Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1382..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
park south of the existing car park, and a lease variation to consolidate two blocks and use the land for supermarket, shop and/or community use, with a combined gross floor area of all buildings of a minimum of 3,500 square metres and a maximum of 4,040 square metres.
In determining the application, I have considered my particular responsibilities under the act, which provide that the minister may consider an application if the application raises a major policy issue, the application seeks approval for a development that may have a substantial effect on the achievement or development of objectives of the territory plan, or the approval or refusal of the application would provide a substantial public benefit.
I have approved the application because this development will have a substantial effect on the achievement of objectives of the territory plan by ensuring that the group centre at Mawson remains viable and well used by the community. Group centres play an important role in Canberra's retail and commercial hierarchy and are a key planning policy. Through their contribution to economic vitality, community wellbeing and environmental quality, they have a substantial impact on being able to achieve the objectives of the territory plan.
The significant public benefits that can be achieved as a result of the expansion of this supermarket include being able to continue to provide an essential service to the local community and the surrounding areas, and to assist in maintaining the viability of the Mawson shopping centre. Members of the Assembly will be aware that many of our local shops have been declining, which prompted the previous government to introduce a change-of-use charge remission to encourage revitalisation.
This government no longer sees that such a financial incentive is warranted and recently removed it; but, as I said when I announced that change the other day, the government wants to retain local shopping centres wherever possible. The expansion of Woolworths will play a key role in maintaining and enhancing the shopping space at Mawson for the local community, particularly as this area of Woden has seen an underprovision of retail supermarket services to date.
I have set conditions in the approval that will improve the pedestrian network, traffic circulation and car park layout from what was originally planned. The conditions will also help to ensure that, while Woolworths is an anchor for the Mawson group centre, the many other small businesses that are part of that shopping centre for local residents will be better integrated within the expansion than the original application proposed.
Twenty-nine submissions were received during the public notification of this proposal earlier this year and it is clear that people and businesses at Mawson value their local shops. The community had the opportunity to comment on the proposal through the statutory public notification period for the development application earlier this year. The major concerns raised in the submissions—about car parking, traffic circulation and interface with existing buildings—have been addressed through amendments made to the application and conditions I have attached to the approval. With the expansion will come an additional 131 parking spaces, which, in addition to the available vacant car spaces, more than satisfies the parking requirement for the development.