THE vast majority of people in Korumburra want to see a new, full-service supermarket built in the town.
The sooner the better.
That was the clear message at a community information drop-in session last Thursday.
And there’s strong strategic support for it at the highest level, starting with the State Department of Planning and Community Development’s Priority Development Panel Report of 2010, which recommended it be located in the centre of town.
The South Gippsland Shire Council and the Korumburra Business Association are all for it too.
But spare a thought for Chris Cleveland and his wife Julie.
They also took the opportunity to “drop in” and speak with shire officials, including Planning Manager Paul Stampton and Strategic Planning Coordinator Ken Griffiths, at the well-attended community session in the town last week.
They own Number 9 King Street, Korumburra, on the corner of King and Victoria streets.
And they’ve come to terms with the fact that the family home they bought several years ago will now have to be bulldozed to make way for the $13 million Michaels Supa IGA Supermarket project.
They’re not on their own. Four other homeowners alongside them, with houses facing King Street, will also have to go.
“We’ve accepted it now but we had the hard word put on us by the shire at the time,” Mr Cleveland said.
“We really only agreed to negotiate because they said the library was going to be part of the development and they needed our land. They said they’d ultimately be able to compulsorily acquire it anyway.”
The library has since been separated from the supermarket development, to simplify arrangements, and will be co-located with the community hub elsewhere.
But having agreed to sale terms, they moved on and looked around for another house in the vicinity.
They bought Number 2 Victoria Street, settling on that property only four months ago, and are now preparing to move in.
“We’re due to get the carpets done this week,” said Julie.
But, can you believe it! That house is now in the firing line as well.
If the shire goes ahead with its ‘Option One’ for the development of a new Community Hub, with the Library Service and Milpara Community House as key tenants, on the old kinder site, they’ll have to acquire the Cleveland’s next choice of home.
It’s devastating for them, to say the least.
“We did ask the shire about it before we bought it and they gave us the all clear,” said Chris.
Not only that, but the business premises they built next door to the kinder four years ago, from where they operate Burra Electrical Services, at 11 Little Commercial Street, will also have to go if the shire chooses Option One.
“They took the overlay off that block so we could build the shed there.
“At the moment, people are looking at the old kinder site and saying it’s a shire building that’s not being utilised but there’s also our family home and business premises that would have to go to give them the room they need.
“And it’s not an easy option. It’s quite a steep site and it’s small too. They’d have to build a second storey to be able to do what they want and with Korumburra growing, it’s land locked and couldn’t be extended in the future.”
They’re all good points
In fact, according to the shire’s own literature, it will cost approximately $3.5 million to build a single storey hub of 1500m2 (Options 2 & 3) but approximately $4.4 million for two-storey hub, Option 1, due to the 10 metres cross-fall on the old kinder site.
“We’re not going to nominate somewhere else because it affects us, that’s not fair. We just don’t think the old kinder site is right,” said Chris.
“But whatever they want to do, we’d just like to see them decide sooner rather than later so we know.”
Paul Stampton agrees.
“The landowners we’ve spoken to say ‘the quicker the better’. We get that,” Mr Stampton said, delighted with the feedback he received at the drop-in session.
But it all hinges on planning approval for the supermarket and a final decision by the developers to go ahead.
“The planning permit process closed last Tuesday (Melbourne Cup Day) and we have received a few objections. Council can issue a Notice of Decision now but the objectors have 60 days to appeal to VCAT.
“If it goes to VCAT, it could take six to eight months.
“The applicants are very keen but there’s a process that we must go through.
“If the supermarket gets the green light, we can bring forward the community hub.
“We had the community hub in our financial plan for 2024-25 anyway so we’d just be bringing it forward to 2019-20 and finding some temporary accommodation for the library in the meantime.”
So a decision on the new supermarket and community hub could come “sooner”, within a few months if the objectors can be appeased with conditions on the planning permit.
But it could be “later”, much later if objections run their course through VCAT and beyond.