February 16, 2017
Any doubts about the future of the Blackbutt Supermarket should have been swept away by South Burnett councillor Gavin “Spud” Jones when he spelt out a timeline for the project at a public meeting in Blackbutt on Wednesday night.
If all goes to plan – and Cr Jones emphasised he had only received this information on Wednesday afternoon, three hours before the public meeting – the Blackbutt Memorial Hall will be shifted to its new location and handed backed to Council from the developers on July 1 (see timeline below).
The new shopping centre would then be scheduled to open for trading on December 1, an announcement which brought applause from most of the audience present.
The supermarket, which is to be built on the site of the Blackbutt Memorial Hall, has been much anticipated by Blackbutt residents since the South Burnett Regional Council said in 2014 it would call for expressions of interest from developers.
In December 2015, then-Mayor Wayne Kratzmann suggested a supermarket could be trading on the hall site as early as June 2016 however a number of problems caused delays to this timeline, including issues related to the supermarket’s proposed location on a major highway.
The supermarket project has not been without its controversies over the past three years, with some Blackbutt residents querying the wisdom of shifting the Memorial Hall and others questioning the contract process and delays.
Cr Jones told the meeting he wanted to defend himself.
“Throughout this whole ordeal, people have thought I was blocking this shopping centre,” he said.
“I’ve never been against it. All I have been trying to do is make sure that it was done properly.
“What I want you to understand is that before I was elected, this deal was done.
“I had no control over the contract, how it was done or what happened.
“All I am doing for you guys … is to make sure that the move is done properly. ”
Cr Jones said Council was now going to do the carpark and other infrastructure and the Community Council was helping with the gardens.
“This is why it has taken so long. If I had let the process go the way it was all going to unfold, you guys wouldn’t be here asking me these questions, you would be saying: ‘Why the hell did you stand back and let this happen?’,” Cr Jones said.
“It would have turned into an absolute mess.”
However, Cr Jones said that despite what some people think, the hall would become “an integral part” of the Blackbutt community in its new location.
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