Shops at Raj Mahal opposed
By BELINDA SCOTT
WOOLGOOLGA Chamber of Commerce is opposed to plans to turn the Raj Mahal complex into a shopping centre.
Buildev Group has announced that they have approval from Coles Myer to develop a shopping centre on the site, which is on the corner of Pullen Street and the Pacific Highway, even though the present tourism zoning does not permit such a development.
But the president of Woolgoolga Chamber of Commerce, Steve Moody, said yesterday the chamber would lodge an objection to the plan, which he said would be both ugly and dangerous and would further fragment the town's retail area.
Mr Moody said the chamber wanted to see Woolgoolga's existing business area consolidated and redeveloped east of the highway, which would remain busy at least until 2010.
He said this position had been adopted by the chamber following several public meetings and they had sent a submission to the council along these lines in response to the council's draft retail strategy.
Concerning the Buildev plan, Mr Moody said the chamber had concerns about safety for shoppers and problems with delivery trucks because of the centre's proximity to a roundabout on the highway, as well as concerns about the visual amenity of a concrete block shopping centre.
"The attractiveness of the entrance to Woolgoolga township is of vital importance," he said.
Although he conceded the present Raj Mahal complex had become run down, Mr Moody said the chamber wanted to retain a tourism zoning for the site and hoped to see an attractive and distinctive development there.