Mayor Bob Abbot.
Mayor Bob Abbot.

All up for Sippy Downs

WOOLWORTHS will start work mid-year on its $100 million Sippy Downs Town Centre development after the State Government approved the project.

The decision gives the go-ahead to the construction of shops, restaurants, a discount department store and supermarket as well as commercial offices, an indoor recreation and medical centre.

The company anticipates $117 million in turnover in its first year of operation.

The approval requires construction of 60 home units in the first stage. Later stages will increase the number of units to 201, well short of the 418 two-bedroom units council had sought before the planning process was taken out of its hands by Local Government Minister Paul Lucas in September.

However Mayor Bob Abbot said the decision would ensure the building blocks of a university town were put in place and would influence the nature of an adjoining development application by Coles.

"It's got the bones of a university town there," Mr Abbot said. "What the Minister has announced will contribute to the construction of a university town."

Mr Lucas said the 201 residential units would be a mixture of one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

"This is a much better balance and the simple fact is that both Woolworths and the council find it to be a good compromise," he said.

"Imposing conditions on Woolworths that are not economically sustainable would have resulted in the whole approval process being overturned."

Woolworth's senior development manager Graeme Jones said yesterday the project would deliver 1500 construction and retail jobs and give a significant boost to the University of the Sunshine Coast.

"We appreciate the way we've been able to work constructively through complex issues with the Minister and council, for the long-term benefit of the Sunshine Coast community," Mr Jones said.

Mr Lucas said the conditional approval followed his decision in September to call in and reassess the development.

"The number of units is now an appropriate compromise between what Woolworths wanted and what council wanted," he said.

Sippy Downs and District Community Association president Mike Doroshenko agreed the approval was welcome news which would stimulate development of the Sippy Downs town centre.

He said his members were keen to see construction start as soon as possible.

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