Ruth and David Haig outside the Art Deco building that will go to make way for the new IGA store in Kyogle's main street.
Ruth and David Haig outside the Art Deco building that will go to make way for the new IGA store in Kyogle's main street. The Northern Star

Fight on for Kyogle's Art Deco building

KYOGLE local Ruth Haig was one of 412 residents who signed a petition against the council-approved demolition of a 1930s Art Deco building on Summerland Way.

In June, a motion was passed by the council to allow Gold Coast-based developer AusDevelopments to demolish the building and build a 2000 square metre SupaIGA and three speciality stores.

Some councillors said a fear of losing the $6 million IGA complex was behind their decision to approve the development.

While the motion was passed by five votes to two, Kyogle resident Damien Paull believes the decision did not reflect the community's feelings on the subject.

Assisted by the Save Kyogle Heritage Committee, which formed after the council decision, Mr Paull and Kyogle resident Robert Wirth organised written and online petitions.

The petition to retain the Art Deco facade circulated for three weeks, attracting 344 signatures and 68 electronic submissions.

Mr Paull said this result proved opposition to the project came from more than a handful of residents.

“The developer said there were only one or two people against the project, but this petition shows there is widespread opposition and that many other factors are involved with construction, including traffic issues and the safety of elderly residents,” he said.

The petition requested 'that the Art Deco town of Kyogle maintain its historic buildings'.

This week, the list of signatures and a letter co-signed by Mr Paull and Mr Wirth were forwarded to Ritchies IGA Chief Executive Officer Fred Harrison and a number of politicians, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

The letter stated that 'these petitions are a testament to the real feeling that exists in our community. It reflects what the community want – they value their heritage and take great pride in it'.

Mr Harrison received the petition on Monday. He said the goal of his company was to provide Kyogle with a quality supermarket and any issues relating to the site's heritage value was an issue between the developers and Kyogle Council.

During his address to the council in June, AusDevelopments representative Nigel Mercer said the Art Deco-style building could not be saved because it was structurally unsound and contained asbestos.

A letter from Mrs Haig was also sent with the petition, addressing a further objection to the development.

Her letter was submitted on behalf of the aged community living on Roxy Lane in Kyogle.

It said the development would affect residents as their street would become the main entry and exit point for deliveries to the supermarket.

The lane has no pavement and is often used by pedestrians and residents driving scooters.

Mrs Haig's letter asked 'what will an aged person with a walker do if a truck appears?'.

The letter to Mr Harrison also outlined possible alternatives to the current development application, including a plan which 'saved and incorporated the Art Deco building as part of the development'.

Construction on the new supermarket is due to begin this month. It was due to commence trading next March.

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