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Court rules in favour
of new supermarket

by Cameron Outridge

The Planning and Environment Court has given approval for a Woolworths supermarket to proceed next to the Maleny Hotel.

Developers Cornerstone Properties Limited had taken Council to Court to appeal conditions the City imposed on the development and the court ruled in favour of Cornerstone.

In light of the ruling it now appears unlikely that the other supermarket development proposed for the corner of Myrtle and Miva Streets will proceed.    The approved development comprises a standalone supermarket, plant room and loading docks with a total floor area of 2067 square metres.    Woolworths Supermarkets has agreed to a 15 year lease to occupy the site if it is developed.  The supermarket will open onto an open area carpark at the front of the site.   It is also proposed that there will be a lower level undercover carpark with access via a ramp at the west of the ground level carpark.   Extensive landscaping for the site is proposed.

The development will be the largest commercial development in Maleny and will necessitate removal of all existing vegetation from the site.   The Court noted that the site was in the local business zone under the planning scheme and that Council had no power to refuse the application.    Council had sought protection of significant vegetation and open space or esplanade provision along the banks of the Obi.

It said a supermarket would exacerbate traffic issues and it raised flooding concerns and design issues. Division One Councillor Pauline Clayton said she had “never been so disillusioned by the legal process in my life”.  “The court even ruled to allow the removal of vegetation along the Obi Obi to make way for flood flow,’’ she said.  “This ruling by the court goes against everything the community and council stand for in terms of the environment, the lifestyle and the needs of Division One.  “Planning appeals before the Planning and Environment Court are addressed legally, and in my view the merits of planning and social issues are not adequately addressed.’’ Town planning consultant Paul Summers said:

“The court judgement has reinforced the view that a court’s decision is only as good as the planning documents on which it has to rely. In this case the documents, and therefore the decision, leave Maleny wanting.   “Even so, it’s very sad to find that the court placed little or no weight on the DCP and allowed all character trees to be removed.”   Maleny Chamber of Commerce president Rob Parker said he had concerns about the site.  “Apart from the detrimental effect to established local businesses from the proposed new supermarket, I have concerns over the proposed supermarket site.

Certainly a main street location rather than a remote site is better for the integrity of the town. However I believe that the environmental concerns of a site on the Obi and the traffic chaos that will ensue from this site is not a good outcome for Maleny.’’

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