Retail plans sale away

Marketplace expansion not on the cards despite Coles pulling its Beerwah plans

By Mitch Gaynor and Sonia Isaacs

THE future of significant retail development in Beerwah is under a cloud following the decision by Coles to withdraw an appeal to build a shopping centre on Steve Irwin Way.
A key reason for the retail giant’s withdrawal of its hinterland plans was due to the “significant increase” in capital costs since its original application in 2019. Construction costs skyrocketed post-Covid and with a court decision unlikely to be made until 2025, the retailer had to admit the numbers were not stacking up.
Coles said its decision was based on: “The costs associated with the external road works for the project, which have increased in scope and delivery cost and still remain opposed by at least Council and Village Fair (owners of Beerwah Marketplace).”
Beerwah Marketplace, whose owner was one of the appeal respondents, and who opposed the development, said it was a good outcome for the town.
“All retail development should be in the ‘retail precinct’ so that the township is not divided,” Beerwah Marketplace’s Judy Dewar said.
But Ms Dewar added that the decision by Coles was not isolated and future plans for Beerwah Marketplace faced similar pressures.
“Coles have flagged the fact that future development is extremely expensive, therefore, the owners of Beerwah Marketplace and Beerwah Village will need to ensure any development is cost effective before making any decisions for future development,” she said.
Ms Dewar echoed similar sentiments to Division 1 Councillor, Jenny Broderick, saying there needed to be a greater focus now on developing industrial land.
“The application included a left hand turn only out of the Moroney Place Industrial Estate. This would have been a disastrous outcome for those industrial businesses the council planning scheme directed to invest in that location,” she said.
“Coles withdrawal from building a supermarket on the Roys Road site will now allow developers to investigate the possibility of building industrial buildings. Cr Broderick said there was now a clear opportunity to “masterplan our commercial industrial area”.
“We now have the opportunity to design a logical and safe traffic solution that will be effective, efficient and support new business and employment opportunities,” she said.