

Greg Lockyer parked his truck in front of the sign to stop light coming into his area.
Greg Lockyer parked his truck in front of the sign to stop light coming into his area. Greg Lockyer
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