Merimbula chamber meeting vote favours Tura business rezoning

The majority of people at a Merimbula meeting who chose to vote on the Tura Beach rezoning issue were in favour of a change from residential (R5) to a commercial zone (B5).

The land in question on Lots 33 and 34 is located at the entrance to Tura Beach Drive, opposite the Woolworths supermarket.

The vote was taken at the conclusion of the annual general meeting of the Merimbula Chamber of Commerce on Thursday evening, February 20.

The vote, taken by a show of hands, saw 17 in favour of the change and seven against. A big proportion of attendees abstained (18) and included in this figure were members of the chamber executive.

Bega Valley Shire Council’s group manager planning& environment, Andrew Woodley, spoke about the Tura rezoning issue during an open session at the conclusion of the AGM.

He admitted he personally favoured Medium Density Residential for the site.

While the Bunnings Warehouse name has been linked with the rezoning, no development application has been lodged with the Bega Valley Shire Council by the retail/hardware chain owned by retail conglomerate Wesfarmers Limited.

A change to a B5 zone would allow a bulky goods store such as a Bunnings warehouse on that site and opens it up to other uses as well – such as a car sales yard, a plant nursery or a function centre.

Chamber president Natalie Godward said the meeting provided some interesting feedback and there was a good cross section of retail and business representatives in attendance.

She said it would have been premature for the chamber executive to have voted without first canvassing the views of the chamber membership.

Ms Godward said she thinks the rezoning will go ahead but was sensitive to the affect a bulky goods store could have on existing small business.

“A store such as Bunnings will have some negative impact, but the greater impact will be positive for the area.”

“I think that ultimately it will be a great gain, but there will be casualties and those losses must be mitigated.”

Ms Godward said the chamber will take a stance on the issue after it had spoken with its members.

The meeting heard that locals travel to the Batemans Bay Bunnings store to shop.

At the February 12 council meeting on the casting vote of Mayor Bill Taylor it was resolved that the land be zoned R5 large lot residential with a 1 hectare average lot size.

A rescission motion signed by Crs Michael Britten, Russell Fitzpatrick and Tony Allen and a notice of motion calling for the land to be rezoned to B5 (commercial zone) were lodged with the council last week.  Both will form part of the council’s March 5 Ordinary meeting business agenda.

The following comments are in response to the question News Weekly asked in last week’s newspaper: WHAT DO YOU THINK? Do you think the land should be zoned to a business zone is it best left alone as a residential zone.

Time for new energy

My husband and I have lived in the area for 14 years. In that time we have seen slow progress in the growth of businesses. It is time some new energy was injected into the area. We fully support the rezoning of the Tura Beach Drive site. Not only will it provide healthy competition with established businesses but also provide more employment opportunities for local people. It is time some people took their heads out of the beach (sand) or climbed down from the trees and supported the future of our lovely area.- Rob and Robyn Lindsay

Approve the rezoning

Your article in MNW of 19 February regarding re zoning land at Tura Beach opposite Woolworths: Pre Woolworths there were many who again said the proposed development including some council officers who, at the time, did not recognise the changing demographics of the whole Tura Beach community. The success of Woolworths is a given. It is an extremely popular community facility. We live in an ever changing environment and the time has come for the Tura Beach shopping centre to take its next step in development. The lands around the Tura Beach shopping complex are manifestly suitable commercial expansion, much more so than residential as is proven by its lack of development. With the populations of Pambula, Merimbula and Tura Beach abhorring the constant need to travel plus 60km each time they need to shop at Bega it is surely time our council accepted community trends and immediately approve rezoning at Tura Beach for much needed business development. - Chris and Yvonne Young, Tura Beach

Let sanity prevail

In response to the article on rezoning of the land on the opposite corner to the Woolworths area, at Tura Beach, please let sanity prevail and have the councillors listen to their advisers, and keep that type of development in Bega and do not vote for a change to more commercial development at the entrance to our lovely area. Now that the Bega by-pass is operational, the increased traffic flow that would be caused by this type of development can be easily managed. Don't subject Sapphire Coast Drive and Tura Beach Drive to more problems. I strongly urge the councillors to have a good look at the area concerned and note that, wonder of wonders, there is a retirement village, ie Mariner Park in existence right adjacent to the block that is proposed to be rezoned for a Zone B5 development. The councillor's statement about people that he has spoken to not wanting to live close to a busy supermarket is possibly correct. I wonder if he had spoken to the residents who were living next to the Woolworths development when the council approved it. The residents of Mariner Park seem to have been forgotten. They are already there, right next door to the proposed development. They already have to dodge the increased traffic in the area that has been brought about by the decisions of Cr Allen's crew when in power, and now the same stupid, thoughtless actions loom their ugly heads again. We should not be against change for an improvement for the general good, but change just to line the pockets of a few that is detrimental to the many, is almost criminal. - Lindsay Pearson, Tura Beach

Question creates buzz on Facebook

The News Weekly posted the question ‘A Bunnings store at Tura’s front door? What do you think? on the News Weekly Facebook page.

Those who chose to post a comment were overwhelmingly in favour of a store on that site and an Aldi supermarket was a favourite but general consensus was that anything that brought more jobs to the area would be beneficial.

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