If it were up to the Bega Valley Shire Council planning staff, a request to have land rezoned at the corner of Tura Beach Drive and Sapphire Coast Drive to enable the development of a bulky goods store, such as a Bunnings store, would be rejected outright.
Council recently received a submission from the owners of Lots 33 and 34 Tura Beach Drive to have the land zoned B5 Business development zone.
The owners advised council that they “have been approached by a national company that wishes to purchase the corner lot (Lot 33) for use that might best be described as for bulky goods or hardware”.
According to the planning staff report, the owners requested the change on the basis that the proposed use will provide an economic boost to the region and the land is located on a prominent corner opposite an established B1 zone (the Woolworths supermarket/retail complex).
But the planners remain unconvinced. They had met with the owners and stuck to their previous advice that commercial development for the site was inappropriate. They reaffirmed council’s resolved position that the land be used for medium density residential.
The report states: “Tura Beach is one of the shire’s 13 neighbourhood centres. In terms of commercial development, neighbourhood centres meet basic day to day services and shopping requirements of local residents. “The hierarchy of commercial centres was endorsed by council in the 2006 Bega Valley Shire Commercial Strategy which states that Tura Beach is to remain a local servicing centre and by the South Coast Regional Strategy in 2006, which additionally identified Bega as the regional centre for the shire.”
The report goes on to say: “Additional commercial land at Tura Beach is also likely to cause unnecessary negative impacts on the future of Bega as the regional centre. The role of Bega as the regional centre is to provide a range of higher order commercial, retail and public services for the entire shire.”
Based on that logic it is apparent that residents who live south of Bega will be inconvenienced into the future. They will be forced to travel some distance at personal time and cost to access commercial, retail, government departments and health services. Any spin off benefits a store such as Bunnings would bring, will be denied to Merimbula retailers.
The report formed part of the agenda at council’s December 18 meeting and while there were a number of resolutions forthcoming no decision to either approve the zoning or reject it was made.
Instead the council has agreed to have staff prepare further reports – one to determine if Lot 33 and Lot 34 can be zoned separately, and the other to provide reasons to zone Lot 33 and 34 Large Residential It was also agreed that a site inspection for the councillors be arranged.