Centro set for $20 million expansion


IF you hear Glenn Campbell burst into song, here's why.

The Centro Toormina Shopping Centre manager is thrilled Coffs Harbour City Council has approved a $20 million redevelopment of the complex, with construction to start later this year.

Once completed, the shopping centre will house:

* two supermarkets -- Coles (existing) and Woolworths (existing with additions);

* a new Kmart store;

* a new 'mini' major store;

* existing and additional specialty shops;

* a new auto service centre

* new kiosks, and;

* the existing medical centre.

The council says the development is expected to generate 470 long-term jobs in the area.

"Centro welcomes council's approval of the development application. It will now proceed with internal procedures and looks forward to working with council and retailers in bringing this exciting project to fruition," Mr Campbell said yesterday.

But it could have been a very different story had the mayor, Cr Keith Rhoades, not used his casting vote to ensure passage of the DA at Thursday's council meeting.

Councillor Ian Hogbin was worried the 918-car parking spaces would be inadequate.

"It's a great development, but let's not overdevelop it," Cr Hogbin said.

"We need to make it fit so we have the right amount of car spaces."

He also feared traffic congestion caused by new traffic lights at the intersection of Toormina Road and Bangalee Crescent, and argued instead for a roundabout.

Cr Jenny Bonfield went even further, proposing four traffic lanes on Toormina Road as well as a roundabout.

"While the principle of Hogbin Drive is to make it a steady stream of traffic, this (traffic lights) is an impediment, I believe," Cr Bonfield said.

However, Cr Ian Ovens said the council owed it to the community to approve the development, while Cr Rhoades said a roundabout would make the existing pedestrian dangers at the intersection of Toormina Road and Bangalee Crescent twice as bad.

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