IGA owner fumes over plans for rival

THE owner of Hilton’s independent IGA says it’s “ludicrous” the McGowan government wants to woo another supermarket into the area to kickstart the redevelopment of the ‘Beacy Bronx’.

Earlier this week Fremantle council released the state government’s structure plan for the 10-hectare area surrounding Davis Park, which proposes apartments up to eight storeys, an “innovation precinct” to trial different housing styles such as the baugruppen model, a “main street” and a 12-metre wide green link connecting South Street with Lefroy Road.

In an effort to ensure the proposed densities are met, the Department of Communities wants to crank up the retail sector first, so potential buyers aren’t put off by the lack of amenities.

The department’s report notes densities had to be lowered in the Shoreline precinct of the Cockburn Coast redevelopment because buyers were discouraged by the lack of a neighbourhood centre.

“Given the existing retail context within the Beaconsfield Local Centre and surrounds the format is anticipated to be a supermarket with complementary specialty and food dining offering,” the report said of the 4600sqm proposed for shops along South Street.

The department didn’t think there’d be too much competition with nearby centres because of an “undersupply” of supermarkets and retail and projected population growth, bit that had IGA owner Gino Divitini hitting the roof.

“I think it’s absolutely ludicrous they would be considering another supermarket in this area,” Mr Divitini told the Herald.

“We have been here since 2008 and we have had three Aldis open in Kardinya, South Fremantle and South Lake, we have had a brand new Woolies in Coolbellup … there’s also the Farmer Jacks in Phoenix and the Spud Shed in the old IGA, and we have now seen the closure of the Coolbellup IGA and the Beaconsfield IGA.

“If they opened another Woolies or Coles near Davis Park, they would be 900 metres from me, so it is walking distance.”

The council’s plans to ramp up density around the Hilton shops hasn’t come to fruition after 10 years, but Mr Divitini doesn’t think it would provide the necessary buffer anyway.

“We just don’t have the population to support any more supermarkets; retail broadly speaking is really tough out there,” he said.

“It’s important the area does have a strong, independent supermarket.”

Mr Divitini said he’d been planning a million-dollar revamp of his store, but said the proposal for a new supermarket nearby had him concerned about making that investment.

Mayor Brad Pettitt is also concerned about the impact of another supermarket, moving an amendment to a an item at last week’s council meeting to tell the department it would need to be carefully scrutinised.

The council’s strategic planning director Paul Garbett said the existing housing stock was fairly old and connectivity was poor.

“To help the city prepare its recommendation to the WAPC, we’d really like to hear from the local community and get some feedback on the structure plan,” Mr Garbett said.

There will be an information stall at the Growers Green Farmers Market on Sunday June 16, and all the documentation and submission forms are at https://mysay.fremantle.wa.gov.au

by STEVE GRANT

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