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24 March, 2022

New shopping centre one step closer

MAREEBA’S new shopping complex is one step closer to being a reality after developers, Sphere Group Development, personally dropped into Mareeba Shire Council last week to lodge their development application.

By Rhys Thomas

Sphere Group Development directors Tony Bevacqua and Greg Ritchie, with project manager Kris Wilson at Mareeba Shire Council.

The Melbourne-based developers recently revealed they had plans to construct a new shopping complex in Mareeba and were in talks with council as they prepared to lodge their development application. 

The vacant lot on the corner of Byrnes and Rankin Street was chosen as the location for the new centre, set to contain a Woolworths supermarket and other specialty stores. Sphere Group Development director Greg Ritchie said since announcing their development, the community feedback had been very encouraging. 

“You can’t keep everybody happy, but everybody that we’ve spoken to is fully supportive of the shopping centre and council is the same – they know the town needs it,” he said. 

“Normally we wouldn’t come to the council to lodge an application, but we’re so excited, we’ve flown up here to do it.” 

To help move the process along, council last week approved the lease of a plot of land to the developers which is considered necessary for the successful design of the development on the site. 

The developers will then negotiate with the State Government to purchase the land. Mayor Angela Toppin said council’s intention was to allow the development application process to move forward as early as possible. 

“Leasing the land allows the developer to lodge their application, the alternative would be for the developer to purchase the land and that could potentially delay the application for years,” she said. 

“Once lodged, assessment of the application can take anything between three to six months. 

“The application is impact assessable and will include a public notification period – during the public notification period all members of the community can review the application and may lodge submissions to council raising any concerns and/or expressing support for the development.” 

Sphere Group Development hopes the application will be assessed by council quickly as they desire to have shovels in the ground by early 2023.

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