The Range News is Maleny's premium Weekly Newspaper delivered each Friday
to the People of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland from Glasshouse to
Kenilworth and west to Peachester.

Phone 07 5494 2454
Fax 07 54943268

Woollies set to go
ahead in New year

Rby Simon Roper,

Woolworths took a step closer to opening up shop on a controversial site in Maleny after the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNR&M) decided against appealing the proposed works at Obi Obi Creek.  This paves the way for the site’s developer, Cornerstone, to begin work in the new year.

Some of Maleny’s citizens object to the food giant’s plans to open a supermarket at the Obi Obi Creek because of the impact it would have on the environment and traffic flow of the 1500- strong township.  So acute is their sentiment towards the issue, that the radical actions of treesitting individuals like Daniel Jones plus environmentalist groups like The Platypus People have seen this struggle make international headlines.   Cornerstone said it revised original plans in response to public opinion, moving the footprint of the site back to ensure the conservation of two native trees and to ensure a further margin from the Obi Obi Creek and it’s wildlife.   But now work could begin in as little as two months.

“We have responded to concerns that the approved building would be too close to the (Obi Obi) Creek,” said Cornerstones’Andrew Harper.  With the original plans changed, Mr Harper added that the company was using this as an opportunity to improve the aesthetics of the project.  “We are improving the design and that’s going to take some time to complete,” he said.   “But I imagine work (on site) will begin in the New Year.”

The news comes in the wake of the Planning and Environmental Court’s ruling last month stating that the development application lodged by Cornerstone Properties, doesn’t require the consent of the State under the Integrated Planning Act of 1994.  The DNR&M South East’s regional services director Tom Crothers said the Department had considered the possibility of an appeal against the decision, but did not believe that it was appropriate given the circumstances.

“An appeal can only be made on the basis of error or mistake in the law,” he said.   “Given the court’s decision is a factual one based on the circumstances of the site and is not a mistake in law, it is not open to challenge or appeal.”

The DNR&M’s decision will likely enrage the proportion of the community whom oppose the development, which they claim will compromise road safety at a primary school in close proximity to the site, pollute the Sunshine Coast’s largest reservoir and destroy the homes of local wildlife like the platypus.  Woolworths operates about 1,700 supermarkets, general merchandise, and electronics stores throughout Australia.

Cornerstone to submit fresh plan

A new plan for the Woolworths Supermarket development is expected in Council as early as today (Thursday).  Divisional Councillor Dick Newman said that Andrew Harper of Cornerstone Properties had been in contact to discuss some of the features of the new plan.  Cr Newman said:  “As soon as practical, I will have a copy of the revised plan in the library so that residents can see what changes have been made for themselves.  At this stage, Cornerstone have won twice in Court and have no particular need to make any changes.   I can only speculate that both Cornerstone and Woolworths see that the only practical way for them to progress is to try to address community concerns.  The difficulty for them is that the only way they can address all concerns to leave the site."

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