[By Sue Bolton] The supermarket juggernaut Coles had a win at the Moreland council meeting on April 9. The meeting voted 5 to 3 to rezone the old Bunnings site on the corner of Sussex and Gaffney Streets from an Industrial 3 Zone (IN3Z) to a Commercial 2 Zone (C2Z) to allow Coles to build a super-Coles store. The councillors who voted against were myself and Lenka Thompson & Samantha Ratnam (both Greens).
The arguments in favour of the rezoning don’t stack up. The supermarket development has been used to justify the area being a neighbourhood activity centre with the residential growth zone surrounding it. There is a bus service, but it isn’t terribly frequent. That means that traffic and car use will increase.
What will this mean for the Coles in Cumberland Road, Pascoe Vale? I assume that will close down, and yet Cumberland Road is served by one of the better bus services in the municipality and is already a retail and community hub.
The council argued that Coles will create jobs, but anyone who goes to Coles or Woolworths knows that this duopoly has been shedding jobs by replacing workers with self-serve. The only reason that any checkouts are still staffed is probably because of legal requirements governing the sale of cigarettes. I still boycott self-serve.
Moreland council also has a policy to protect industrial land and jobs. The Coles rezoning was a one-off rezoning without any review of industrial land use policy. With Ford about to close and many blue collar workers in Moreland losing their jobs in manufacturing, we shouldn’t be getting rid of industrial land in Moreland.