“BEST practice” planning is about more than stormwater, traffic plans and paying consultants to write reports that are one-sided in their assertions and conclusions.
Best practice planning must include the life of a place and BVSC has a responsibility to preserve, conserve and enhance the unique character of Bermagui, which will be unequivocally and permanently diminished by a huge supermarket and concrete car park.
If the BVSC’s evaluation of this supermarket DA had been based on criteria such as “what is the best planning outcome for the people and town of Bermagui” there may well be different conclusions.
According to the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, Woolworths' DA for a supermarket in little Bermagui is recommended by staff for acceptance - with conditions.
A public survey in 2012 showed almost 60 per cent of residents were happy with our current situation and did not want a huge supermarket for a variety of reasons.
I have been told by “a reliable source” this Woolworths will be approved by BVSC with no questions asked so there's no point in being against it.
“You old people need to move on...it's a young person's town now and they want jobs!”
Well, they won't get them at Woolies’ soon-to-be-automated checkouts will they?
The whole agenda document reads as if the council is bending over backwards to accommodate this large organisation.
One could enumerate many examples, but an outstanding omission is the complete ignoring of what is termed “social capital”!
Present family-run businesses are part of our Bermi community and always act generously towards all the many small groups - from pre-school to Carols by Candlelight to Sculpture on The Edge to footy teams to lifesavers, fire brigade and on and on.
They give money and encouragement and thus assist with maintaining the viability of our whole community with many, many thousands of dollars every year.
Family businesses have a personal concern in community.
Woolworths is not known for its community concern.
Look at the huge dust-bowl hole in the ground it gave to Narooma more than four years ago - instead of the new supermarket it promised.
It certainly does not support local producers.
Woolworths’ investment in a place is directed solely at profit and shareholders. That’s its job.
Watch small family businesses fold when Woolies comes to town.
Read the statistics - observe our local examples.
A few years back, a new supermarket opened in Bermi - not long afterwards the old one folded and shut down.
There has been only slight population growth since then.
The town can't sustain two supermarkets.
Quote from another reliable source: "If the council refuses to pass it, it will only go to the Land and Environment Court, and we don't want to waste ratepayers money".
BVSC needs to be supportive of ratepayers instead of responding in a supportive-of-Woolworths way.
Excerpts from the council document -
Resident: “Large supermarkets do not support local producers/suppliers/tradespeople.”
BVSC: “The matter of large supermarkets contribution to the community is not a matter for council in its consent authority role.”
Resident: “This development will cause loss of small town charm and character.”
BVSC: “The proposal is considered to be satisfactory in this regard.”
Sometimes the BVSC must take a legitimate stand with a global company and not just roll over as has happened in Bega with McDonald’s being the latest shameful example.
There is a very arguable case for the people of Bermagui.
I strongly urge these guidelines be re-assessed from a more inclusive and different basis and that councillors ensure this occurs.
On behalf of the Bega Valley Shire Ratepayers Association