TWO Albury councillors have clashed over a last minute move to add four mature trees to the carpark of the $6.53 million redevelopment of the former Bunnings warehouse on Young Street.
Deputy mayor Amanda Cohn succeeded with the push in addition to council ticking off on the plan for the site to be converted to a Amart store plus five other retail outlets.
Cr Cohn said the addition of trees, to be planted in the north-west corner of the carpark, would help overcome the “concrete jungle” perception of the area, but the push was dismissed by Cr Henk van de Ven as a “waste of time” even though he was a business owner nearby.
“It is such a high profile entry to our city from a tourism point of view and it is important we improve the visual amenity of this site if at all possible,” she said.
“The community highly values our leafy streets, unfortunately this section is a bit of a concrete jungle.
“We have an opportunity to marginally improve the outcome for the community and I think we should do so.”
Cr Cohn said there was a surplus of 11 carparking spaces as per council planning requirements and the trees could be easily accommodated.
But Cr van de Ven said the recent re-opening of the service station on the corner of Guinea and Young streets had defeated any moves to improve the visual appearance of the area to visitors.
“If you want trees by all means go and plant four trees in the Botanic Gardens or somewhere else,” he said.
“This is an absolute waste of time.
“It’s been a concrete jungle for 15 years. It is opportunism at its very worst for four trees.”
“I would have thought four trees are better than none,” he said.
“Looking to the future we need to consider that precinct and not let it get to where Wagga Road got because of the highway.
“At the moment visitors will be pulling up at the petrol station, filling up with fuel, doing an illegal u-turn to leave Albury and get back on the highway.”
The development application approved by council also includes the former Bunnings nursery being converted to retail space.
The upper level carpark has been redesigned to provide pedestrian access along the front of retail outlets.
A lower level carpark will be largely unchanged.
- Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here