Supermarket stoush aired at public meeting
WOOLGOOLGA'S supermarket spat continued this week as business owners and residents aired their views at a public meeting.
About 60 people attended the meeting at C.ex Woolgoolga on Monday night to discuss an economic review of the development that found a supermarket at the Raj Mahal site would have a detrimental affect on the local economy.
Angus Witherby of Wakefield Planning addressed the meeting - which reportedly got heated at times - regarding the report carried out by Essential Economics.
The report, commissioned by Woolgoolga Retail Group, found a supermarket next to or in the current CBD of Beach St would boost the existing town centre by $26 million annually, while the location at the Raj Mahal site would cause a drop in trade of 22%.
Woolgoolga resident Graham Houghton said a show of hands on the night confirmed a majority was in support of the development at the current site.
"A lot of residents feel this report was commissioned by the business community to work in their favour," Mr Houghton said.
"From a show of hands I counted 25 for and 14 against."
Mr Witherby said he understood the frustration of local residents but reiterated the importance of creating the best long-term outcome for the town.
"Unfortunately there are no easy solutions," Mr Witherby said.
"It's one of the stickier situations I have seen and it's just not possible to keep everyone happy. There's no argument that Woolgoolga residents want a larger supermarket and more competition.
"I would certainly encourage council to consider a strategic planning process that will address the long term needs for Woolgoolga."
He said at the moment there is no right answer.
"There are things that can be fixed with conditions of approval and there are things that can't - one of those is the economic impact.
"At the end of the day it will come down to consumer behaviour."