Residents fear village will lose its unique atmosphere
By BELINDA F SCOTT
OPPOSITION is mounting to a supermarket in Sawtell's First Avenue, with 2500 signatures having been collected on two different petitions now circulating which object to aspects of the proposal.
Coffs Harbour developer LKM Capital is proposing to demolish two buildings at 27-33 First Avenue and build a new two-storey brick building which will house a 393-square-metre Farmer Charlie's supermarket on the ground floor, with parking spaces underneath and an office above
The proposal, one of two broadly similar developments proposed for either side of First Avenue by LKM Capital, with buildings designed by Adrian Borsato from DRA Architects, was deferred by Coffs Harbour City Council in December pending further consultation with the developer.
The site is currently occupied by three shops ? Sawtell Bait and Tackle, the barber's shop, and the former Twenty-Seven On First restaurant.
Sawtell Chamber of Commerce president Brian Knight said the chamber was collecting signatures
on a petition objecting to the aesthetics of the proposal, including the style of the planned two-storey brick building, delivery access issues, and the effect on parking in the compact village centre.
"We're not against development, a lot of shops need it, but we believe development should keep within the unique character of the town," Mr Knight said.
"That style of supermarket is not in keeping with the Sawtell Development Control Plan (DCP)."
Two residents also collected more than 600 signatures in four days on their petition opposing the opening of a supermarket in Sawtell.
Eddie and Barbara Driesers said tourists were attracted to Sawtell, as they were themselves, because they loved the atmosphere and the supermarket would ruin that atmosphere.
Mrs Drieser said the town already had ample, easily-accessed supermarket shopping and the proposal would ruin small family businesses in Sawtell.
"We're interested in a fair go," Mr Driesers said. "There's no parking as it is."
Both petitions have attracted support from many visitors as well as residents.
The topic has also been the subject of letters to the editor in the Advocate opposing the development and a rally in First Avenue in December.
A representative of the developer declined to comment yesterday, but said further consultation with the council had not yet taken place.
There is concern from shopkeepers and residents about the number of buildings in Sawtell which are the subject of development proposals and are being left vacant.
The Hamey building in First Avenue, where a controversial development application for five shops and 18 units on the 2124.5-square-metre site was approved last year, is now on the market and will be auctioned on site on February 24 by LJ Hooker.