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Lessons need to be learned over
supermarket issue, says town planner
by Cameron Outridge  (07.03.02)

Maleny needs to move on from playing the blame game over the supermarket issues, according to independent planning consultant Paul Summers. Mr Summers, who was the independent Town Planner appointed by Retain Maleny’s Character Group to review the supermarket issue said there was no technical means of preventing Supermarkets and the community no doubt felt hurt by this. 

“But the goal now has to be to ensure that these same circumstances do not arise again,’’ he said.  “The ideal opportunity is just around the comer, with Caloundra later this year releasing CityPlan.’’   He said CityPlan would be Caloundra City Council’s response to the need to prepare a planning scheme that is consistent with the Integrated Planning Act (IPA). “The planning framework under this legislation means that these new plans will be very different to the ones they are replacing.

“So far, little is known about the content of the plan, but Maleny community groups are informed that it will be guided by the Maleny & Environs Development Control Plan (DCP) and the local area plan that flowed from it. “Whilst this may seem sound, it was the zoning framework, part of which is replicated in the DCP, that led to a situation where three or more supermarkets could be established in this small hinterland town. 

“Maleny needs to find some positives out of the current negative circumstances.  “The positives are to learn lessons from what has happened and to build on the attention that has been generated over the supermarket issue.’’   Mr Summers said the community needed to turn the community’s energy and skills to learning more about how planning and IPA planning schemes work.  “So that when CityPlan is released the community is armed and ready to assess whether the plan will deliver what it wants.  “If it does, it will want to assist Caloundra City Council implement the plan, but if it doesn’t Maleny needs to be in a position to communicate clearly what it wants.  “Bitterness and recriminations are not the stuff for this sort of communication.’’

Mr Summers has developed a website which answers, in simple language, some of the frequently asked questions about planning in relation to the supermarket issue.

To view the website go to www.paulsummersplanning.com.au/maleny.htm.

Our thanks once again to Cameron & Tanya Outridge
of the Range News Newspaper for this story.