Boost for shopping as $150m Stockland expansion gets nod
THE Gladstone Regional Council has approved a $150 million expansion of the Kin Kora Shopping Centre despite concerns the development didn't provide enough car spaces.
But developer Stockland convinced the council that the spaces were sufficient for the mega-centre, as long as shoppers also used public transport and taxis.
The new centre will see the Stockland complex extend to 45,000sq m of space, with up to 160 stores in total.
Stockland Rockhampton currently measures 58,000sq m with about 170 shops available, and the councillors are hoping the new development will stop locals leaving Gladstone to shop during weekends.
"It has taken seven years to get to this point," Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers said.
"I can still remember going out there for consultation, and for seven years the community has said 'we need more shops, we need shopping'.
"The community knows that on show day, and every Saturday and Sunday, there's a major leakage of people to Rockhampton to shop.
"We don't want that. We want them to stay here and spend their money here in Gladstone."
While it may sound like shopping heaven, councillors weren't convinced that 1266 car spaces would deliver parking heaven.
According to the council's planning guidelines, the car park falls short by 816 car spaces.
The Gladstone Plan indicates that a development this size would require 2080 car spaces.
But Stockland has reassured council that the 1266 spaces will be enough for the development, pointing to other shopping centres in the region and their needs.
The council accepted this reasoning, and said extra emphasis would be placed on promoting public transport and taxi services as a way of getting to the centre.
Cr Sellers played down the council's concern about car spaces.
She said she trusted the council's planning department.
"As far as I'm concerned we are very good with car parking," Cr Sellers said. "In this case I don't believe every person who travel to Stockland will do so in a car.
"Some will come by public transport, some will come by taxi, and some will walk.
"So I don't think we need the absolute maximum. I think the parking will be sufficient, and our officers are very good so if they're recommending that, I totally support it."
Construction on the huge shopping centre expansion is set to begin next year.
What's in store:
- Target, K-Mart, Coles
- Two mini-major retail stores
- 78 specialty stores
- Eight kiosks
- Five food court outlets