17 June 2022

'Have Your Say' on plans for new Merimbula retail and residential complex

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Artist impression of 29-33 Market St Merimbula

An artist’s impression of what the 29-33 Market Street site in Merimbula would look like. Photo: Bega Valley Shire Council.

Local community and residents have been encouraged to have their say on plans for a proposed new retail and residential complex to be developed in Merimbula.

The development application proposes to demolish and redevelop the existing site at 29-33 Market Street and increase the building’s maximum height.

Community Environment and Planning acting director Emily Harrison said a proposal for mixed-use development had been lodged.

“Plans include construction of a five-storey mixed-use development with commercial uses on the ground floor and 52 residential apartments above,” Ms Harrison said.

“Car parking is also integrated into the development and existing pedestrian connectivity through the site will be retained with a laneway between the two proposed buildings.

“A range of street improvements and public domain works are also proposed as part of the development, including new paving, street furniture and landscaping.”

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Ms Harrison said councillors had recently considered an amendment to the Bega Valley Local Environmental Plan to raise the maximum height of the building.

They aimed to raise it five metres, from 13 to 18 m.

“A detailed proposal from the developer regarding the height increase and the accompanying development application are both on public exhibition until 15 July 2022,” Ms Harrison said.

“The developer’s proposal contains artist impressions and their findings regarding the environmental, social and economic impacts of developing the site.

“We encourage anyone with an interest in the development of this site and the Merimbula CBD to access these documents and provide a formal submission.”

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The Bega Shire Council’s online planning proposal for the new Merimbula complex indicated some of the social benefits of the build.

“Provision of approximately 50 residential apartments (one, two and three-bedroom) built to meet housing demand and provide a range of housing choices for new and existing residents,” the planning proposal said.

“Improved housing diversity with apartment dwellings. Facilitate resident work-from-home needs. An activated public domain that offers increased passive surveillance and retail activation.

“The proposal will encourage sustainable transport use and discourage car dependence, which in turn has positive flow-on effects for the local and wider traffic network reducing energy consumption and resulting in smaller ecological footprint.”

The complex would also aim to reduce demand for additional town centres and public costs of extending infrastructure to greenfield housing sites.

The proposal stated it would also create a number of short and long-term economic benefits through the generation of local employment opportunities during its construction and operation.

For more details about the planning proposal to increase the height limit of the new development in Merimbula, visit the Have Your Say page on the Bega Shire Council website.

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To meet housing demand ? Yeah right. Unless you mandate that somehow, what’s to say it won’t become holiday accommodation? Developers never do it for the local good. They do it for themselves unless they are Merimbula locals, who have a community spirit. My guess? About 1/3 local people at best will live there permanently, 1/3 investors outside Merimbula and 1/3 Merimbula investors already with lots of money buying in.

How many residents in the immediate area will loose their views ?? Will owners of the property’s be compensated for the massive de-valuation of their property’s ?? Will residents be compensated to the destruction of their lifestyles ?? We see no car parking for this eye sore, where will these residents park their cars ??

It looks like half of Merimbula – the half that isn’t supermarkets – will be wiped out for who-knows-how-long!
It actually looks modern and includes the greenery Merimbula needs more of, but can the town survive such a massive disruption to its trade? Also, won’t the new height increase further detract from the town’s rapidly dwindling attraction as a coastal getaway?
The artist’s impression doesn’t show the traffic lights. Who knows what else it isn’t showing…

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