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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2320..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Aldi supermarket to build a supermarket next to the Belconnen Markets". Their request was then referred to the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment by the Assembly. I circulated the government's response to the committee's recommendations out of session in mid-June 2004.

The essential issue identified is what is the appropriate location of a cut-price supermarket-is it the markets area, in the Jamison group centre or in the town centre core? The recommendations in the committee's report are ambiguous and open to various interpretations. They cannot be interpreted as providing clear support for the proposal contained in the petition presented to the Assembly by Ms Dundas.

The government believes that, on balance, given that retail expenditure is finite, the Jamison group centre and the Belconnen town centre core are better locations for a cut-price supermarket than the Belconnen markets area.

Jamison centre is preferable as its primary function is to meet the grocery shopping needs of residents. The Jamison group centre has been the subject of a recent centre master plan and variation to the territory plan to facilitate implementation of the master plan's recommendations. There are potential sites within the newly defined retail core precinct that could potentially accommodate an additional supermarket of the size proposed by Aldi. An additional supermarket in this location would reinforce the centre's role and assist in revitalisation. The public spaces in the centre have also been the subject of significant recent public investment as part of the government's precinct management program. This investment could be jeopardised if the centre continues to decline.

A location in the Belconnen town centre core is preferable, as it provides opportunities to combine with a greater variety of shopping and other trips and is a location comparatively well served by public transport. The Belconnen town centre has also been the subject of a master planning exercise that was completed in 2001. This master plan has been used as a basis for recent proposed future land releases and also for planned capital works.

While the master plan acknowledged the important role of the markets, it did not recommend or canvass the concept of establishing a supermarket in that precinct. The master plan did foreshadow the possible development of a joint emergency services facility at the Winchester complex adjacent to the markets. The development of the facility would reduce the parking available to accommodate demands from the markets-demands that would be increased by the development of a supermarket.

The markets location, while offering a convenience to consumers to obtain groceries with purchases of fresh fruit, has the potential to reduce the effective functioning of the Jamison group centre. The other issue associated with the market site is that it was acquired by direct grant for the purposes of an organic produce market. It should be developed for that purpose.

The committee's call for greater flexibility in land use controls is acknowledged. A review of the ACT's planning and development system has been foreshadowed and, subject to funding, it will take place over the next two years.

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