ORANGE City Council’s decision to facilitate the Department of Industry’s relocation from its Kite Street office would take an unacceptable toll on the CBD, according to a councillor.
The council approved a three-lot subdivision at the former base hospital site: two to be sold to the Verde property group, including the former ambulance station and a vacant lot for the DOI, while the remaining lot will remain under council ownership.
However, councillor Kevin Duffy voted against the proposal, saying the current and future buildings had a similar floor area, and feared the precinct surrounding the soon-to-be-vacant Department of Primary Industries office would be left lifeless.
The new Kurim’s going to be over there, don’t worry about that.Orange councillor Kevin Duffy
“The new Kurim’s going to be over there, don’t worry about that,” he said, referring to the demolished Kurim Shopping Centre in Glenroi.
“We’ve got [Orange] Motor Group moving up the road, we just approved that, WIN’s gone and there’s only one going to be left there soon, and that’s Hungry Jack’s.”
Cr Duffy counted 13 vacancies along Summer Street, in addition to the recent closures of the Union Bank Wine Bar, Eighteen 70 and Bob Jane T-Mart.
“We can’t let the big business in town, in Sydney or wherever they come from destroy what we have in the main street and that is exactly what is happening,” he said.
Councillor Russell Turner said the principle would have required councillors to refuse the Bunnings development on Leeds Parade.
“We have no right to do that,” he said.
Councillor Jeff Whitton understood the concerns, but he did not want a debate like the one to decide the current location of Orange Health Service.
“We argued so much about where it was going to go that they built one in Bathurst,” he said.
“We don’t want to give the state government the impression we’re not pleased with their decision to keep [DOI] in Orange.”
Orange Business Chamber president Ash Brown said the old DPI building would only present opportunities.
“We’ve always been trying to attract another decentralised part of government from Sydney,” he said.
“It could be used for government or non-government decentralisation, there’s a lot of non-government businesses coming from Sydney and they’re looking for opportunities like this.
“I don’t think we’re going to get vandalism – it’s still a solid structure and it’s very open there.”
He said the Canobolas Holden site was a prime location and if vacated, it would be snapped up.
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