An artists impression of the Southside’s new shopping centre complex, stage one and two.
An artists impression of the Southside’s new shopping centre complex, stage one and two. Contributed

Approval an early X-mas present

IT seems Southside residents will have a bit more bounce in their step this Christmas as approvals to build a shopping centre complex have been granted to development company AHC Limited.

AHC chairman Ian MacLeod said the building of the complex was stalled because it seemed council would not ensure they did not want more road contributions for stage two of the development.

AHC was already committed to spending $1 million to upgrade the Ramsay/Exhibition Road intersection.

Mr MacLeod’s concerns were laid to rest yesterday as Gympie Regional Council’s Planning and Development chair Cr Ian Petersen said council was hesitant to sign off unless council knew what stage two would comprise, but after hearing stage two would include a Woolworths Petrol Station, a drive-through coffee shop and drive through pizza shop, he was confident a solution could soon be reached.

Mr MacLeod said he had been trying for 18 months to get an access solution sorted out with the Department of Main Roads which had now come to an agreement with AHC and, over the last two months, he had waited on GRC’s final decision.

He is now confident council staff will accept the traffic consultant report that demonstrated stage two of the development would not generate enough traffic to warrant more contributions.

GRC originally assessed AHC’s road’s contributions at $130,000, but the company wanted to spend more to ensure there was better access to the centre.

“We are (now) very confident. We believe we build a good centre. Our Gold Coast development is highly acclaimed. It will be good for Gympie,” Mr MacLeod said.

“I’m sure it will be resolved,” he said.

So far apart from Woolworths, a pharmacy, news agent, bottle shop, butcher, fruit shop, hair dresser, coffee shop and a bakery had committed to be tenants in the complex.

And several other businesses were also in discussion about coming on board.

Which made AHC very happy as it was rare to have half the tenants before the complex had been granted all its approvals.

Mr MacLeod said if all the approvals came through in the next month he could start construction mid to late January.

The shopping complex will take about a year to complete and if all things went well Southsiders would have their own shopping centre by Christmas next year.

Cr Petersen said “all systems were go” for the development and the material change of use for the centre had been approved some months ago.

He said the new information did not have to go to a council meeting and could be signed off on through staff delegation, meaning a decision could be reached earlier.

Cr Petersen said AHC had now lodged an application for plumbing approvals; then they will apply for the building permit.

“I can’t see any blockages in the system,” he said.

Gympie Times

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