Shopping Centre will 'rip heart out of Pottsville'
POTTSVILLE businessman Roger McLeod has warned the heart of the coastal village will be ripped out if Tweed Shire Council allows a new shopping centre to go ahead in the Seabreeze housing estate. Mr McLeod, a real estate agent, said the development would run counter to the council’s own Pottsville Village Strategy which he believed planning staff had now “hidden away”. Estate developer Metricon and shopping centre builder Peninsula Development Group have lodged a development application with Tweed Shire Council for a complex to be called Seabreeze Central, with a 3245sqm supermarket and 1570sqm of%speciality shops. Mr McLeod warned that while all of Pottsville wants a Woolworths or Coles, it is the associated speciality shops which could spell the death of the current town centre. “They would affect all the businesses that have been here for years,” he said. “If the council was serious about looking after people they would say to Metricon you can have your Woolworths but not the auxiliary shops. “One thing Pottsville Beach still has is a village centre.” “The whole idea of the council’s Pottsville Village Strategy was to keep the boutique commercial centre. Now they are going to wreck that part of the strategy.” Another local businessman, Richard Gowe, yesterday warned the Seabreeze shopping centre would be built in an area inundated by floodwaters last month. He provided photographs showing a lake across a large area of Seabreeze estate. They also show flattened fences which Mr Gowe said had surrounded containment ponds built to control runoff from bared soil. Tweed Coastal Villages Alliance spokeswoman Julie Boyd, of Hastings Point, warned Cudgera Creek, which has its headwaters in the Seabreeze estate, was being destroyed by run-off from work in the subdivision. She said the creek would become further contaminated if a shopping centre with associated car parking areas was built there. “The creek has been killed,” said Ms Boyd. “Kids are getting sick and people who have been going swimming in the creek are saying it’s not safe anymore.” sidebar to other Pottsville shopping centre yarn Meanwhile, the developers behind the new shopping centre claim it will have only a minimal impact on existing business. Consultants for the developers predict the proposed Seabreeze Central complex will only reduce business in current Pottsville stores by 8.1 per cent in the first full year of trading in 2009. They say it would more heavily affect supermarkets at Kingscliff and Ocean Shores, and a minor effect on Tweed City. “At Pottsville we consider it more likely the existing businesses, including the Foodworks Supermarket and the general store, will continue to provide convenience-related services to the local community, while the proposed supermarket in Seabreeze Central caters for major weekly/fortnightly shopping trips,” they told Tweed Shire Council. The consultants have also argued “older type main street” shopping centres have several disadvantages. These include disjointed parking arrangements with car parking behind shops, dangerous pedestrian movement across the road between shops and the fact that the street is uncovered and open to the weather. The consultants say their studies show that in the first full year of trading of the new shopping complex the impacts on other supermarkets would be: -3.2per cent at Tweed City, -9.3per cent at Kingscliff, -7.1per cent at Mullumbimby, -9.2per cent at Ocean Shores and -8.1per cent at Pottsville. Pottsville Chamber of Commerce president Tania Murdock said the developers were relying on shoppers from the northern part of Byron Shire to make the project viable, whereas Tweed Shire Council’s planning strategies aimed at providing local centres to discourage long car trips. She said the main concern of Pottsville businesses was the impact on the existing village centre which would lose its character, just as Bay Street in Tweed Heads died when major shopping malls were built nearby.