WOOLWORTHS wants to build new loading docks for home deliveries at Lansell Square as the supermarket chain tries to keep up with surging online orders that show little sign of stopping any time soon.
It has asked the City of Greater Bendigo's permission to build a new pick-up room and loading bay to the side of the Kangaroo Flat complex in a section of car park overlooking the nearby Bunnings Warehouse.
Woolworths says the works are needed as more customers ask for non-contact deliveries in the age of COVID-19.
Nation-wide, The Woolworths Group of businesses saw a 42 per cent surge in online trade last financial year, chief executive Brad Banducci said in an address to the company's annual general meeting held just under a month ago.
He saw little sign of a slowdown anytime soon.
"We are seeing a permanent change in customer behavior as we all increasingly embrace digital and the increasing range of available shopping experiences," Mr Banducci said.
That included sales at the group's namesake supermarket chain.
At Lansell Square, the company hopes to cash in by setting aside a new space for a pick-up room, three truck bays and a canopy to provide weather protection to home-delivery workers.
The works would eat up eight parking spaces overall, but visitors to Lansell Square would still have access to 972 others, 50 more than what businesses must supply under planning rules.
The section of car park Woolworths wants to modify is already used by trucks dropping off stock both for the supermarket and nearby business mycar Tyre and Auto.
Woolworth's traffic consultants conceded that the plans would drive up the number of small trucks entering the area.
"However, the nature of the home delivery operation is that this occurs seven days a week with delivery windows ranging between 5am and 11pm each day. This means that trucks arrive and depart at various times across the day rather than all arriving at once," they advised.
"Further, customers will typically select a delivery window when they are home this means that relatively fewer deliveries occur during the traditional weekday on-road peak periods when people are travelling to/from work."
The traffic consultants believed existing roads could handle the extra trucks.
"Conversely, general customer traffic activity associated with Woolworths is expected to decrease as more customers turn toward non-contact home deliveries," they said.
Eight trees would also need to be removed to make the project happen.
Woolworths expects to spend approximately $785,000 on the revamp.