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Opinion divided over new IGA

Local businesses and residents are divided over the proposal for a new supermarket on Chalmers Street in Redfern. Submissions against the development application for a SUPA IGA on the ground floor of South Sydney Leagues Club closed last month, after almost two years of opposition from some members of the community reports Kelly Lane in the South Sydney Herald of May 2009.

Redfern Supermarket owner, Robert Sprour, said: “The Government says it’s going to help small business, but how will something like this help small business?” Complaints have been made about predicted parking problems, increased traffic flow and noise in the area, as well as the impact to businesses already struggling to stay afloat.

“I’m paying high rent here,” Mr Sprour said. “I won’t survive. They’re going to run me down and then I’m going to have to close down.” Mr Sprour, who has owned his shop for 10 years, was not informed of the DA by Council because both his business and residence lie outside the 75-metre radius of the proposed site. In 2007 he submitted a petition against the DA for Souths Leagues, which included the proposal for a supermarket.

Karellas Investments lodged a DA on February 13 for the internal fit-out of a SUPA IGA on the ground floor of the Leagues Club building. Managing Director, Vasilli Karellas, said the supermarket, if approved, would be of similar size to a Coles or Woolworths and would provide a full range of products, including fresh fruit and vegetables, deli, meat and seafood. “We believe the area could do with a full-range supermarket that offers quality, service and value,” he said.

The IGA would be open from 6am to midnight, seven days a week, with a free shuttle bus picking up passengers at Central, Redfern and Green Square. 

Helen Ashton, a long-term resident of Redfern, said: “A big supermarket like that would just change the character of the place. We’ve already got plenty of small businesses open until 9 or 10pm at night and other IGAs around the corner.”

The debate follows a similar case in Erskineville in February, where a supermarket development was rejected by Council on the basis of predicted traffic problems and maintaining the suburb’s village quality.

REDWatch’s Geoff Turnbull said that the supermarket could generate more business for the suburb.

“One of the big problems for Redfern shops in particular is that there isn’t a great deal that pulls people into that shopping strip,” Mr Turnbull said. “If people can get their major things within the community ... then people are more likely to spend time within that area.”

Local business owner, Con Grafinikis, agrees that a supermarket would be a helpful addition to Redfern. “I think it will be nice for the area. It will keep people here, instead of them going somewhere else.”

Public housing tenant, Ross Smith, said: “IGAs are only franchised corner stores. For people to get reasonably priced shopping they would have to go to Marrickville, Bondi Junction or Broadway.”

Sydney City Council said that all submissions would be carefully considered by City Planners and the outcome of the development application will be determined in the next few months.

Photo: Andrew Collis - Caption: Robert Sprour at Redfern Supermarket

Source: South Sydney Herald May 2009