Murwillumbah losing shoppers to Tweed
By PETER CATON
NEARLY a quarter of all shoppers in Murwillumbah are heading out of town, according to the developers behind a proposed new supermarket.
Southpac Murwillumbah Property Trust, which has lodged the application for a shopping complex involving a Supa-IGA supermarket, a bottle shop and speciality stores on the old Norco depot site at South Murwillumbah, says its project could stop some of the "leakage" to areas like South Tweed Heads.
IGA claim the new supermarket would compete directly with Coles and the extra competition will help bring down prices in Murwillumbah.
Spokesman for the Southpac trust Nigel Mercer said research into the retail needs of the town had shown Murwillumbah could support more than two major supermarkets.
He said the research also revealed more than 23 per cent of the town's supermarket shopping was being leaked to other areas with better retail offers.
One of the the main reasons, he said, was that shoppers were being offered better convenience than there is presently in Murwillumbah.
Mr Mercer said the proposed centre would provide easy access shopping which would especially appeal to residents who wish to shop on the way home and park "close to the door".
"It is proposed the Neighbourhood Pit Stop Centre will be supported by tenants such as a bakery, butchery, takeaways, coffee shop and bottle shop," he said.
"It is the developer's intention to encourage existing retailers in the town to take up an additional outlet in the new centre, giving them the opportunity to expand their existing businesses."
Mr Mercer said the planned centre would be anchored by a Supa IGA, creating approximately 80 additional jobs.
That in turn, he said, would add additional income to the town, with the anticipation that existing local businesses will receive spin-off from the extra pay packets.
"In addition, with the location of the centre being adjacent to the CBD it will not have any detrimental effect upon the present challenging parking and traffic conditions," he added.
Tweed Shire Council development control manager Garry Smith said two submissions commenting on the application had so far been received, but they had not yet been studied in detail.
"I expect probably Coles might have made a submission," he said.