'Need to get it right': Coles approval would bring 180 new jobs
THE decision by Coles to bludgeon its way into the Gladstone market will come to a head today, with the council voting on whether to approve the development or not.
Coles put in four separate applications to build a new Coles supermarket, Liquorland, six shops, two fast food restaurants and a Coles Express service station at a site on the corner of Dixon Dr and Kirkwood Rd.
A spokeswoman for Coles said the development would create 100 construction jobs and about 80 retail jobs once the project was completed.
Bringing the Australia-wide supermarket war to Gladstone, the site of the proposed Coles development would be opposite Woolworths.
In its detailed planning application, Coles expected to rake in millions of dollars from its local competitors, such as Kirkwood's Woolworths, the Stockland Centre, Sun Valley and The Valley Shopping Centre.
If the new Coles supermarket was to go ahead, it estimated it would take $16.9 million from the Stockland Centre and $13 million from the Woolworths supermarket across the road.
Despite many houses sitting vacant, joblessness on the rise and many families leaving town to find work elsewhere, Coles expected to pull in $37.5 million in its first year of trading.
But before this money pot can be pilfered by Coles, the council will have to make the final call.
When the story broke in April, Mayor Matt Burnett said the supermarket giant was very keen to develop the site but that "the most important thing" was to gain community support.
"We want development and construction and jobs but not at any cost," he said.
"What we need to do is see if it is the right thing to do at Kirkwood.
"We need to get it right," Cr Burnett said.
He said there were potentially issues with access on Kirkwood Rd and congestion on Dixon Dr.
A Coles spokeswoman said the company had been in discussion for some time over possible new sites in Gladstone and the "Dixon Drive site is considered the most appropriate site for a new Coles."
"Coles aims to provide local residents with more choice and a supermarket with the latest concepts," she said.
The Planning and Development Committee will meet today at 9am.