Kyogle Councillor Peter Lewis and resident Damien Paull are angry that this Art Deco-style building will be destroyed to make way for an IGA supermarket.
Kyogle Councillor Peter Lewis and resident Damien Paull are angry that this Art Deco-style building will be destroyed to make way for an IGA supermarket. The Northern Star

Kyogle gives up heritage for new $6m supermarket

THE best examples of 1930s Art Deco buildings in Kyogle will be destroyed to make way for a supermarket after Kyogle Council approved a development this week.

Monday's five-two vote will allow Gold Coast-based developer AusDevelopments to demolish the buildings and build a 2000 square metre SupaIGA and three speciality shops.

Community objections to the development have centred on the heritage value of the buildings, which a 1996 council study described as 'the best examples of Art Deco style in Kyogle'. Other objections have centred on traffic flow.

However, the council study was never forwarded to the NSW Heritage Branch so the buildings had no legislative protection when AusDevelopments lodged its development application in March.

Unlike other councils, Kyogle has no heritage provisions in its development approvals processes.

In an address to the council on Monday, Kyogle resident Damien Paull said the council's inaction on the heritage study had 'left us in a very compromised and vulnerable position, both legally and ethically, regarding heritage protection'.

Cr Peter Lewis, who voted against the development, said the debate revealed none of Kyogle's heritage buildings was protected.

"The decision has revealed Kyogle Council values development over the town's heritage," he said.

"Council will regret this decision."

Speaking at the meeting, Nigel Mercer, of AusDevelopments, defended the choice of site, saying the buildings were structurally unsound, could not be saved and had asbestos throughout.

Mr Paull said the buildings had no broken asbestos, presented no health risk, and that only one of 260 lead-light panels was broken.

Mr Mercer said the company had been searching for three years for a site and believed the proposed site was the best option. Other options involved destroying homes or forcing a 'little old lady out of the home she grew up in'.

"I would have been quite happy to have packed up and left town if the DA didn't get through tonight," Mr Mercer said later.

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

Cr Jeff Marriott said he was not happy about the demolition, but Kyogle had to 'bite the bullet because we could miss out'.

Cr David Liska also voted for the development, but later said he would have preferred the building facades be preserved.

However, an option that could have saved the buildings was distributed to councillors minutes before the vote.

A letter from the NSW Department of Planning's Heritage Branch said the council could make an interim heritage order to protect the buildings for 12 months, giving it time to decide if statuary protection was needed.

Under the terms of the approval, construction of the new supermarket will begin in September, with trading to begin next March.


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