15 March 2023

'It is essentially a storage shed': North Wagga community frustrated by council's depot decision

| Jarryd Rowley
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Marah Street depot

The new Marah Street depot has stirred up controversy among the North Wagga community following Wagga Wagga City Council’s decision to allow the depot to operate. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

Residents of North Wagga have been left frustrated and disappointed by Wagga Wagga City Council’s decision during Tuesday night’s (14 March) ordinary council meeting to allow the operation of a depot on Marah Street.

The shed, which will be used as seven different depots, has met heavy criticism from the North Wagga community with over 200 residents signing a petition to block it.

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Residents have voiced their concern about the potential issues that the new depot could inflict on the community, including flooding and stormwater impacts, streetscape impacts, residential amenity changes and impacts on the character of the village of North Wagga.

Under the Wagga Wagga Local Environmental Plan 2010, depots are permitted to be built in North Wagga with consent from the WWCC, however newly built facilities which are intended to be used as storage spaces are not.

Dr Michael Friend has been one of the many outspoken advocates against the construction of the shed, claiming the future depot will only cause more headaches for North Wagga residents.

“The developer is essentially trying to get around this by calling it a depot,” Dr Friend said.

“The LEP also defines ‘depot’ as a building or place used for the storage, but not sale or hire, of plant, machinery or goods – it’s essentially a storage shed.”

Overhead view of Marah Street

The proposed shed will occupy 114-116 Marah Street and will consist of seven depots.

Despite the vocal backlash from North Wagga residents, the Marah Street depot applicant, Mr Robert Moore, said he believed the depot was a natural fit for North Wagga.

“Given that further expansion of additional housing in North Wagga is completely off the table, light industry development is a very practical outcome for this neglected area,” Mr Moore said.

“The development, in time, will utilise various vacant blocks which currently serve little purpose other than growing weeds, presenting a bushfire risk and continuously being a burden to their owners.”

The development cost of the Marah Street depot was reportedly in excess of $980,000.

North Wagga resident Dr Graeme White believes there is quite a bit of angst among the people in North Wagga and that the decision to build the depot will only frustrate the community further.

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“It is going to be an eyesore,” Dr White said.

“There has been 28 written responses and a petition of 203 (people against the construction). This kinda (sic) says to me that this is not just about a shed, it’s about the people in North Wagga being a little bit disgruntled.

“This is (the depot construction) in my view outside the local environmental plan. This is an industrial site that should never have been contemplated for North Wagga.

“This is seven properties bundled into one big shed. How will this turn out in a couple years’ time? God only knows.”

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Benjamin Davey1:32 pm 16 Mar 23

North Wagga is a suburb, not a village, but obviously village thinkers still want to stifle any progress at all.

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