Heritage sell out
By MICHELLE DAY
THE face of Sawtell will change forever after council narrowly approved a controversial supermarket in First Avenue at Thursday night's meeting.
A petition against the proposal collected 1950 signatures in three weeks, but that wasn't enough to convince council to quash the development.
President of Sawtell Chamber of Commerce Brian Knight was yesterday dismayed and disappointed by the decision.
"At no stage has the chamber of commerce been against the re-development of Sawtell, however the council passing this decision has changed the streetscape of Sawtell from being a boutique shopping village by allowing larger-scale developments," Mr Knight said.
Development would demolish what was originally two buildings housing four shops to make way for the supermarket.
"You want small, boutique shops here ? Sawtell is a village, not a shopping centre, that is its unique character," he said.
However, there is very little that residents can do now that the development has been approved.
Council's development control plan for Sawtell, which recognises the historical value of the current streetscape, has no statutory or legal status and does not prohibit the demolition of buildings either having a local significance heritage listing or being located within the conservation area.
At Thursday's meeting councillors imposed extra conditions on the development including that supermarket trolley numbers should be coin operated and limited to 24 and that no articulated vehicles are to use the rear laneway.
Mayor Keith Rhoades said he took exception to the 'arrogant' way the developer dealt with council throughout the application.
"This applicant had not listened to the community at any stage," he said before voting against the application and asking that a division be recorded in the minutes to indicate which councillors voted to approve the development.
Councillors Featherstone, Palmer, Hogbin, Ovens and Bonfield voted for the application while Councillors McKelvey, Smithers, Joass and Rhoades voted against it.