Gordonvale Woolworths precinct 'won't kill IGA'
A COURTROOM stoush over the future of a controversial Woolworths development at Gordonvale began in Cairns yesterday as the supermarket giant's legal team presented figures they say show the local IGA and town centre will not fail if the project is approv
Woolworths' property development arm, Fabcot, has appealed a Cairns Regional Council decision to block the proposed 3200sq m shopping precinct on Draper Rd. Evidence will begin at the hearing before Judge Michael Rackemann today after opening submissions from Fabcot's barrister, Mark Hinson, SC, were heard yesterday followed by a site visit.
Mr Hinson told the court an economic report had been compiled for the hearing and it showed the IGA in the town centre was currently performing "better than expected" and would most likely not go under if the proposed shopping precinct was built across the highway.
He said that figures showed shoppers at the IGA were rarely using the speciality shops nearby.
Mr Hinson said population growth on the western side of the highway supported the shopping precinct.
Judge Rackemann noted economists seemed to agree a supermarket in the area was needed, but Woolworths believed another area earmarked for such a development was too small. He said the 8.5km to Edmonton or 12km to Mt Sheridan Gordonvale residents needed to travel for a shopping alternative were "significant trips".
The court was told the plan encompassed a 200sq m supermarket, a petrol station, and fast food and speciality shops.
Earlier this year, councillors voted 9-1 to stick to a decision made by the former Val Schier-led council not to approve the project.
The hearing continues today.
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