Plans met with strong support

A PROPOSED expansion of Heathcote IGA has been backed by the community, with many people noting the desperate need for an upgrade. 

The multi-million dollar redevelopment would more than double the High Street store's size and create 50 new jobs. 

The application includes a permit for the sale of packaged liquor, development of a supermarket and retail premises and associated car parking and signage.

It also proposed to rezone 13 and 17 Chauncey Street and 30 Playne Street, Heathcote, to a commercial one zone and remove the neighbourhood character overlay. 

Residents aired their thoughts at an informal information session on Tuesday night. 

Before the meeting, Heathcote Newsagency owner Wayne McKay said there was no doubt the supermarket needed to be upgraded. 

"There needs to be an expansion to suit the needs of the community," he said. 

"There are a mixture of people still shopping locally for convenience but there's others who are going to Bendigo to get that wider range."

Mr McKay said he had heard nothing but praise for the development proposal. 

"When something's looking a bit old in your town, you don't mind investing in it," he said. 

"I can't really see any issues and it looks like there will be traffic improvements to be honest. 

"At the moment there is a lack of off-street parking and it's somewhat crowded but this will create improved access to the store for customers and suppliers."

Eppalock ward councillor Mark Weragoda said he supported the proposal before council. 

The proposal first came to council in 2011, with councillors unanimously backing it then. 

Champions IGA executive chairman Brendon Goddard said last year that the project was a risk, as a rival major supermarket had expressed interest to open a second store in Heathcote. 

"If that gets up, that's your risk," he said. 

"I'm confident in the project."

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