Raj white elephant charges forward
AFTER years of studies, debate and consultation Coffs Harbour City Council has given the green light to the development of a stand alone supermarket on the derelict Raj Mahal site at Woolgoolga.
The decision came on Thursday night after addresses from both a staunch opponent of the proposal and a representative of the developer.
Woolgoolga businesswomen Margaret Murphy said a decade of studies had repeatedly found that a supermarket on the highway would hurt Woolgoolga's town centre.
"It seems that we are determined to ignore all the studies and strategies and repeat the mistake of the Park Beach Plaza ," Ms Murphy said.
"The town centre needs to be invigorated not decimated
Ms Murphy urged councillors to reject the proposal and instead roll the process into the 2012 LEP.
But Mark Daniels from Buildev said council had consistently told the community and his company it would make a strategic decision.
"Council has carefully, methodically and strategically worked through all the issues," Mr Daniels said.
"There has always been support for a stand-alone supermarket."
Mr Daniels said the supermarket would generate 90 jobs and when pressed by Cr Bill Palmer gave a guarantee that there were no plans for anything more than what is proposed.
"I can hold my hand on my heart and say that no specialty shops will be built on the Raj Mahal site. Council has known that since 2007," Mr Daniels said.
Cr Jennifer Bonfield said while she was initially "dead set against the proposal" she had changed her mind.
"With the removal of the highway the complexion of Woolgoolga is going to change and I don't see a hard stand supermarket fitting in with the vision for the town centre," Cr Bonfield said.
While Councillors Denise Knight and Kerry Hines spoke against the proposal the Mayor and other councillors spoke for it.
"No-one wants to see a concrete monolith in the Woolgoolga town centre that will detract from the plans we have to make it a very attractive destination," Cr Rhoades said.