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Published On: Mon, Jan 9th, 2012

Coomera Town Centre Infrastructure Savings

Westfield secures Coomera TC discount

WESTFIELD has secured a massive discount on infrastructure charges for the proposed Coomera Town Centre, clearing the biggest hurdle to the $400 million project in recent years.

But while Council has put Westfield on notice to start construction within 12 months of approval, local business owners and residents — let down by countless false starts for the project over the past 20 years — are finding it hard to get excited.

The Coomera Chamber of Commerce has slammed the continued secrecy from the council, state government and Westfield over progress on the town centre, delays of which have stymied development on the eastern side of the M1.

Chamber president Lionel Barden said it could be five to eight years before a single shop opened in the development which will be a catalyst for a major new CBD for the Gold Coast.

“We can’t even draw an opinion (on the centre) at this stage because we don’t know what’s going on,” he said.

The town centre has stalled in recent years after Westfield was stung with a reported $140 million in infrastructure charges.

Goldcoast.com.au can reveal that Westfield and the city council came to agreement last November on significantly lower charges, which are understood to be well below $100 million.

A relaxation of state government fees last year is understood to have whittled proposed charges to around $40 million.

The final figure has not been disclosed and a council spokesman said it would ultimately depend on the approved master plans, of which the first of four has been lodged.

A start date is still some time away, although a council spokesman said it “wants to see the project up and running as soon as possible because of the obvious benefits it will have for the Coomera region”.

The town centre is being developed by Westfield in partnership with the government-owned QIC on a 35ha site adjacent to the railway station on Foxwell Road.

Westfield declined to comment on the infrastructure charges or an estimated start date.

Area councillor Donna Gates confirmed that the charges to be levied were subject to confidentiality.

Cr Gates did reveal it was an “outstandingly different sum” to the amount previously touted.

“The agreement allows for a 12-month timeframe for Westfield to commence construction,” Cr Gates said. “It’s a very good outcome.”

But the Coomera Chamber of Commerce has had enough of the talk, calling for a meeting next month to bring all parties involved in the development to the table to brief the local community.

“Since becoming chamber president in September last year, my committee and I have been trying to find out the exact state of play of the Coomera Town Centre,” Mr Barden said.

“We have been confused by the different messages from press releases as well as from the various individuals involved who have spoken to us privately.

“All we know is that the town centre has been on the drawing board for 20 years and in all that time the go ahead has been imminent.

“With the local business in the region facing very tough times with no sign of improvement in 2012 we, as the business representative body, believe it is extremely important that we know the actual current and future position on the town centre.”

The Coomera chamber is hosting a business breakfast on February 2 as an open forum on the issue and has invited representatives from Westfield, QIC, the council and state government to attend.

 

The original article was written by Nick Nichols, business editor   |  January 7th, 2012 for Goldcoast.com

About the Author

- Glenn Batten is the Principal Licensee of First National Real Estate Upper Coomera which provides residential property sales and property management services throughout the Northern Growth Corridor suburbs of Upper Coomera, Coomera, Pimpama, Willow Vale, Ormeau and Oxenford.

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