MORE than five years after the initial application, the Echuca West supermarket has received the final sign-off for land rezoning and a planning permit this week.
The much-anticipated $20 million project at 31 Murray Valley Hwy has been years in the making since the application was submitted in 2015, and it now has the final go-ahead from the Victorian planning minister.
This means residents could be shopping there before the end of next year.
For Nathalia-based Dellcorp Developments, the news is long overdue.
“I’m pretty sure it’s the closest development we’ve done to home; when we thought of this project it was paddocks all the way from the Murray Valley Hwy out,” Dellcorp’s Andrew Liddell said.
“Did we know it was going to be this much of a process? No, but we had one main objector and so it took some time to work through those issues.
“But now, Echuca West is booming. The supermarket is something needed for Echuca and we wanted to give people in the west another option for shopping.”
Mr Liddell also said if it wasn’t for Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh, the application may still have been sitting in the pile.
“Peter gave it that final push through. The project was sitting with DELWP and becoming stale, so I suspect without his help it could possibly still be there,” he said.
The project includes a 3200 m² supermarket and 500 m² of retail space, which could accommodate three to five retail stores, depending on the final fit-out.
When complete, it is expected the centre will create about 80 retail jobs. During construction there would be a focus on local trades, with work expected to start this year.
“Being from the country ourselves, we know how important it is to keep things local,” Mr Liddell said.
However he emphasised the development wasn’t about shifting the shopping focus out to the highway.
“For the retail spaces, businesses such as a bakery, pharmacy, newsagency and coffee shop, as well as the supermarket, would be ideal,” he said.
“Those daily shopping stores that don’t pull people away from the CBD and damage the shopping hub of Echuca, which is something we and Campaspe Shire Council agreed on.
“At this stage we have no tenants locked in, but we are in discussions with some possibilities.
“An important part of attracting tenants was access, so we are connecting directly with the Elizabeth St intersection with traffic lights to make sure it doesn’t cause any congestion with complex service roads or drivers needing to U-turn to get in or out.”
Mr Liddell said he, his brother David and father Jim had been developing commercial properties in southern NSW and Victoria.
“We’ve worked with a lot of councils in different states but Campaspe Shire Council has been an outstanding support and they should be commended, they’ve done a great job with the Echuca West growth precinct,” he said.
“We wanted to meet their needs and the needs of the community and I think we’re all happy with the outcome.”
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