Council to make Woolies decision

A DECISION on the long-awaited redevelopment of "Little Woolies" in River St in Ballina will be made at this week's council meeting.

The supermarket was destroyed by fire in December last year and has been closed ever since.

Traders in the CBD have complained that its closure has negatively impacted on the town centre.

But work could soon start on a bigger and better Woolworths store, with council staff recommending approval of the redevelopment application, even though it does not meet key requirements of the development control plan.

This includes the filling and flood level requirements and car parking.

But other options have been suggested by staff in an effort to overcome the issues so that an "important part of the commercial fabric of the Ballina CBD" can be rebuilt.

The staff report to councillors explains the recently exhibited amended flood policy would help find alternatives to the flood issues.

Woolworths also says it will incorporate flood mitigation measures, such as waterproofing the building; using high strength window panes; using flood resilient construction materials and installing a flood compatible electrical design.

In addition, Woolworths has "given an undertaking to indemnify council against any potential loss should flood damage occur despite the implementation of these mitigation measures".

To address the parking situation, the developers could be asked to provide sufficient on-site car parking combined with a cash contribution to the council's town centre car parking fund.

The new supermarket would be much bigger - 2499sqm instead of 1468sqm - and would include the demolition of a nearby home.

It would have River St frontage and access would be via Cherry and Fawcett Sts.

The staff report states that Little Woolies, as well as providing grocery services, "also acted as a social hub for local people and it is anticipated that the reconstruction of this store will again stimulate this social activity".

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