The new style Aldi store will have a retail area of 1011m2.

SUPERMARKET of the year operator, Aldi Australia, will open a new store in Leongatha as early as December this year after announcing its intentions last Tuesday. The $6.5 million development will be located directly opposite the existing Michael’s IGA Supermarket in Bruce Street where car parking and a store of 1011m2 in size will cover the space presently occupied by housing. The homes will need to be demolished to make way for the project. Entrances to the car park are proposed to be off both Bruce and Church streets. The long-awaited announcement has been warmly greeted by local traders and the general community as not only a fillip for the town but also because it is being developed as an extension of the CBD, rather than separate from it. “The arrival of Aldi in Leongatha has been on the cards for quite some time and everyone is pretty excited about it,” said Leongatha Chamber of Commerce President Darryl McGannon. “It broadens the retail offering in the town and the fact that Aldi wants to invest here is a real vote of confidence in Leongatha. Hopefully it might encourage more growth and development here.” The South Gippsland Shire Council has also welcomed the announcement. “This area is zoned Business 1 and has long been earmarked for a project of this kind so it is pleasing to see it finally come to fruition,” Director of Development Services, Phil Stone said. He said the application had been designated as a ‘Project of Local Significance’ and would therefore be given priority through the planning processes. “All going well, we could have approval through in two and a half months,” he said. Mr Stone said the 86 parking places provided as part of the development was in excess of statutory requirements and he could see no obvious flaws with the site layout proposed. “These people are very experienced with these sorts of developments so we aren’t anticipating any major issues,” he said. In its official statement the shire said the announcement was “further evidence of Council’s ‘open for business’ policy to attract new investment opportunities to the Shire”. “South Gippsland Shire Council is pleased to advise that Aldi Stores has submitted an application for a planning permit for a new store in Leongatha. This application will be welcomed by Leongatha’s business community as not only will this provide new commercial opportunities, it will importantly retain retail spending within the town centre and South Gippsland.” Another spokesperson for the shire said the new supermarket, which would be bigger and a new design to the one developed at Wonthaggi, would create 20 new full-time jobs on completion. “It will be one of only a few newly designed stores in Victoria,” Ken Fraser said, the shire’s economic development coordinator. He sees a benefit from the two supermarket carparks facing each other in Bruce Street. Aldi Stores representatives will formally present the proposal to Council during an open briefing session at 10am on Wednesday, May 1. In conjunction with planning permit advertising requirements, an open community information session will be held in the Council Chambers on Thursday, May 9 between 5.30pm and 8pm. For further enquiries about this application please contact Council’s planning department on 5662 3754.