Studies suggests dire supermarket impact
THERE are new claims that the construction of a Woolworths supermarket on Woolgoolga's Raj Mahal site could seriously damage the region's economy.
Retail specialist Angus Witherby of Wakefield Planning will be addressing a public information session early next week, following an economic review of the Woolworths proposal that reveals a new supermarket at that site would cause serious damage to traders not just in Beach St but also at Moonee Beach.
Mr Witherby, who has reviewed the economic situation in the town over a number of years, said the issue was not the supermarket but the placement of it.
"Certainly the public feedback we have received has confirmed that people want a larger supermarket in Woolgoolga," Mr Witherby said.
"The question is where to put it."
Carried out by Melbourne firm Essential Economics, the review considered the supermarket as proposed by Woolworths, as well as the impacts of a supermarket either in or next to the existing business area in Beach St.
According to the review, a location in or next to Beach St would give a boost to the existing town centre of more than $26 million per year, while the location at the Raj Mahal would cause a drop in trade of 22% - or more than $7 million annually.
The proposal, its forecast, would also cause an 18% drop in trade at the Moonee Marketplace.
Mr Witherby said those drops in trade would affect town centres as a whole, not just the existing supermarket operators, and the level of lost trade was double the generally accepted impact level of 10%.
"I know a larger supermarket has been a long time coming.
"But it is critical to make sure that the outcome is the best for the Northern Beaches in the long term."
The information session will be held on Monday at C.ex Woolgoolga at 6pm.