Dispute delays opening of $5m shopping village
By ZOE SATHERLEY
JOHN O'ROURKE is fuming.
He has lost $10,000 worth of food and three of his best staff members, and still doesn't know when Lismore City Council will give the green light for his new Subway eatery to open.
Not that he is blaming council.
"I've been given five different opening dates by the developer," he said yesterday.
Mr O'Rourke's new store is in the Eastpoint Shopping Village at Goonellabah, adjacent to the Holland Street and Bruxner Highway roundabout.
"Each time I get told the new opening date I get food and staff prepared and then find out we still don't have council approval to operate," he said.
"It's costing me a fortune."
Developer Peter Burge, from Capminster Property Services, said the issues which have delayed the opening of the $5 million shopping centre were complex.
They revolve around disagreement with Lismore City Council over certain development application (DA) requirements and who is responsible for them.
"We are working to resolve these as quickly as possible, but they are not simple matters," he said.
For example, Mr Burge said an issue relating to roadworks and a new roundabout was complicated by the fact that the RTA controlled the Bruxner Highway, while the council controlled Holland Street.
Council had sub-contracted to do the roadworks on behalf of the developer, but was also the regulatory body.
Mr Burge said he had kept Subway headquarters fully informed of the situation, which he hoped would be resolved in a matter of days.
However, Mike Perkins, council's development engineer, said he was unsure whether the problems would be resolved in a matter of days or if they would take weeks.
He said there were a number of final compliance issues that needed to be fixed, including the provision of street lighting, some footpath modifications, work on a fence and certain inspections.
"These are a matter for the developer and the private certifier he has chosen to oversee the DA and make sure it meets all the requirements," he said.
"This is non-discretionary work which legally has to be done prior to anyone being allowed to trade."
The new IGA supermarket in the same complex also has been seriously affected by the dispute. Fresh food brought in for yesterday's planned grand opening may also have to be jettisoned.