The owners of the FoodWorks supermarket in Pambula and the community are asking for more time to assess the development application currently on exhibition for a supermarket on the corner of Merimbola and Bullara Streets.
The DA was re-submitted to council after the owner and original developer of the site, Neil Dawson, put the development on ice back in 2012. The original DA for a retail complex has been modified to a single storey supermarket of 920sqm with a new developer, Rodney Thompson, owner of the Hotel Australasia in Eden.
Jeanette and Kel Stolzenhein also own the Royal Willows hotel in Pambula and believe that the community needs more time to look at the DA and have started a petition in the supermarket which has collected 160 signatures in around two days, Mrs Stolzenhein said.
Mr Stolzenhein said that the issues surrounding the DA needed to be looked at by the community.
“There’s no chamber of commerce here, no voice for the town. We’re not trying to be that voice. It’s a question of what does the community want,” he said.
The DA is on exhibition until December 4 but Mr Stolzenhein believes people need more time because most of the traders who would be affected are now busy preparing for Christmas and the influx of tourists.
“If we lose 50 per cent of our business what happens to the surrounding shops and the foot traffic,” he asked.
He has a number of other concerns too. “The proposal is for something ultra-modern next to heritage buildings and next to the Panboola wetlands. By putting fill into the site it will bring the flood level higher up the street.”
He said that during heavy rain water had risen to the back of the Royal Willows Hotel previously.
Merimbola Street is also the site of an over 55s block but Mr Stolzenhein said that’s where the trucks would be reversing “at all hours to unload their stock”.
“We want to make sure this is 100 per cent right for Pambula because you can’t undo this once it’s done. We want to make sure it’s not to the detriment of the surrounding areas,” Mr Stolzenhein said.
He is also concerned about the information provided to council by the developer, particularly the Economic Impact Assessment (EIS) which suggests that the highest financial impact would be in Merimbula where some $4.8m would be lost to the new supermarket and $1m lost from the Pambula traders.
The EIS states that the Main Street development in Merimbula is “not assumed to proceed” although a work is due to start on the service road behind Club Sapphire after the main holiday period has ended.
A FoodWorks report supplied to Mr Stolzenhein for his submission to council about the DA says that the impact on the town will be more than forecast and will take supermarket floorspace well above the national average for the area.
“Across Australia supermarket floorspace is provided at a rate of 400sqm per 1000 people. Significantly, with the opening of the proposed new Woolworths this increases to 766sqm per 1000 people (almost double the national average).”
Mr Thompson said he expected the development application to be before council early in the new year. If passed he plans to have the supermarket open in time for Christmas 2016, he said.