BACCHUS Marsh is a step closer to getting a Bunnings warehouse planted “smack bang in the middle” of a residential zone, which could increase traffic flows by up to 300 vehicles during peak periods.
Approving the commercial giant’s application for a planning permit to rezone four hectares of land west of Gisborne Road, East Moorabool ward councillor John Spain said it was a case of “opportunity knocking”.
“We just don’t know if it’s going to be an opportunity or a bad thing. I’m not going to downplay the traffic impacts because we don’t know them yet. It’s not the perfect site, but it’s not a bad site either,” he said.
In front of a packed council meeting including scores of anti-Bunnings protestors, Peninsula Planning Consultants town planner Richard Umbers, acting on behalf of Bunnings, said the new 9543m square store would deliver 85 new jobs – of which 95 per cent would be locally sourced – and put $3.5 million into the local economy each year.
“This is the first step of a strong relationship between Bunnings and the community,” he said.
However, East Moorabool ward councillor Allan Comrie backed a council report which found the area “currently experiences high traffic during peak times”.
“It’s in the wrong spot,” he said. “I drive down that road everyday, and during school times it’s a car park.”
Former Moorabool councillor Russ Hendry urged the council during public question time to “put infrastructure first for once”.
“I’m not opposed to Bunnings, but I am opposed to putting it smack bang in the middle of residential development,” he said.
“I’m very disappointed with the bias in this report, it’s developer-driven and short sighted.”
The site, which could provide space for over 60 houses, was “strategically important ... to assist in delivering the housing needs of Bacchus Marsh ... careful consideration is therefore required in rezoning this land.”