7 November 2023

New Wagga Bunnings entry amendment blocked after lengthy council debate

| Jarryd Rowley
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Bunnings warehouse

The planned location for the new Bunnings Warehouse may only be 500 metres down the road, but Wagga businesses have already voiced their concerns about future traffic issues that could occur. Photo: Mike Boyle.

An amendment to the new Bunning Warehouse development application (DA) has been pushed back by Wagga Wagga City following a lengthy debate during its Ordinary Council Meeting on Monday night (6 November).

The $24.9 million development will see a new Bunnings Warehouse site within only a few hundred metres of the existing location.

The initial plans, made in 2021, would see small vehicles leaving the future location forced onto Saxon Street at the south of the site, while larger vehicles would be allowed to exit onto Pearson Street at the east.

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Bunnings’ bid to alter the access plan, allowing lighter vehicles to exit the future site onto Pearson Street, was ultimately knocked back by councillors after concerns the changes would ”result in increased and unacceptable traffic impacts on the road network, in particular on the performance, efficiency and safety of the roundabout at the intersection of Pearson Street and Edward Street”.

Bunnings proposed an alteration to extend the median strip on Pearson Street, not allowing vehicles to turn right out of the site, but this was overlooked after fears it would back up the Edward Street, Sturt Highway roundabout.

Transport for New South Wales came out in opposition to the proposed changes to the Bunnings site, stating the plans ”did not adequately address potential impacts to the existing roundabout at the intersection of the Sturt Highway, the Olympic Highway and Pearson Street”.

Rob Sinclair, owner of Empire Gym in Pearson Street, backed the proposal from Bunnings, stating that the hardware giant had worked consistently and cooperatively with surrounding businesses since the DA was submitted.

Mr Sinclair also pointed out the lack of consultation between local businesses from the likes of TfNSW and the local council, stating there had been no calls, messages or mail sent to anyone throughout the planning process.

“As a small local business, I can see what their end game is and I’m prepared to cooperate. This is how we get things done,” he said.

Mr Sinclair said it was ludicrous to expect customers to travel on small back roads and that a majority of businesses agreed.

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Council general manager Peter Thompson said the council’s decision on Monday night firmly closed the door on any exit being available onto Pearson Street.

“The consensus from last night is that councillors are hopeful that everyone, Bunnings, Transport for NSW and local businesses, can come together and think of another solution,” he said.

“However, from last night’s meeting, the decision is a definitive and final no in regards to an exit from that site onto Pearson Street.”

Bunnings is currently allowed to start construction on the site whenever it chooses, provided it adheres to the originally approved DA.

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