The majority of people at a Merimbula meeting who chose to vote on the Tura Beach rezoning issue were in favour of a change from residential (R5) to a commercial zone (B5).
The land in question on Lots 33 and 34 is located at the entrance to Tura Beach Drive, opposite the Woolworths supermarket.
The vote was taken at the conclusion of the annual general meeting of the Merimbula Chamber of Commerce on Thursday evening, February 20.
The vote, taken by a show of hands, saw 17 in favour of the change and seven against. A big proportion of attendees abstained (18) and included in this figure were members of the chamber executive.
Bega Valley Shire Council’s group manager planning& environment, Andrew Woodley, spoke about the Tura rezoning issue during an open session at the conclusion of the AGM.
He admitted he personally favoured Medium Density Residential for the site.
While the Bunnings Warehouse name has been linked with the rezoning, no development application has been lodged with the Bega Valley Shire Council by the retail/hardware chain owned by retail conglomerate Wesfarmers Limited.
A change to a B5 zone would allow a bulky goods store such as a Bunnings warehouse on that site and opens it up to other uses as well – such as a car sales yard, a plant nursery or a function centre.
Chamber president Natalie Godward said the meeting provided some interesting feedback and there was a good cross section of retail and business representatives in attendance.
She said it would have been premature for the chamber executive to have voted without first canvassing the views of the chamber membership.
Ms Godward said she thinks the rezoning will go ahead but was sensitive to the affect a bulky goods store could have on existing small business.
“A store such as Bunnings will have some negative impact, but the greater impact will be positive for the area.”
“I think that ultimately it will be a great gain, but there will be casualties and those losses must be mitigated.”
Ms Godward said the chamber will take a stance on the issue after it had spoken with its members.
The meeting heard that locals travel to the Batemans Bay Bunnings store to shop.
At the February 12 council meeting on the casting vote of Mayor Bill Taylor it was resolved that the land be zoned R5 large lot residential with a 1 hectare average lot size.
A rescission motion signed by Crs Michael Britten, Russell Fitzpatrick and Tony Allen and a notice of motion calling for the land to be rezoned to B5 (commercial zone) were lodged with the council last week. Both will form part of the council’s March 5 Ordinary meeting business agenda.
The following comments are in response to the question News Weekly asked in last week’s newspaper: WHAT DO YOU THINK? Do you think the land should be zoned to a business zone is it best left alone as a residential zone.
Question creates buzz on Facebook
The News Weekly posted the question ‘A Bunnings store at Tura’s front door? What do you think? on the News Weekly Facebook page.
Those who chose to post a comment were overwhelmingly in favour of a store on that site and an Aldi supermarket was a favourite but general consensus was that anything that brought more jobs to the area would be beneficial.