Victor Harbor's new Coles hits a hurdle

City of Victor Harbor mainstreet precinct co-ordinator Kirsty Forbes with the new business directory.
City of Victor Harbor mainstreet precinct co-ordinator Kirsty Forbes with the new business directory.

The public has had its say, and the vast majority of those who spoke up are against the rezoning of areas on the outskirts of Victor Harbor.

Meanwhile, the city’s main street is resilient and ready to cope with any retail challenge, according to the council-appointed advocate for the precinct.

During the consultation period regarding changes to the zoning at three Victor Harbor sites, 161 submissions were received.

Of these, 127 were against proposed rezoning, and 27 were for it. There were seven neutral responses.

The consultation period ran for the month of September and included changes to the Old TAFE site on Adelaide Road, Makris site at Encounter Bay and Waggon Road.

The rezoning change would enable the sites to be used for retail.

It was reported in The Times last week that Coles is planning to build a 4000 square metre shopping centre at the old TAFE site if rezoning and planning is approved.

Media personality Richard Zachariah, who was employed to represent more than 40 of the region’s businesses opposed to the rezoning, said the response from the community was heartening.

“The fact 161 individuals took their time to express their views says much about the seriousness of this Coles pitch for retail dominance in Victor Harbor and the Fleurieu Peninsula,” Mr Zachariah said.

“People power is alive and well in Victor Harbor.”

Mr Zachariah said one of the chief concerns of the business people he represents was the negative impact more retail could have on existing businesses. 

“Not only are people fearful of the paralysing economic effect on Ocean Street and surrounds, they are concerned a mammoth Coles structure at the scenic entrance to the town will give it a Gold Coast feel of rampant tastelessness,” Mr Zachariah said.

City of Victor Harbor city manager Graeme Maxwell said those who provided feedback will have an opportunity to speak to their submission at the public hearing, which will be held on December 8.

“Given the number of people that have indicated that they wish to be heard at the public hearing, a second day may need to be allocated to receive all verbal submissions,” Mr Maxwell said.

“The submissions received during the public consultation period will be formally presented to council at a meeting following the public hearing.

“It is at this point the council will decide what actions, if any, will be taken.”

The council’s Mainstreet co-ordinator Kirsty Forbes has launched a new business directory featuring more than 100 businesses in the main street precinct and believes it will give the area a boost.

“The business directory will unite all shops in the mainstreet precinct and make it the shopping hub of Victor Harbor,” Ms Forbes said.

“It does not matter what developments are planned for the future, as we can still choose to support local business people.”

Ms Forbes is excited about two new shops opening in Ocean Street and does not see any gloom on the mainstreet precinct horizon.

“Did you know Victor Harbor’s main street precinct has only four vacancies out of 110 tenancies, which works out to be only a 3.6 per cent vacancy rate,” she said.

“Only one of the four has been vacant for more than six months and if you compare that to six per cent on Jetty Road at Glenelg, 12 per cent on King William Road at Unley and eight per cent on the Parade, we are doing okay.

“The main street is a shopping experience and it is something the community of Victor Harbor has enjoyed for decades.

“It is diverse, unique and belongs to Victor Harbor and will always offer more than a supermarket.”

Mrs Forbes encourages people to continue to shop locally and not travel away from town.

“Give the main street a chance first and see if it has what you need and if it doesn't, go somewhere else,” she said.

The business directories are available in main street precinct stores, the Victor Harbor council office, and the visitor information centre.